IT should be a matter of concern to all of us, especially those at the helm of affairs, that Pakistan continues to be placed at the bottom of most of the 'ranking' lists and indexes issued by various international organizations and research institutes. This has been so for many years now, with there being no signs of an improvement in the situation in the near future. The situation is brought into sharp focus by the World Bank's World Development Report 2016 titled "Digital Dividends". According to this survey, there are 3.2 billion internet users globally against a total population of 7.4 billion, which leaves 57% of the world unconnected. But Pakistan is far below the global average as 165 million people or 83% of the populationare found to be offline in the country. India tops the list of the world's offline populations, followed by China and Indonesia, while Pakistan ranks fourth, one place above Bangladesh. With its cellular teledensity standing at 65%, more than half of Pakistan's population has access to mobile phones, but the country's internet penetration still remains in the 12% range.
Again Pakistan finds itself in an unenviable position in the Global Prosperity Index 2015, which shows that Pakistan has dropped three places from 2014. Pakistan has been ranked 130th of the 142 countries on the 2015 Global Prosperity Index. The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, publishes the index every year, benchmarking countries across eight categories: economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital. According to the prosperity index, about 57 percent Pakistanis reported satisfaction with their living standards as opposed to the global average of 59.7 percent. Again, around 34 percent Pakistanis believe it was a good time to find a job in contrast with the worldwide average of 36.9 percent. The country's lowest rank mostly comes from the safety and security sub-index, where it has been ranked 138th among 142 states.
As opposed to Pakistan, India went up three ranks to 99th on the overall index. Pakistan fared worse than India in all eight sub-indices. Bangladesh (103), Sri Lanka (61), Iran (106) have all ranked higher than Pakistan in 2015. Afghanistan is the second worst-performing country (141st) in the latest edition. Norway, Switzerland and Denmark are at the top of the prosperity index, while Syria (down 23 places), Tunisia (down 28 places) and Venezuela (down 16 places) are among the worst places to live.
Another index, the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, tells the same story. The report is an annual assessment of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 140 countries. On the twelve pillars of the Global Competitiveness Index Pakistan scored as following; Institutions 119, Infrastructure 117, Macroeconomic environment 128, Health and primary education 127, Higher education and training 124, Goods market efficiency 116, Labor market efficiency 132, Financial market efficiency 99, Technological readiness 113, Market size 28, Business sophistication 86 and Innovation 89. While the indicators for quality of education system (75) have improved, availability of Internet access in schools has deteriorated to 103 this year from 89 in 2014. The Judicial independence has lost its ranking of 67 last year to 82 in 2015. The governments have shown greater favoritism in decisions of government officials ranking at 101 this year, where Pakistan lost 26 ranks.
Among the members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) India leads the way at 55th, followed by Sri Lanka (68th, up five), Nepal (100th, up two), Bhutan (105th, down two), Bangladesh (107th, up two), and Pakistan (126th, up three). Another index, the Global Innovation Index 2015, ranks Pakistan 131 out of 141 countries. The GII survey is an annual ranking of the world economies' innovation capabilities. In this index too Pakistan has slipped several places as compared to last year.