We have become used to tabloid journalism in Pakistan where even a trivial issue can become a big deal and can lead to direct accusations on the Government. If an elderly man expires by stepping on a banana peel, it becomes a breaking story in our country and the distressed reporter, who is being constantly pushed for a breaking story, stands in the scorching sun and gives a live stunt reenactment on how the old man passed away – in most cases, blaming the Government for his death.

In a fragile state index released by the Fund for Peace last year, Pakistan was ranked 14 in the list of fragile countries across the world. The word “fragile” can itself be contended as it has varying interpretations thus making the word itself, fragile. It can mean breakable, shaky, insecure or vulnerable, etc. The question that needs to be asked is that how can the fragility index be measured as every country has its own demographics, economy, politics and, last but not the least, its own very unique basic structure. It can be argued that every country in this world has its own manifestation of internal fragility as not every functioning system of a particular country is quintessential and not every system of another country is tremulous. Some institutions and areas of a country would be strong and others would be weak. This is a universal phenomenon and applies to almost all the countries of the world. Therefore, to believe in an index that measures some components of the countries while overlooking others cannot give unerring results.

Now let’s come to the fundamental question as to why Pakistan is called a ‘fragile’ state and why the Government is held accountable for every ill in the society? Pakistan, though a battling democracy facing internal and external challenges, is already on the road to recovery and fares far better than most countries of the world.

Looking at the previous years, there has surely been pragmatic headway in Pakistan. Let’s talk about the democratic Government that is finishing its term in 2018. One of the biggest achievements is establishing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Gwadar - called by Robert Kaplan as the Rotterdam of the Arabian Sea - has been the central attraction since the inception of the CPEC project. Almost 51 countries are onboard on working in collaboration with China and Pakistan. This project is all set to give a boost to the image and economy of Pakistan. CPEC will not only bolster the country economically, building strong ties with its neighbour China, but also make an impact on the social and political transformation in Pakistan. CPEC will be providing an opportunity for social development, cultural exchange and political consensus in the country.

Metro Bus has been widely castigated because of its overall cost. However, it has been conveniently ignored that the bus service solves the pressing transport problems of Pakistan. It has been criticised in the same way as the motorway project, but both have proved to be rewarding in one way or the other. Metro bus is being extensively used by government servants and mainly the middle and people belonging to the lower middle class of Pakistan. It is providing a hassle free, economical means to commute between their points of origin to their points of destination. Motorways are amply being used to cover long distances in short time.

The dwindling love-hate-love relationship between the government and the establishment finally has come to a love-love relation. A more controlled affair between the civil government and the military has been noticed since January 2017. Though there have been fissures in the relation in the past, especially in 2015, however, the political government made a successful attempt to diffuse tensions despite the media hype. At the same time, the military took mature steps to ease out tensions and handled the issues diplomatically. It was a successful tenure of Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif as he, after being struck by successive military takeovers, has evolved into a stable, diplomatic and mature political leader.

Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) made commendable breakthroughs in its performance as an institution. Over the years, it became recognized as the only platform that facilitated CNICs to over 4 million deprived women - through which they could give stipends ensuring that the poorest women would be able to vote in the elections. Thus the country has witnessed remarkable recovery during a short span of time, particularly empowering the most vulnerable women through BISP.

Efforts to decrease terrorism in the country were made successful with the help of the Army, including Navy and Air force and the paramilitary forces of Pakistan. General (Retired) Raheel Sharif’s role was commendable in taking Pakistan out of the peril of extremism and suicide attacks. The goal to decrease terrorism in Pakistan would not have been achieved without civil and military coordination. Pakistan saw a remarkable decrease in terrorist attacks with 45 per cent fewer attacks and 38 per cent fewer deaths in 2016 according to the Global Terrorism Index 2016.

Every province managed to make achievements in one field or another. Khyber Pakhutnkhwa, led by Pervaiz Khattak, showed colossal development in the Police department. The political Government in KPK was able to de-politicise the Police department which greatly helped in minimising terrorist incidents in the province together with decreasing dependence on the Armed Forces in case of a terrorist attack. Secondly, they also setup Dispute Resolution Centers – thereby, decreasing the burden on courts and settling disputes out-of-courts. Their term in office also saw the first female entering the bomb disposal squad and first female member in DRC to carry out cases particularly dealing with women.

Punjab’s diligent Chief Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, who is always willing to reach out to the affected people and leave his opulent office to serve the masses, implemented various policies in order to better lives of the ordinary people of Punjab. Transforming the agricultural sector into a science-specific area, meeting food security challenges and competing in the domestic and international markets, the Chief Minister introduced various institutional, market and water management reforms. In the education sector, the Punjab Government was able to appoint 140,000 teachers on merit and capacity building trainings to 200,000.

Meanwhile, Sindh and Balochistan are gradually moving towards a peaceful section of their history with the efforts of paramilitary forces, thus turning lives of the citizens back to normalcy.

Bringing Cricket mania back to Pakistan after almost 8 years was an endeavour of the PCB along with the T-20 implementers to augment confidence and morale of our local players as well as the international players. This helped in sending a message at the international level that players stayed safe during their stay in Pakistan. PSL can boost GDP of the country, if all the future matches are played in Pakistan and they get to rope in more International players next year.

Having said all this, we spot parliamentarians (irrespective of their political affiliations) being abusive to each other at times but I personally believe that instead of deprecating this act, we should comprehend it as part of politics in Pakistan. Criticising for the sake of criticism would not take Pakistan anywhere. There should be a solution to every problem identified by the opposition and government parties in their speeches.

Lastly, I would emphasise the standard definition of a fragile state. It’s defined as a low-income country characterised by weak state capacity and legitimacy thus leaving citizens vulnerable. Pakistan does not fall under the fragile category, especially after heading towards an economically stable country post CPEC.

Our media should recognise the achievements of Pakistan instead of carrying out baseless propaganda against each other and the state.

Pakistan has fully functional and running institutions and its people are prospering and making innovations in their respective fields. Our institutions know to manage the affairs of the country, despite stacks and piles of challenges and hurdles. Our country has been created to prosper and stay independent forever. Pakistan is certainly not slipping up, as long as it remains strong democratically and ensures the basic rights of its citizens.