Pakistan’s “mostly unfree” economy showed some improvement according to the 2015 Economic Freedom Index published by the Wall Street Journal. It has edged ahead of all its immediate neighbours, including India and China. Pakistan, India, and China are counted in the “mostly unfree” category while Iran is part of the ‘repressed’ group, while Afghanistan and Iraq were not surveyed. What this index measures is not economic growth and development, but the freedom with which business is conducted including government arrangements, property rights and freedom from corruption. Though we are in the red in the latter two, the growth of private enterprise has been a boon in recent years. While the government is constantly an obstacle, people have had to find new ways to succeed, whether it is private investment in solar power, or new developments in the sports industry; it has been due to the private citizen. If the government can sort out the energy woes of the country, there is potential for improvement. This hope is bolstered by other indices as well.

Pakistan’s textile and sports industries are performing very well. Pakistan’s financial system though smaller in size is still better than many in the region. Pakistan’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in 2014 improved just barely, but it was it’s best ever performance since the index was created in 1995. Our competitiveness among global economies slightly improved to 129 out of 144 in rankings published last year by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The country ranking remained stable since last year after two consecutive years of steep decline. Though there are signs of optimism, all these improvements have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Often ranked indices improve due to other countries deteriorating in rank. With freedom indices, many African countries, and recently countries of the Middle East have had continued economic hardships. There is no reason to feel over-confident or to pat the government on its back.