BTI 2018 Pakistan Report

The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) 2018 combines text analysis and numerical assessments into three broad transformations: political, economic and governance. This blog will focus on Pakistan’s measures for political transformation and conduct a comparison with other countries. It should be noted that these interpretations are strictly derived from BTI analysis, and do not reflect the views of Pakistan at Hundred.

The review period for the transformation index provides both positive and negative signals for improved governance in Pakistan. It is refreshing to see that Pakistan is now in a third successive government without facing a military takeover. Since 2014, the number of deaths due to terrorist attacks have gone down significantly from 1781 to 62 in 2016, inflation has seen a downward trend and tax revenues have increased. That being said, the military is perceived to play a huge part in Pakistan’s politics, Taliban or Taliban-like incidents have increased and efforts to expand the tax net and secure effective central bank autonomy remain in the works. Pakistan’s polity is a mixed bag, and this report aims to shed light on the transformation of political indices of Pakistan.

Political Transformation.

Overall, Pakistan scores a 3.7 on 10 on political transformation, raking 98 in the world.

1. Stateness

Pakistan has a measure of state score of 4.3 out of 10. Pakistan’s stateness is dependent on its use of force, its notion of state identity, interference of religious dogmas and basic administration. Pakistan’s state monopoly on the use of force is often contested by terrorist organisations, armed sectarian outfits, nationalist insurgents, armed drug traffickers and extortionists, thus giving it a score of 4 out of 10. Pakistan’s notion of state identity is also widely contested and vague, especially around the implications of Islamic orientation for constitutional arrangements and governance. Sectarian violence is now widespread giving Pakistan a score of 5 on a 10 on state identity. While the 1973 constitution declared Pakistan an Islamic republic, the Shariah actually has little influence on law-making in Pakistan. Shariah has heavy influence on laws related to blasphemy and Hudood Ordinances, where the government has failed to take measures against the abuse of blasphemy laws, resulting in a score of 3 out of 10 on interference of religious dogmas. In terms of basic administration, Pakistan scores a 5 on 10, where service delivery by bureaucracy is very poor and inefficient.

2. Political Participation

Pakistan has a political transformation score of 4 out of 10. Pakistan scores a 6 on 10 on free and fair elections, where multiparty elections are frequent, and political party competition is fierce. There is also a political system with many potential veto players such as clergy, landowners, business elites and military thus limiting effective power to govern, resulting in a score of 3 on 10. The 1973 constitution grants association rights to the individual, resulting in a civil society built on different communities such as trade unions, student unions, bar associations, peasant organisations, journalist unions and charity organisations. Pakistan scores a 4 on 10 on association rights, while it scores 3 on 10 on freedom of expression.

3. Rule of Law

Pakistan has a rule of law score of 3.3 on a 10. Separation of power is shaped by struggle between the institutions of state (military, professional civil bureaucracy) compared to the institutions of government (elected representatives, judiciary) resulting in a score of 4 on 10. Pakistan’s judiciary scores a 3 on 10, owing to the fact that while the judiciary has been assertive in recent years, military courts often take precedence.  Corruption and office abuse are a common state of affairs in Pakistan which is reflected in its corruption score at of 4 on 10. While constitution grants civil rights, in practice these are frequently violated resulting in a score of 2 on 10.

4. Stability of democratic institutions

Pakistan has a stability of democratic institutions score of 3 out of 10. Despite the 18th constitutional amendment, the balanced federal structure in Pakistan was not maintained and provinces were unable to shoulder the full responsibility given to them.  Furthermore, critical bodies for coordinating provinces, such as the Council on Common Interests and the National Security Council, remain largely dormant. In terms of performance of democratic institutions, Pakistan scores a 3 on 10. In terms of commitment to democratic institutions, Pakistan scores a 3 on 10, where currently, there is a hybrid set-up, with military dominance in internal security and foreign policy decision-making.

5. Political and Social Integration

Pakistan has an integration of political and social actors score of 4 out of 10. Political parties in Pakistan are weak, internally undemocratic and personality centric, resulting in a score of 4 on 10 for the party system in Pakistan. Interest groups have taken a rise in Pakistan in recent years such as the Citizen Police Liaison Committee, Lawyers for Civil Rights or the Women’s Action Forum, resulting in a score of 4 on 10 in terms of activity of interest groups. Furthermore, Pakistan’s social capital is fairly weak. However, family networks. Caste structures, baradaris are all examples where social capital is readily available, but this is not enough to ensure consistent corporation among people on different issues. NGOs are common, and work for collective benefit of people, but lack of accountability dampen their productivity. This gives social capital in Pakistan a score of 4 on 10.


When compared to other developed democracies, Pakistan performs significantly lower in political factors. India scores 7.6 on political transformation, ranking 24th in the world, performing significantly better in all factors of rule of law, stability of democratic institutions and political participation. Democracy is well-cemented in India, where no actors can effectively challenge the democratic nature of the state. The army has been effectively kept under civilian control since independence, resulting in democratic stability.  Alongside India, Indonesia also performs significantly better than Pakistan, ranking 43rd in the world and scoring 6.5 in political transformation. Elections in Indonesia are free and fair at a score of 8. Every five years, Indonesians elect their president, members of House of Representatives and Regional Representative Council, and members of provincial and district-level parliaments. They also vote for governors, mayors, and village heads, and these elections are generally free, fair and competitive.

Malaysia moderately outperforms Pakistan, while doing really well in the stateness indicator, scoring 4.78 and ranking 78th in political transformation. Malaysian stateness scores an 8 on 10, and the state has completely monopoly on use of force and most Malaysian citizens accept the nation-state as legitimate. There is basic administration throughout the country providing all basic public services. Meanwhile, Turkey ranks 67th in the world, with a political transformation score of 5.55.  Turkey performs well in stateness, as the state practices its monopoly on the use of force over the entire physical territory of the country. Religious fundamentalism and well-entrenched organised crime exist, but do not seriously challenge the state’s monopoly on the use of force. State identity is also strong, where heritage of the Ottoman Empire remains significant in present-day Turkish society.


Hibah Tipu Shiekh

Research Associate at Pakistan At Hundred, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)