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Is Pakistan a Third World Country? Explained

Pakistan is an emerging and developing country. Despite the poverty and perceptions of the underdeveloped country, Pakistan is one of the most powerful economies in the world. 

According to the modern definition of a third-world country, Pakistan is a third-world country. Pakistan has a low GDP per capita, and a significant portion of Pakistan’s population is living in poverty.

Also by the cold war era definition of the “third world”, Pakistan is a third world country because Pakistan was not allied with the US or Soviet Russia.

Yet, I believe Pakistan has a high potential to achieve. Pakistan is a nuclear power and one of the most populous countries in the world.

In its recent history, Pakistan faced many hurdles. Yet, Pakistan is one of the most passionate, bravest, hardest working, and talented nations in the world.

In this post, I will give you the classical definition of third-world countries and tell you Pakistan’s common points and differences from third-world countries.

Why is Pakistan Considered a Third World Country?

The Third World term was used as a political term during the cold war for non-NATO and Non-Warsaw Pact or Communist countries. 

US allies made the first world, the Soviet Allies were the second world, and the rest of the world was categorized as the third world.

Gradually, the term third world country became an economic term.

In its modern meaning, third World country is used for underdeveloped or developing countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and most of the former colonies.  

In this way, Pakistan is considered a third-world country, along with other South Asian nations (India and Bangladesh).

Yet, Pakistan is not your standard third world. Besides the economic front, Pakistan is a country with thousands of years of government traditions and a stable country.

Unlike other third-world countries, Pakistan has a huge potential to become a regional economic powerhouse.

Pakistan is a country that I love. Click to check my other articles on Pakistan. I also linked them all at the end of this article.

Pakistan has a vibrant social life. Clock Tower Faisalabad in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Why is Pakistan a Powerful Country with Big Hopes?

Pakistan is among the highest potential countries, such as South Korea and Turkey. Pakistan has the 5th largest population in the world, yet Pakistan is the 46 th largest economy.

If Pakistan could tackle some of the social and economic problems, Pakistan could easily be one of the biggest economies in the world.

Pakistan is also an enormously rich country in natural resources. Pakistan has the world’s second-largest salt mine, 5th largest gold mine, 5th largest coal reserves, and 7th largest copper mine. 

Pakistan’s rankings in the world in different aspects are listed here.

  • 1st Football producer
  • 1st Surgical Instrument manufacturer
  • 2nd Buffaloes producer
  • 2nd Highest point/peak (K2), 42 mountain peaks over 7,200 meters/ 23,622 ft.
  • 3rd Meat producer
  • 4th Irrigated land area.
  • 4th Goats producer
  • 5th populated country in the world.
  • 5th seed cotton producer
  • 5th Mangoes producer
  • 5th sugar cane producer
  • 6th Onion producer
  • 6th dates producer
  • 6th largest army and UN peacekeepers.
  • 8th wheat producer
  • 9th rice producer
  • 34th largest country by land area.

Simultaneously, Pakistan is among the top 10 producers of many other things. Pakistan also won 2 Nobel Prizes.

Last but not least, Pakistan is one of the countries that possess nuclear power technology.

Pakistan fashion also amazes me, especially Mughal-era suits and dress designs. You can check my guides on Pakistani Fashion Brands and Pakistani Fashion Designers. Pakistani fashion will surprise you with its quality and uniqueness.

Challenges of Pakistan

Developing countries all over the world are suffering from massive issues and problems. Pakistan is one of them, which has no exceptions from these burning issues. 

Some major issues Pakistan faces are congested populated cities, barren lands, Poverty, lower literacy rate, unemployment, deteriorated law and order situations, health, education, and administrative systems.

Despite these challenges, Pakistani culture is very rich and breathtaking in some instances. Check out my Pakistani wedding and Pakistani Fashion guides to learn more.

Is Pakistan a second-world country?

The second world country term was used in the cold war, referring to industrial socialist states. The fall of the Soviet Union changed the terms to developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is the more appropriate tool to evaluate economic development, life expectancy, per capita income, and education indicators. 

The second world countries from medium to high human development HDI. Countries are placed on a 0-1 scale and categorized into four levels of HDI.

  • ·              Low human development (0-.55)
  • ·              Medium human development (.55-.70)
  • ·              High human development (.70-80)
  • ·              Very high human development (.80-1.0)

Pakistan is climbing up to be one of the second-world countries. Pakistan’s Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.557 touches the medium human index and is at the last stages of the low human development index. 

For more, click to read: Is Pakistan a Poor Country? and Why?

Pakistan may be considered poor in many ways, but it is one of the culturally richest countries in the world.
Badshahi Mosque (King’s Mosque) in Lahore, Pakistan.

Is Pakistan a developed or developing country?

Pakistan is a developing country and can not be considered a developed country. Pakistan is considered among the world’s fast-growing economies, and the country is a semi-industrial economy. 

Pakistan exports textiles, leather goods, sports goods, food items, chemicals, technical equipment, and carpets. The economic hub is Karachi, and the city is a major trading port.

Pakistan is working seriously toward reducing poverty as it recovered from 64.3% poverty in 2002 to 2.3% in 2018. 

Pakistan predicts a higher growth rate in future years, as is evident from previous years. Pakistan’s GDP (PPP) crossed $1 trillion in 2017.

On the other hand, the province of Punjab is the most developed and income-generating province, along with other lesser developed provinces. 

The developing economy has suffered because of international disputes, growing population, unemployment, and destabilized political powers that lacked unified economic decisions. 

Pakistan is trying to achieve several economic reforms to strengthen its economy through privatization, subsidies, and packages for trade and business and interacting with more foreign investment through several projects like CPEC.

Learn more about the ethnicity of Pakistan. Click to read Is Pakistan part of the Middle East or Asia? (Explained) and click to read A Local’s Guide to Languages Spoken in Pakistan

Why is Pakistan so poor?

There are several reasons for poverty in Pakistan. The first and main reason is flawed political and administration systems.

The lack of order and law creates a political and administrative system that is dominated by the elite class. 

The lack of checks and balances in the government system also creates corruption. Due to the fact that corruption is common, the officials in power are more concerned with securing their own and their fellows’ interests rather than common interests. 

Corruption is so common that the third time the previous prime minister was removed due to his corruption. Source

Additionally, democracy traditions in Pakistan are fragile against some populist religious and political views. 

Last, the main obstacle preventing Pakistan’s growth is the lack of proper infrastructure, health system, and education institutions.

Especially the lack of an adequate health and education system creates a poor population striving to meet their basic needs.

SUGGESTED READING: Is Pakistan an Arab Country? Ethnicity of Pakistan

What are first, second, and third world countries? Is Pakistan a Third World Country according to its Classical Definition?

The first world country term arose during the cold world, and the first world countries were the USA, NATO, and their allies. 

These countries are seen as developed countries like the USA, Australia, and Europe. First-world countries support democracy and capitalism.

First world countries’ examples are France, the USA, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Greece, and Great Britain.

Second world countries were mostly under the influence of the Soviet Union and supported communism. These countries were also known as Eastern Block and were located in Eastern Europe.

Second world countries’ examples are Hungry, East Germany, Poland, and Romania.

Third world countries were not aligned with any side during the cold war. Most of these countries lacked support for either side and were located in Africa, Latin America, and Southwest Asia.

Pakistan is also a third world country according to its Cold War definition. Other third-world countries’ examples are Venezuela, the Philippines, and Egypt. 

Where are the Third World countries located?

The third world term was introduced during the cold war to identify those countries that remained nonaligned and neutral from NATO and Warsaw Pact. 

First-world countries consisted of the USA, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Western European countries, and their allies.

Second-world countries have consisted of China, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Cuba, and their allies. It was a political term and division of countries. 

After the end of the cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union, the term third world lost its meaning, and it was replaced with developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries. 

In fact, the term is still outdated today, and the term second world country term is not being used as it was during the Cold War era. 

The third world countries were considered the countries that remained part of the colonial past in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America.

Over time, the term third world changed from non-aligned countries during the cold war to developing countries with colonial past and underdeveloped countries. 

Most third world countries suffer from poverty, internal and external wars, deteriorated law and order situations, and rebel movements in third world countries. 

The lowest HDI also highlights third-world countries.

Tuvalu, Somalia, Niger, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Mali are the lowest HDI countries called third world countries without any doubt.

Flag of Pakistan

Who made the Pakistan flag?

Syed Amir Uddin Kedwaii designed Pakistan’s national flag. The flag was adopted on 11 August 1947, 3 days before the independence. 

The flag comprises a dark green field representing the Muslim majority and a vertical white stripe in the hoist as a representation of minorities in Pakistan, which also represents peace and prosperity.  

The flag holds a white crescent moon and a white five-pointed star in the center as symbols of progress and light.

The flag holds a white crescent moon and a white five-pointed star in the center as symbols of progress and light.

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