Pakistan was ranked 153rd out of 163 countries when it comes to being peaceful, and was ranked the second worst in the sub-continent behind Afghanistan on the Global Peace Index (GPI). While this may be a regretful situation it is hardly an unexpected one. Not many Pakistani citizens would disagree with the statement that Pakistan is struggling to maintain peace.
While any ranking such as this naturally inclines us to compare nations against each other, the true instructive value of the GPI lies in analysing how the rankings have changed from previous years. The citizens of the world are constantly bombarded with politically engineered narratives on how progress has been made or will be made to the extent that it becomes hard to separate the reality from rhetoric. The GPI provides us with an alternate – and factual – narrative.
Objectively speaking, despite the best efforts of world leaders and in contradiction to the shinning narratives of victory – the world has become a much less peaceful place that before. Despite several countries making progress, the unresolved conflict in the Middle East has contributed to the overall downfall - terrorist attacks were at an all-time high and more were people displaced in 2016 than at any time since World War II. This legacy must remain with leaders such as Barrack Obama and Vladimir Putin who oversaw the world descend to such lows.
Perhaps the index can challenge the Pakistani peace narrative too – mainly pushed by the military. While there is improvement from previous years the effect is marginal at best. Pakistan’s dismal global rankings and glacier progress pace raises serious questions about the security institutions of the nation. With a GPI ranking this low, what good is our massive military establishment whose favourite sound bites include the words ‘security,’ ‘peace’ and ‘national interest?’
The military tells us the “terrorist’s back has been broken,” the GPI tells us otherwise.