Thursday, November 8, 2018

Pakistan Consumer Confidence Index Reached All-Time High in Q2/2018

Pakistan consumer confidence index reached an all-time high of 115 in Q2/2018, up 8 points from 107 in Q1/2018, according to latest The Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey (TCB-Global). Pakistan now ranks 9th in the world. Pakistan's neighbor India's consumer confidence was measured at 124, down 6 points from prior quarter. India ranks 3rd in the world.

Global Consumer Confidence Ranking. Source:  Nielsen


Here's an excerpt of the TCB-Global report on Pakistan:

"In Pakistan, consumer confidence has reached an all-time high of 115, following an 8-point increase. Consumers in Pakistan are increasingly optimistic about job prospects and their personal financial situation. However, it is uncertain whether the high level of confidence can be sustained in the future. Pakistan’s new government is likely to approach IMF for assistance to address the country’s worsening external balance, which might lead to significant fiscal and monetary tightening. This, along with rising consumer prices, will pose major challenges to consumer confidence post-election."

The survey indicates that Pakistan's domestic economy remains strong in spite of the rising concerns about balance of payments. The new Pakistani government headed by PTI leader Imran Khan is reporting some successes in alleviating these concerns with help from Islamabad's friends in Beijing and Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has already pledged $6 billion in cash and deferred oil payments. Since returning from a trip to Beijing, Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar has said "Pakistan's immediate balance of payment crisis is over".  It's highly likely that Pakistan will seek yet another IMF bailout with conditions that will force spending cuts and cause economy to slow down this year. This will hurt consumer confidence.

Related Links:







Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Study: Indian Muslims Worse Off Than Untouchables and Falling Further

A recent Dartmouth study by three researchers has reported that "Muslims (in India) now have considerably worse upward mobility (29) today than both Scheduled Castes (37.4–37.8) and Scheduled Tribes (32.5–32.7). The comparable figure for African Americans is 34."

The research paper titled "Intergenerational Mobility in India: Estimates from New Methods and Administrative Data" says that "higher caste groups (in India) have experienced constant and high upward mobility over time, a result that contradicts a popular notion that it is increasingly difficult for higher caste Hindus to get ahead".

Dartmouth researchers' analysis focuses on two mobility measures: (i) the expected outcome of a child born into the bottom half of the parent outcome distribution (upward interval mobility, henceforth referred to as upward mobility); and (ii) the expected outcome of a child born into the top half of the parent distribution (downward interval mobility).

Indian Muslims at Bottom in Social Mobility. Source: Dartmouth College


Panel A  in the above figure presents bounds on trends in upward interval mobility, or the average rank among sons born to fathers in the bottom half of the father education distribution. Panel B presents bounds on trends in downward interval mobility, or the average education rank among sons born to fathers in the top half of the father education distribution. Panel C presents bounds on trends in the proportion of sons completing primary school, conditional on being born to a father in the bottom half of the education distribution. Panel D presents bounds on trends in the proportion of sons attaining a high school degree, conditional on being born to a father in the bottom half of the education distribution.

The Dartmouth paper by Sam Asher, Paul Novosad and Charlie Rafkin confirms what an Indian government commission headed by Justice Rajendar Sachar found back in 2006 by saying that "Muslim disadvantage has been widely noted, including by the well-publicized federal Sachar Report (2006)".  Here's an excerpt of the paper:

"India’s Muslims constitute a similar population share as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (14% for Muslims vs. 16.6% for SCs and 14% for STs). Muslims have worse socioeconomic outcomes than the general population (Sachar Committee Report, 2006). While Muslim disadvantage has been widely noted, including by the well-publicized federal Sachar Report (2006), there are few policies in place to protect them and there has not been an effective political mobilization in their interest. Muslims have also been frequent targets of discrimination and even violence."

The discrimination and violence against Muslims that the paper refers to has only gotten worse since the election of Hindu Nationalist leader Narendra Modi to India's highest office in India in 2014.

Earlier this year, an 8-year-old Muslim girl Asifa Bano was locked in a Hindu temple, drugged, gang-raped for several days and then bludgeoned to death in Indian occupied Kashmir, according to a report in a leading American newspaper.

Gang Rape Victim: 8-Year-Old Asifa Bano
Support of Rapists: 

The horror of a Muslim child's rape and murder was made even worse when the ruling BJP-affiliated right-wing Hindu lawyers marched in defense of her attackers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reluctantly condemned the crime after waiting for several days. His belated acknowledgment came in response to international outrage.

Is this just another rape in India? Did the child's Muslim faith make her a target? Has Islamophobia gone mainstream in India?  To answer these questions, let us put some context to what is happening in Modi's India.

India saw about 39,000 rape cases reported in 2016, a 12% jump over the prior year, according to Indian crime statistics.  Children were reported as victims in 42% of the cases.

It is hard to say how many of the rape victims were Muslim.  What is known, however, is the exhortation by iconic Hindutva leaders to rape of Muslim women.  Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, one of the founders of right-wing RSS who Prime Minister Modi describes as "worthy of worship", is among them. After getting elected to the highest office in India, Modi paid tribute to Savarkar by laying flowers at his portrait that hangs in India's Parliament.

VD Savarkar, in one of his books titled Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History, elaborates on why raping of Muslim women is not only justified but encouraged.

Savarkar has used revisionist Hindutva history to exhort his followers to rape Muslim women as payback for historic wrongs he believes were committed by Muslim conquerers of India. “Once they are haunted with this dreadful apprehension that the Muslim women too, stand in the same predicament in case the Hindus win, the future Muslim conquerors will never dare to think of such molestation of Hindu women,” he writes.

Hindutva Revisionist History: 

American history professor Audrey Truschke, in her recently published book "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King" has argued that colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India.  These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author.  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds.

Truschke says the original history of the Mughal rule was written in Persian. However, it is the English translation of the original work that are often used to distort it. Here's what she says about it in her book:

"The bulk of Mughal histories are written in Persian, the official administrative language of the Mughal empire but a foreign tongue in India today. Out of necessity and ease, many historians disregard the original Persian text and rely instead on English translations. This approach narrows the the library of materials drastically, and many translations of the Mughal texts are of questionable quality, brimming with mistranslations and abridgments. Some of these changes conveniently served the agendas of the translators, especially colonial-era translations that tend to show Indo--Muslim kings at their worst so that the British would seem virtuous by comparison (foremost here is Elliot and Dowson's History of India as Told by Its Own Historians). Such materials are great for learning about British colonialism, but they present an inaccurate picture of Mughal India."

Modi's Record: 

In 2002 when Narendra Modi was chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, hundreds of young Muslim girls were sexually assaulted, tortured and killed.  These rapes were condoned by the ruling BJP, whose refusal to intervene lead to the rape and killing of thousands and displacement of 200,000 Muslims.

Since his election to India's top elected office, Modi has elevated fellow right-wing Hindu extremists to positions of power in India. Yogi Adiyanath, known for his highly inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, was hand-picked in 2016 by Modi to head India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

Adiyanath's supporters brag about digging up Muslim women from their graves and raping them. In a video uploaded in 2014,  he said, “If [Muslims] take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we’ll kill 100 Muslims.”

Yogi wants to "install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque”.  Before his election, he said, “If one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police, we’ll kill 10 Muslims”.  He endorsed the beef lynching of Indian Muslim Mohammad Akhlaque and demanded that the victim's family be charged with cow slaughter.

Madhav S. Golwalkar, considered among the founders of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

In his book We, MS Golwalkar wrote the following in praise of what Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did to Jews as a model for what Hindus should do to Muslims in India: "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Social Hostility Against Minorities in South Asia. Source: Bloomberg

Rise of Hindu Nationalists: 

The situation for India's minorities, particularly Muslims, has become a lot worse in the last two years with Hindu mobs raping and lynching Muslims with impunity. The 2016 election of anti-Muslim radical Hindu priest Yogi Adiyanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, is seen as a clear signal from Mr. Modi that his anti-Muslim policies will continue.

Mohammad Akhlaq is believed to be the first victim of Hindu lynch mobs claiming to be protecting the cow. He was accused of consuming beef. For more than a week Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained silent over the incident and even after he spoke about it, he did not condemn it outright. The ruling BJP officials even tried to explain it as the result of the genuine anger of the Hindus over the slaughtering of a cow.

Pew Research Report:

A Pew Research report from data collected in 2015, about a year after Modi rose to power, found that the level of hostility against religious minorities is "very high". In fact, it said India scores 9 for social hostilities against religious minorities on a scale of 0-10.   Other countries in "very high" category for social hostilities include Nigeria, Iraq and Syria. Pakistan's score on this scale is 7 while Bangladesh is 5.5.

Pew Research Report on Religious Freedom

History of Anti-Muslim Riots in India:

Paul Richard Brass, professor emeritus of political science and international relations at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, has spent many years researching communal riots in India. He has debunked all the action-reaction theories promoted by Hindu Nationalists like Modi. He believes these are not spontaneous but planned and staged as "a grisly form of dramatic production" by well-known perpetrators from the Sangh Parivar of which Prime Minister Modi has been a member since his youth.

Here's an excerpt of Professor Brass's work:

"Events labelled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and town in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/rehearsal, activation/enactment, and explanation/interpretation. In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally. At first, multiple narratives vie for primacy in controlling the explanation of violence. On the one hand, the predominant social forces attempt to insert an explanatory narrative into the prevailing discourse of order, while others seek to establish a new consensual hegemony that upsets existing power relations, that is, those which accept the violence as spontaneous, religious, mass-based, unpredictable, and impossible to prevent or control fully. This third phase is also marked by a process of blame displacement in which social scientists themselves become implicated, a process that fails to isolate effectively those most responsible for the production of violence, and instead diffuses blame widely, blurring responsibility, and thereby contributing to the perpetuation of violent productions in future, as well as the order that sustains them."

"In India, all this takes place within a discourse of Hindu-Muslim hostility that denies the deliberate and purposive character of the violence by attributing it to the spontaneous reactions of ordinary Hindus and Muslims, locked in a web of mutual antagonisms said to have a long history. In the meantime, in post-Independence India, what are labelled Hindu-Muslim riots have more often than not been turned into pogroms and massacres of Muslims, in which few Hindus are killed. In fact, in sites of endemic rioting, there exist what I have called “institutionalized riot systems,” in which the organizations of militant Hindu nationalism are deeply implicated. Further, in these sites, persons can be identified, who play specific roles in the preparation, enactment, and explanation of riots after the fact. Especially important are what I call the “fire tenders,” who keep Hindu-Muslim tensions alive through various inflammatory and inciting acts; “conversion specialists,” who lead and address mobs of potential rioters and give a signal to indicate if and when violence should commence; criminals and the poorest elements in society, recruited and rewarded for enacting the violence; and politicians and the vernacular media who, during the violence, and in its aftermath, draw attention away from the perpetrators of the violence by attributing it to the actions."

Summary:

A recent Dartmouth study by three researchers has reported that "Muslims (in India) now have considerably worse upward mobility (29) today than both Scheduled Castes (37.4–37.8) and Scheduled Tribes (32.5–32.7). The comparable figure for African Americans is 34."  The Darthmouth paper adds that " (Indian) Muslims have also been frequent targets of discrimination and even violence."

India is seeing a spate of gang rapes and lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs who have been emboldened by the rise of anti-Muslim Hindu Nationalist leader Narendra Modi since his 2014 election to the highest office in India.  In their writings, iconic Hindutva leaders like Savarkar have encouraged rape of Muslim women. The elevation of radical Hindu Yogi Adiyanath to the top job in Uttar Pradesh by Mr. Modi has further alarmed India's Muslim minority. University of Washington's Professor Emeritus Paul Brass, who has documented the history of anti-Muslim violence in India,  describes it as "a grisly form of dramatic production" by well-known perpetrators from the Sangh Parivar of which Prime Minister Modi has been a member since his youth. Pew Research report on religious violence confirms India's status as a country with "very high" levels of social hostilities against religious minorities.  There appears to be no relief in sight for them at least in the foreseeable future.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Islamophobia Goes Mainstream

700,000 Indian Troops vs 10 Million Kashmiris

Muslim Lynchings in Modi's India

Yogi Adiyanath as UP CM

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler

Hinduization of India Under Modi

Muslim Victims of Gujarat 2002

India's Superpower Delusions: Modi's Flawed Policies

Saturday, November 3, 2018

How Does US Centcom See Saudi Arabia?

Popular Muslim American comedian Hasan Minhaj has come across a troubling US Central Command document that describes Saudis as having "Negro blood" in their ancestry. Minhaj recently talked about it in his Netflix Series "Patriot Act".

The welcome booklet for US military personnel joining a US mission to train Saudi troops in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as recently as June 2018 read as follows: “The population of [Saudi Arabia] is mainly composed of descendants of indigenous tribes that have inhabited the peninsula since prehistoric times with some later mixture of Negro blood from slaves imported from Africa."

Here's what Minhaj said in Netflix's Patriot Act:

"Suddenly, America's marriage of convenience with Saudi Arabia is starting to feel outdated. How outdated? Our military has been working in Saudi Arabia for decades. And if you are sent on a training mission in Saudi Arabia, this is the official military document you get. It describes the Saudi people as indigenous tribes with some later mixture of Negro blood from slaves imported from Africa. Oh, America, even in boring technical manuals, you still somehow managed to be racist.This [expletive] is still on the Internet, you guys. But Hasan, you know, it was probably written a while ago. Really? It was updated June 2018. But Hasan, these things are like an iTunes user agreement. It's probably at the bottom. Oh, no. It's Chapter 1, Page 5. OK, but is Negro still a bad word - dictionary.com, offensive".

Minhaj's highlighting of the offensive language resulted in prompt removal it from the Centcom website. “We regret that inappropriate material was posted to our website without a more fulsome review and apologize to anyone who took offense,” said CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban in a statement, per military newspaper Stars and Stripes. “We removed the document as soon as we were notified of the content, and it was returned to the originating office for revision.”

Related Links:


Haq's Musings


South Asia Investor Review

Does US Share Responsibility For ISIS?

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Did the West Sow the Seeds of ISIS?

General Petraeus Debunks Allegations of Duplicity Against Pakistan

Unintended Consequences of Charlie Wilson's War

Jihadis Growing After Afghan and Iraq Wars

US Invasion of Iraq

Global Power Shift After Industrial Revolution

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

Straight Talk by Gates on Pakistan

What If Musharraf Had Said No to US After 911? 

Who Are the Haqqanis?

Creation of the State of Israel

Monday, October 29, 2018

Standard Chartered Bank: Pakistan Among Most Upwardly Mobile Emerging Nations

Pakistan is among the most upwardly mobile nations in the world, according to a new Standard Chartered Bank study titled "Climbing the Prosperity Ladder".

The Standard Chartered study looks into social mobility, financial proficiency and digital savviness among 11,000 emerging affluent consumers in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea and the UAE. 34% of Pakistani respondents said their incomes have increased by more than 50% over the last 5 years while 44% said they have seen 10% or more income growth in the last year.

Socially Mobile Income Growth. Source: Standard Chartered Bank

China, India and Pakistan:

Standard Chartered study talks about the "fast-growing economies of China, India and Pakistan are providing abundant opportunities for scaling the social pyramid".  Here's an excerpt of the Standard Chartered report:

The fast-growing economies of China, India and Pakistan are providing abundant opportunities for scaling the social pyramid. Leading the way, in both China and India 67% of the emerging affluent are experiencing positive social mobility, while Pakistan is not far behind with 64%. Of the emerging affluent in these countries, India and Pakistan both have more than one in 10 (11%) that are experiencing supercharged social mobility, versus 7% in China. Strong earnings progression is fueling impressive rates of social mobility in all three countries. Many of the socially mobile have benefitted from a salary increase of 50% or more in the last five years – 34% in Pakistan, followed by 30% in India and 26% in China. This gap could widen, with India and Pakistan more optimistic about their future salaries than their Chinese counterparts. Almost half of the socially mobile in Pakistan (48%) and India (46%) predict another earnings increase of 50% or more in the next five years, whereas less than three in 10 (29%) expect the same in China. While the emerging affluent in China are more cautious about salary growth than their counterparts in fast-growing Pakistan and India, workplace remuneration is just one side of the social mobility equation. Education has been considered crucial to improving social standing in China for a long time, but the generational shift towards university access among the socially mobile is larger than any other market: more than nine in 10 have attended university (91%), compared to 34% of their fathers and 29% of their mothers.

Education Mobility:

Upwardly mobile Pakistanis have seen a significant increase in education levels. 89% of them have college degrees compared to 66% of fathers and 49% of mothers who did.

Socially Mobile Education Levels. Source: Standard Chartered Bank 

Gender Balance:

In terms of gender parity, 51% of socially supercharged in Pakistan are men and 49% are women.

Socially Mobile Gender Differences. Source: Standard Chartered

Intergenerational Mobility:

Are they better off than their parents? The answer is a resounding Yes for 79% of Pakistanis who feel better off than their parents.

Inter-generational Mobility. Source: Standard Chartered
Saving For Education:

Upwardly mobile Pakistanis see the value of education for their children. 18% of them say saving for their children's education is a top priority.

Saving For Education. Source: Standard Chartered

Summary:


Standard Chartered Bank study finds that Pakistan is among the most upwardly mobile nations in terms of income and education. 79% of Pakistanis feel they are better off than their parents.  34% of socially mobile Pakistani respondents say their incomes have increased by more than 50% over the last 5 years while 44% say they have seen 10% or more income growth in the last year. 89% of them have college degrees compared to 66% of fathers and 49% of mothers who did.

Related Links:







Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pakistani Universities Listed Among Asia's Top 500 Jump From 16 to 23 in One Year

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.

Top 500 Asian Universities. Source: QS University Rankings 2019
South Asia Ranking:

In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.

National University of Singapore ranked number one in Asia followed by University of Hong Kong and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Tsinghua University and Peking University—both from China—round off the top five list in Asia.

Pakistani Universities Ranked Among QS Asia Top 500. Source: QS Top Universities 2019

Pakistan's Top Universities: 

National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) is the top ranked university in Pakistan in QS Asia University Rankings 2019. NUST has moved up from 91st to 87th position. The second ranked university in Pakistan is Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) at 95th position in the Asian ranking. These are the only two Pakistani universities ranked among the top 100 in the QS Asia University Rankings 2019. By contrast, India has 8 universities ranked among Asia's top 100.  My alma mater NED University of Engineering and Technology is ranked 15th among Pakistan's 23 universities included in Asia's top 500 for 2019.

Top 15 Asian Nations Publishing Research. Source: SCIMAGO

Pakistan has emerged as the country with the highest percentage of Highly Cited Papers compared with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in the last 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters. Pakistan has doe so despite the fact that its "R&D environment faced substantial economic challenges".

Source: Thomson Reuters
Pakistani Researchers Citations: 

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Source: Thomson Reuters
The author asserts that his report provides comparisons between Pakistan and BRIC nations taking a look at productivity and leveraging contextual indicators. His analysis points to the fact that Pakistan can be benchmarked with emerging and dynamic countries such as those in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) group.

The Thomson Reuters report has found that, in 2012, "Pakistan's normalized Citation Impact was higher than that of all of the BRIC nations".

CERN Membership:

In 2014, Pakistan became the first Asian country and only the third in the world after Turkey and Serbia to be honored with CERN's associate membership. The status of associate member is a step before full membership. As an associate member, Pakistan  is entitled to attend open and restricted sessions of the organization.

College and University Enrollment:

There are over 3 million students enrolled in grades 13 through 16 in Pakistan's 1,086 degree colleges and 161 universities, according to Pakistan Higher Education Commission report for 2013-14.  The 3 million enrollment is 15% of the 20 million Pakistanis in the eligible age group of 18-24 years.  In addition, there are over 255,000 Pakistanis enrolled in vocational training schools, according to Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

Graduation Day at NED Engineering University For 1300 Graduates in 2013
Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million graduates, including over 10,000 IT graduates, every year since 2010, according to HEC data. The number of university graduates in Pakistan increased from 380,773 in 2005-6 to 493,993 in 2008-09. This figure is growing with rising enrollment and contributing to Pakistan's growing human capital.

Source: UNESCO's Global Education Digest 2009






Higher education in Pakistan has come a long way since its independence in 1947 when there was only one university, the University of Punjab. By 1997, the number of universities had risen to 35, of which 3 were federally administered and 22 were under the provincial governments, with a combined enrollment of 71,819 students. A big spending boost by President Pervez Musharraf helped establish 51 new universities and awarding institutions during 2002-2008. This helped triple university enrollment from 135,000 in 2003 to about 400,000 in 2008, according to Dr. Ata ur Rehman who led the charge for expanding higher education during Musharraf years. There are 161 universities with 1.5 million students enrolled in Pakistan as of 2014.

R&D Investment: 

Rise of research and publications at Pakistani universities began during Musharraf years when the annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr. Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. Government R&D spending jumped seven-fold as percentage of GDP from 0.1% of GDP in 1999 to 0.7% of GDP in 2007. It has since declined as percentage of GDP.

Summary:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka. Pakistani scientists and researchers are continuing to produced highly cited research in spite of serious economic and security challenges. Enrollment in higher education is rising and giving a boost to academic research. With better policy focus and more investment in higher education, Pakistan  can make an even greater impact with its young demographics.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

Pakistani Scientists at CERN

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

10 Pakistani Universities Among Asia's Top 300

Genomics and Biotech Research in Pakistan

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Pakistan Human Development in Musharraf Years

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Brand Finance 2018: Brand Pakistan Value Jumps 15%

Pakistan's brand value has jumped 15% to $196 billion in 2018, up from $171 billion in 2017, according to Brand Finance's Nations Brands Report 2018. The report ranks Pakistan at 51 among 100 nations ranked. It gives Pakistan an A brand rating on a scale from AAA+ to CCC-.

It is remarkable that Pakistan's brand value has increased by double digits and the country still ranks smack in the middle of the 100 nations ranked in spite of a concerted western and Indian media campaign to destroy its image.

Top 100 Most Valuable Nation Brands. Source: Brand Finance

The brand value of a country is an attempt to quantify its national image in the global marketplace. It encourages inward investment, adds value to exports, and attracts foreign tourists, according to the report.

Pakistan ranks ahead of 49 countries including Hungary, Slovakia, Egypt, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Iceland and Cyprus. Among South Asian nations, Pakistan (51) ranks behind India (9) and Bangladesh (39) but ahead of Sri Lanka (61) and Myanmar (73).

The United States tops the list with a brand value of nearly $26 trillion followed by China in second place with a brand value of nearly $13 trillion. Germany ranks 3rd, United Kingdom 4th, Japan 5th, France 6th, Canada 7th, Italy 8th, India 9th and South Korea 10th round off the top 10.

Pakistan's brand value has jumped 15% to $196 billion in 2018, up from $171 billion in 2017, according to Brand Finance's Nations Brands Report 2018. The report ranks Pakistan at 51 among 100 nations ranked. It gives Pakistan an A brand rating on a scale from AAA+ to CCC-.  It is remarkable that Pakistan's brand value has increased by double digits and the country still ranks smack in the middle of the 100 nations ranked in spite of a concerted western and Indian media campaign to destroy its image.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

HSBC: Pakistan Among World's Fastest Growing Economies Till 2030

Recently released HSBC report titled "The World in 2030" says that "five Asian economies will be among the world’s six fastest-growing economies – Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Pakistan and Vietnam". HSBC ranks Pakistan at number 4 in terms of GDP growth till 2030 and expects Pakistan to rise from the world's 40th biggest economy in 2018 in nominal terms to the world's 30th largest economy by 2030. Pakistan economy does face some short-term headwinds because of its balance of payments crisis requiring an IMF bailout. However, longer term prospects for growth look good.

American business publication Wall Street Journal has produced a short video explaining how its staff sees what it describes as "US-China conflict brewing in Pakistan". What is at stake in the battle between China and the United States in Pakistan is the prize of global superpower status.  Whoever wins in Pakistan will become the number one global superpower, says the Wall Street Journal.

Pakistan 4th Among Top 10 Fastest Growing Economies. Source: HSBC

The HSBC report authors look at 75 economies in developing, emerging and frontier markets to make long-term projections of their growth potential and changes in global rankings. They conclude that emerging economies will account for roughly 50 per cent of global GDP by 2030 – a "seismic shift from half of that in 2000".

The report forecasts that Asia will continue to be the biggest driver of global economic growth and highlights that "China will be the world’s largest economy in 2030, overtaking the US, while India - currently the seventh biggest - will be third, pushing Germany and Japan down a position".

An earlier 2017 report by Harvard University's Kennedy School's Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University forecast Pakistan's annual GDP growth to average 5.97% over the next 8 years, ranking it as the world's 6th fastest growing economy.

Growth Projections. Source: HKS CID Report


The Harvard growth projections are a bit more optimistic that other short, medium and long-term GDP growth forecasts for Pakistan offered by HSBC's 5% through 2050,   IMF's 5.5% till 2020, World Bank's 5.8% until 2019 and  The Economist EIU's 5.7% in 2017

Among the top 10 fastest growing economies, the CID projects Uganda to grow the fastest at 7.73%, followed by India 7.72%, Tanzania 6.66%, Senegal 6.49%, Madagascar 6.07%, Kenya 5.98%, Pakistan 5.97%, Indonesia 5.82%, Mali 5.75%, Turkey 5.64% and Philippines 5.43%.

Among Pakistan's other neighbors,  Harvard Kennedy School forecast China to grow at 4.41%, Sri Lanka at 3.77% and Bangladesh at 2.82%.

Pakistan economy does face some short-term headwinds because of its balance of payments crisis requiring an IMF bailout. However, longer term prospects for growth look good. Improved security situation and rising investments, particularly the China Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC-related investments led by China, are helping accelerate the economic growth in the country.  It is the fear of CPEC's success that appears to be driving a growing campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) waged by Pakistan's detractors in South Asia region and around the world.  American business publication Wall Street Journal has produced a short video explaining how its staff sees what it describes as "US-China conflict brewing in Pakistan". What is at stake in the battle between China and the United States in Pakistan is the prize of global superpower status.  Whoever wins in Pakistan will become the number one global superpower, says the Wall Street Journal.


Related Links:







Sunday, September 30, 2018

Pakistani-American Scholar Dr. Moeed Yusuf in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American scholar Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Associate Vice President of the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington D.C., visited Silicon Valley on September 29, 2018.  Dr. Yusuf  spoke at an event organized by Talk4Pak (talk4pak.com) team to launch his recently published book "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia".

Dr. Moeed Yusuf (L) with Faraz Darvesh


The event was moderated by Faraz Darvesh. It started with a brief intro by Riaz Haq to Talk4Pak followed an introduction to  the main speaker by Dr. Misbah Azam.

Riaz Haq (L) with Faraz Darvesh


Riaz Haq introduced Talk4Pak as a media platform intended to connect Pakistani-Americans with Pakistan to stimulate discussion on issues of interest to the diaspora.  Talk4Pak principals include Faraz Darvesh, Misbah Azam, Sabahat Ashraf, Ali Hasan Cemendtaur, and Riaz Haq. Talk4Pak engages with its target audience via social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Talk4Pak produces two regular shows: Viewpoint From Overseas in English and Azad Labon Kay Sath in Urdu.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf Signing Books


Talk4Pak shows feature discussions with analysts, activists, journalists, intellectuals, writers and thinkers. Guests include a range: Dr. Moeed Yusuf, Dr. Adil Najam, Dr. Ishrat Husain, Brigadier Feroz Khan,  Shuja Nawaz, Raoof Hasan, Munir Malik, Jibran Nasir, Ayesha Siddiqa, Asma Jahangir,  Munizae Jahangir, Monis Rahman, Husain Haqqani, Tarek Fatah, Dr. Nyla Ali Khan (grand-daughter of Shaikh Abdullah), Raza Rumi, Zahid Husain, Mazhar Abbas,  Amir Abbas, Farrukh Pitafi, Zarar Khuro, Jared Taylor and others.

Dr. Misbah Azam (L) Introducing Dr. Moeed Yusf


Misbah introduced Dr. Moeed W. Yusuf as Associate Vice president of the Asia Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Yusuf has been engaged in expanding USIP’s work on Pakistan/South Asia since 2010. His current research focuses on youth and democratic institutions in Pakistan, policy options to mitigate militancy in Pakistan and the South Asian region in general, and U.S. role in South Asian crisis management. His latest book, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia, was released by Stanford University Press in May 2018. The book offers an innovative theory of brokered bargaining to better understand and solve regional nuclear crises.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf Signing Books


In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" by Dr. Moeed Yusuf published by Stanford University Press, the author analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Dr. Moeed Yusuf with Dinner Attendees


Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."

Dt. Moeed Yusuf Speaking at Talk4Pak Silicon Valley Event 


At the talk4pak Silicon Valley event, Dr. Yusuf addressed three areas of focus: 

1. US-Pakistan relations: Yusuf says Washington now sees India, not Pakistan, as its strategic partner in South Asia. Washington's entire relationship with Islamabad today revolves almost exclusively around Afghanistan where American and Pakistani interests do not converge. The only time the United States gets involved in India-Pakistan conflict is when there is a serious crisis that the world fears could escalate into a nuclear confrontation between them. 

2. India-Pakistan Ties: There is no sustained dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve issues such as Kashmir between the two neighbors. Yusuf speculates that India wants to wait it out for the time when its economic and military differential with Pakistan becomes so large that Delhi can dictate terms to Islamabad as the unchallenged regional hegemon. 

3. Afghanistan War: Pakistan does not believe that the Afghan Taliban can be militarily defeated and insists that the United States must talk directly with them to reach a political settlement.  Yusuf now believes that the recent start of direct dialogue between the United States and the Taliban may bring an eventual end to America's longest war.

Audience at Talk4Pak Silicon Valley


Dr. Moeed Yusuf's "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" is a thought provoking book as is his presentation at the talk4pak Silicon Valley event. Both should stimulate serious discussion of how regional nuclear powers like India and Pakistan can engage with each other more deeply to maintain peace and stability in their neighborhood. This will require both parties, India and Pakistan, to have sustained dialogue to resolve core issues like Kashmir that underly recurring crises.

Here's a video of the presentation at talk4pak event of September 29, 2018:

https://youtu.be/U5qIWAKviHE




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India-Pakistan Conventional Military Balance

Freeing Colonized Minds in Pakistan

America's "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

Funding of Hate Groups, NGOs, Think Tanks: Is Money Free Speech?

US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25

MQM-RAW Link

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pakistan Lags in Human Capital Development

Pakistan's human capital has doubled from three years of learning in 1990 to six years of learning in 2016, according to a human capital study of 195 countries recently published in the journal The Lancet.  However, Pakistan still ranks a poor 164th in the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital. India has also more than doubled its human capital from 3 years to 7 years but Bangladesh stands out by tripling its human capital from two years to six years of learning since 1990.  In 2016, the Lancet study shows that 44 countries achieved more than 20 years of expected human capital while 68 countries had expected human capital of less than 10 years. Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have less than 10 years of learning, putting them in the category of low human capital countries. Learning is based on average student scores on internationally comparable tests.

What is Human Capital?

Dictionary defines human capital as "the collective skills, knowledge, or other intangible assets of individuals that can be used to create economic value for the individuals, their employers, or their community".

The Lancet study says it "provides a new measure of expected human capital for 195 countries, consisting of four components: educational attainment, learning, health, and survival, based on a systematic analysis of all available data. This measure, in units of health, education, and learning-adjusted expected years lived between age 20 and 64 years, is estimated each year from 1990 to 2016 and can be updated annually."  Learning is based on average student scores on internationally comparable tests.

Human Capital Growth in South Asia. Source: The Lancet
South Asia's Low Human Capital:

Both Pakistan and India have seen their human capital double from three years of learning in 1990 to six years of learning in 2016 but both still rank low with significantly less than 10 years of learning,  according to a human capital study of 195 countries recently published in the journal The Lancet.

In fact, the entire South Asia region continues to rank low in terms of human capital. Among South Asian nations, Sri Lanka ranks the highest at 102 (13 years), Maldives 116 (12 years), Bhutan 133 (9 years),  Nepal 156 (7 years),  India 158 (7 years),  Bangladesh 161 (6 years), Pakistan 164 (6 years) and Afghanistan 188 (4 years). Countries with less than 10 years of learning are considered having "low human capital" by the authors of the study.

In 2016, the Lancet study shows that 44 countries achieved more than 20 years of expected human capital while 68 countries had expected human capital of less than 10 years. Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have less than 10 years of learning, putting them in the category of low human capital countries.


Change in Global Human Capital Maps. Top 1990, Bottom 2016. Source: Lancet

Global Human Capital Rankings:

Finland tops the human capital charts with 28.4 years of learning, United States ranks 27th with 23 years of learning and Turkey and China rank 43rd and 44th respectively, each with 20 years of learning. The countries with the least human capital are those in sub-Saharan Africa. Mali ranks 191st (3 years), Burkina Faso 192nd (3 years), Chad 193rd (2 years), South Sudan 194th (2 years) and Niger (2 years)  at the very bottom ranked 195th.

Conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in collaboration with University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the study on the measurement of human capital has been published in the journal The Lancet.

Impact of Human Capital on Economic Growth:

The Lancet report says that "human capital is characterized as the aggregate levels of education, training, skills, and health in a population, affecting the rate at which technologies can be developed, adopted, and employed to increase productivity".

Growth in human capital is associated with faster economic growth. The top quartile of countries in terms of absolute change in human capital from 1990 to 2016 had a median annualized growth in gross domestic product of 2·60% (IQR 1·85–3·69) compared with 1·45% (0·18–2·19) for countries in the bottom quartile, according to the Lancet report.

Human Development in Pakistan: 

In addition to the human capital report by The Lancet, UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) is another indicator of human progress that combines information on people’s health, education and income. The latest Human Development Report (HDR) shows Pakistan's HDI ranking sank to a new low of 150 in 2018.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index focusing on three basic dimensions of human development: the ability to lead a long and healthy life, measured by life expectancy at birth; the ability to acquire knowledge, measured by mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling; and the ability to achieve a decent standard of living, measured by gross national income per capita.

Not only has Pakistan's economy slowed since 2008 but its progress in education sector has seen a dramatic slowdown. Data shows that Pakistan's literacy and enrollment rates are not rising in spite of significantly increased education spending over the last several years. Education budgets at federal and provincial levels have seen double digit increase of 17.5% a year on average since 2010. And yet, school enrollment and literacy rate have remained essentially flat during this period.  This lack of progress in education stands in sharp contrast to the significant improvements in outcomes seen from increase education spending during Musharraf years in 2001-2008. Why is it?

Is the money not being spent honestly and wisely? Is the education budget being used by the ruling politicians to create teacher jobs solely for political patronage? Are the teachers not showing up for work? Is the money being siphoned off by bureaucrats and politicians by hiring "ghost teachers" in "ghost schools"? Let's try and examine the data and the causes of lack of tangible results from education spending.

Pakistan Education Budget:

The total money budgeted for education by the governments at the federal and provincial levels has increased from Rs. 304 billion in 2010-11 to Rs. 790 billion in 2016-17,  representing an average of 17.5% increase per year since 2010.



Education and Literacy Rates:

Pakistan's net primary enrollment rose from 42% in 2001-2002 to 57% in 2008-9 during Musharraf years. It has been essentially flat at 57% since 2009 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16

Similarly, the literacy rate for Pakistan 10 years or older rose from 45% in 2001-2002 to 56% in 2007-2008 during Musharraf years. It has increased just 4% to 60% since 2009-2010 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16

Four Levels of Development:

The extensive data compilation and research by Professor Hans Rosling of Sweden has shown that the binary categorization of nations into developed and developing is no longer useful. Instead, he has proposed using 4 levels of development based on health and wealth indicators, a proposal that has now been accepted by the United Nations and the World Bank. Here's how Rosling and the United Nations define these 4 levels:

1. Level 1: One billion people live on level 1. This is what we think of as extreme poverty. If you’re on level 1, you survive on less than $2 a day and get around by walking barefoot. Your food is cooked over an open fire, and you spend most of your day traveling to fetch water. At night, you and your children sleep on a dirt floor.

2. Level 2: Three billion people live on level 2, between $2 and $8 a day. Level 2 means that you can buy shoes and maybe a bike, so it doesn’t take so long to get water. Your kids go to school instead of working all day. Dinner is made over a gas stove, and your family sleeps on mattresses instead of the floor.

Level 3: Two billion people live on level 3, between $8 and $32 a day. You have running water and a fridge in your home. You can also afford a motorbike to make getting around easier. Some of your kids start (and even finish) high school.

Level 4: One billion people live on level 4. If you spend more than $32 a day, you’re on level 4. You have at least a high school education and can probably afford to buy a car and take a vacation once in a while.

Imran Khan's Ambitious Agenda:

Imran Khan laid out his agenda in his first speech to the nation after taking the office of the prime minister.  It was more like a fireside chat in which he spoke directly to the people to explain his priorities that emphasize education,  health care and human development. These are the keys to leading Pakistan from level 2 to level 3. In order to pursue his priorities, Mr. Khan needs to first address the more urgent economic crisis which he acknowledged. Pakistan needs to deal with excessive public debt and pay for the necessary imports to move forward.  He must also deal with financial corruption and mismanagement to free up the resources for his ambitious agenda of economic and human development of the nation.

Mr. Khan will almost certainly face stiff opposition from the status quo forces which stand to lose from the changes he seeks. They will fight to preserve their patronage networks and their power and privilege. They will try to bring down his coalition government with all they have got. They might even threaten his personal safety and security.

Democracy and Development:

Professor Hans Rosling has compiled extensive socioeconomic data and done serious research to understand how nations develop. He has shared his work in "Factfulness" that he co-wrote with his son Ola Rosling and daughter Anna Rosling Ronnlund. Here's an except on democracy and development from Factfulness:

"This is risky but I am going to argue it anyway. I strongly believe that liberal democracy is the best way to run a country. People like me, who believe this, are often tempted to argue that democracy leads to, or its even a requirement for, other good things, like peace, social progress, health improvement, and economic growth. But here's the thing, and it is hard to accept: the evidence does not support this stance.

Most countries that make great economic and social progress are not democracies. South Korea moved from Level 1 to Level 3 faster than any other country had ever done (without finding oil), all the time as a military dictatorship. Of the ten countries with the fastest economic growth, nine of them score low on democracy.

Anyone who claims that democracy is a necessity for economic growth and health improvements will risk getting contradicted by reality. It's better to argue for democracy as a goal in itself instead of as a superior means to other goals we like."

Summary:

Pakistan's human capital has doubled from three years of learning in 1990 to six years of learning in 2016, according to a human capital study of 195 countries recently published in the journal The Lancet.  However, Pakistan still ranks a poor 164th in the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital. India has also doubled its human capital from 3 years to 6 years but Bangladesh stands out by tripling its human capital from two years to six years of learning since 1990.  Learning is based on average student scores on internationally comparable tests.

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan has laid out an ambitious agenda that could accelerate Pakistan's human development progress to take his country from level 2 to level 3 of socioeconomic development. It is achievable but the odds are against him because he faces stiff opposition from the status quo forces. The powerful dynastic duopoly of PPP and PMLN still dominates Pakistan's Senate whose support will be required for major reforms. The research by Professor Hans Rosling shows: "Of the ten countries with the fastest economic growth, nine of them score low on democracy." It's also supported by Pakistan's economic history where pace of development has consistently been faster under military governments than during civilian democratic rule. Can Prime Minister Imran Khan's leadership change the course of history and deliver faster human progress under democratic rule? Let's wait and see.