"Righteousness is not that ye turn your faces towards the east or the west, but righteousness is, one who believes in God, and the last day, and the angels, and the Book, and the prophets, and who gives wealth for His love to kindred, and orphans, and the poor, and the son of the road, beggars, and those in captivity; and who is steadfast in prayers, and gives alms." Quran 2:177
More Pakistanis gave to charities and the country saw the "largest jump in the rankings globally of 108 places, moving from 142nd to 34th in 2011", according to World Giving Index 2011. The report compiled by Charities Aid Foundation points out that "the floods did not lead to Pakistan's twenty-six percentage point rise in its World Giving Index score" because the survey was conducted before the 2010 floods.
World Giving Index Rankings in South Asia
The United States is ranked as the most generous in the world for charitable giving. Sri Lanka, ranking 8th in the world, leads philanthropy South Asia region. It is followed by Pakistan (ranked 34th globally) in second place, Bangladesh (ranked 78 globally) in third place, Nepal (ranked 84 globally) in fourth place, and India (ranked 91 globally) in last place.
It appears that the country scores in the World Giving Index reflect the breadth of participation rather than the amount of money given as percentage of income or gdp. Here's how the report explains it:
In order to reflect a culturally diverse planet, the report looks at three aspects of giving behavior. The questions that feed the report are:
1. Donated money to a charity?
2. Volunteered your time to an organization?
3. Helped a stranger, or someone you didn't know who needed help?
Pakistan does well in South Asia in terms of the percentage of gdp given as charity as well. Given the lack of full documentation, the estimates of giving in Pakistan range from a low of 1% to a high of 5% of GDP. The upper end of 5% is more than twice the 2.2% of gdp annually contributed by Americans who lead in the world in giving.
The low end of the estimate is by PCP that says Pakistanis contributed Rs.140 billion (US$1.7 billion), nearly 1% of the nation's gross domestic product of $170 billion in 2009.
The upper end of the estimate of 5% of GDP comes from Professor Anatol Lieven in his book Pakistan-A Hard Country. Lieven argues that the "levels of trust in Pakistani state institutions are extremely low, and for good reason. Partly in consequence, Pakistan has one of the lowest levels of tax collection outside Africa. On the other hand, charitable donations, at almost 5% of GDP, is one of the highest rates in the world".
The donations help organizations like Khana Ghar that feeds the hungry, Edhi Foundation which operates non-profit ambulance service, The Citizens Foundation which runs 700 schools serving 100,000 poor students, and Human Development Foundation which builds and operates schools and clinics for the poor.
Lieven lauds the work of TCF and several other charitable organizations, but he singles out Edhi Foundation for his most effusive praise of Pakistan's strong civil society filling the gaps left by the corrupt and incompetent government:
"There is no sight in Pakistan more moving than to visit some dusty, impoverished small town in arid wasteland, apparently abandoned by God and all sensible men and certainly abandoned by the Pakistani state and its own elected representatives- to see the flag of the Edhi Foundation flying over a concrete shack with a telephone, and the only ambulance in town standing in front. Here, if anywhere in Pakistan, lies the truth of human religion and human morality".
Philanthropy in Pakistan
Pakistan-A Hard Country
World Giving Index Report 2011
How Can Overseas Pakistanis Help Flood Victims?
Light a Candle, Don't Curse Darkness
Pakistan Center for Philanthropy
An Overview of Indian Philanthropy
Aaker Patel on Philathropy
Orangi Pilot Project
Three Cups of Tea
Volunteerism in America
Dr. Akhtar Hamid Khan's Vision