What is Pakistan really? For a long time we were poor (in fact, one could argue, we still are poor). We have also been the antiquated third world – but mostly we’ve gone back and forth between poor and developing. As the world shed old terms, and adopted other more factual ones, it seemed like we were making some headway. We were an emerging market. We were part of the new, global world or what have you.
Which is why the downgrading of Pakistan from an emerging market to a frontier market seems to have made headlines at home. Even though it’s just a technical terminology by one index – Morgan Stanley Capital International, or MSCI – it signals something bigger – as if we have failed somehow, or remained stagnant.