Sunday, May 1, 2016

OPEN Forum 2016: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference in Silicon Valley

OPEN Forum 2016 in Silicon Valley drew over 700  Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, bankers, accountants, lawyers and high-tech executives to Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday, April 30, 216. The forum featured keynotes by Qasar Younus, the Pakistani-American head of Silicon Valley's top incubator Y-Combinator, and  Atif Rafiq, Chief Digital Officer at fast food giant McDonald's Corp.





OPEN Forum 2016 Agenda:

The conference included presentations and discussions in four parallel tracks to inform and educate attendees on various aspects of starting and building businesses at different stages. In addition, there were panels on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, inspiring Pakistani-American youth and dealing with the rise of Islamophobia in the United States. Also screened was a documentary "K2 and the Invisible Footmen" about the unsung mountaineering heroes of Pakistan's tallest and the world's second tallest mountain peak K2 and the film "The PHD Movie" about grad school.




Silicon Valley's Impact on Jobs in America:

The first keynote I attended in the morning was about order automation at fast food giant McDonald's. The effort is spearheaded by Atif Rafiq, a Pakistani-American who has been hired by the restaurant chain operator as its first Chief Digital Officer. After the presentation, I asked Atif as to how he sees the impact of his work on employment at McDonald's? Given the fact that the service sector is the largest employer in the United States, how would the ongoing service sector automation efforts impact the larger jobs picture?  Would the emerging gig economy a la Uber be enough to make up for service sector job losses?   Rafiq confessed it's a significant issue but he did not directly answer it.

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including Pakistani-Americans, are credited with creating millions of new jobs in new industries ranging from semiconductors to computers, communications and software  and biotechnology over the last several decades. The question is: Will the new industries spawned by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs help or hurt the overall employment in America?

Twin Forces of Globalization and Automation:

The twin forces of automation and globalization are now causing significant unemployment and underemployment in the United States. The impact of job losses and growing inequality are  the subject of the current election campaigns.

First, it was the manufacturing jobs that moved offshore in 1980s and 1990s in an effort to save costs and fatten profits. This forced many factory workers to move into service industries and take pay cuts. Now the service sector jobs are also falling prey to outsourcing and automation.

Instead of addressing the root causes of economic difficulties faced by many Americans, Republican front-runner Donald Trump's presidential primary campaign is blaming immigrants and Muslims for their problems. This is  giving rise to forces of racism, bigotry, xenophobia and Islamophobia in America.

Future of Capitalism and Democracy in America:

The success of American capitalism and democracy is built on the firm foundations of nearly full employment and a large middle class. The erosion of these two ingredients threatens the very foundations of America's peace and prosperity.

In response to high unemployment in 1930s, British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) argued: "The government should pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up." He advocated massive spending by government to stimulate demand when all else fails.

John Maynard Keynes:

 Who was Keynes?  Here is how UC Berkeley's Robert Reich described him a few years ago: "A Cambridge University don with a flair for making money, a graduate of England's exclusive Eton prep school, a collector of modern art, the darling of Virginia Woolf and her intellectually avant-garde Bloomsbury Group, the chairman of a life-insurance company, later a director of the Bank of England, married to a ballerina, John Maynard Keynes--tall, charming and self-confident--nonetheless transformed the dismal science into a revolutionary engine of social progress."

Keynes was clearly a very smart man. His ideas of modern Capitalism have created unprecedented wealth and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And his ideas may still help save capitalism yet again. However, what Keynes couldn't have imagined are the new heights of avarice and wickedness of the modern political-industrial elite in America that has threatened the very foundations of the system that brought them wealth and power. During recent decades, the behavior of American capitalists and politicians has been unbelievably self-destructive.

What Can Silicon Valley Do?

I think it's in the best interest of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, particularly Pakistani-American entrepreneurs, to pay attention to the economic difficulties being faced by many Americans who are losing jobs to automation and globalization. These difficulties lie at the root of growing xenophobia and Islamophobia. The Pakistani-American entrepreneurs need to think of new ways to help people who are being left behind. They need to explore ideas such as helping build new skills needed for the new economy, promote policy discussions on the idea of universal basic income and expansion of safety nets and development of new gig economy to ensure full employment with decent incomes. Failure to do so could lead to significant social strife and cause irreparable damage to the very foundations of the system that has brought great wealth and power to America as a nation.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Can American Capitalism Survive?

The Trump Phenomenon

Islamophobia in America

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans

Pakistani-American Leads Silicon Valley's Top Incubator

Silicon Valley Pakistanis Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Karachi-born Triple Oscar Winning Graphics Artist

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fire-eye Goes Public

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Pakistan's Identity: Religion Trumps Nationality

Only 27% of the people in Pakistan identify themselves as Pakistanis first while 51% of Indians see themselves as Indians first. On the other hand, 43% of Pakistanis (vs 17% of Indians) say their religious identity comes first, according to Globescan Survey 2016  conducted in 18 countries including India and Pakistan.



Pakistanis' Self-identification:

The top choice of religion as the dominant identity by 43% of respondents in Pakistan is followed by 27% seeing themselves as Pakistani, 12% picking local community, 11% saying race or culture and 2% claiming global citizenship.  Those identifying as Pakistanis is up from 22% in 2011 while those who say they are Muslims first have decreased from a whopping 59% in 2011.






Pakistan Among 3 Stand-outs:

Pakistan is among three countries that stand out in how their populations see their identity. Spaniards are by far the most likely to identify with world citizenship (54%). For 56 per cent of Indonesians, belonging to their local community is the strongest defining identity. And for Pakistanis, a strong plurality (43%) identify first as a member of their religion.

Indonesia, where only 4% of the people identify themselves as Indonesian nationals, has over 18,000 islands spread over 8 million square kilometers, many with their own distinct languages and cultures. Former Indonesian President General Suhatro's mass literacy campaign to teach Bahasa Indonesia to promote nationhood has apparently not had a big impact.

The poll, conducted by GlobeScan among more than 20,000 people worldwide between December 2015 and April 2016, was released as part of the BBC World Service Identity Season—a Spring season of broadcasts on the World Service’s 27 language services exploring stories about how people identify themselves around the world, according to Globscan press release.

Global Citizenship:

Among all 18 countries where the identity question was asked in 2016, the poll suggests more than half (51%) see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country, against 43 per cent who identify nationally. This is the first time since tracking began in 2001 that there is a global majority who leans this way, and the results in 2016 are driven by strong increases since 2015 in non-OECD countries including Nigeria (73%, up 13 points), China (71%, up 14 points), Peru (70%, up 27 points), and India (67%, up 13 points).

Modern Nationalism:

Nation-state is a relatively recent concept in the history of mankind. Affiliations with religions, sects, and various units such as tribes, villages and towns significantly pre-date identification of people with modern nation-states.

The percentage of respondents identifying themselves as Pakistani first has increased from 22% in 2011 to 27% in 2016. Pakistani nationalism is still evolving. Rapid growth of literacy and modern mass media are helping promote a common national language and culture in the country, particularly since the beginning of the 21st century.  Development of various national and state institutions is accelerating the process.

In spite of continuing tribal, sectarian and ethic conflicts in many parts of the world, including Pakistan, modern nationalism has become the most visible political force since the 20th century. This force is backed by development and promotion of national languages and cultures. It is underpinned by organized military and security apparatus enforcing constitutions and laws developed by broad consensus in democratic societies.

Summary:

While 27% identification with the nation-state in Pakistan is about half the global average of 52%, this figure is growing with the promotion of Urdu as lingua franca and common culture promoted by the increasingly powerful mass media and entertainment industry in the country.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan: A Blessing for South Asian Muslims?

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Inspired by Misaq-e-Madina

Is Two-Nation-Theory Dead?

An Indian's View of Iqbal, Jinnah & Pakistan

Pakistan's War is Cultural

Pakistan Media Revolution

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Panama Leaks: Did Musharraf Steal Pakistani People's Money?

A story alleging corruption by former President Pervez Musharraf has appeared recently in Pakistan's Jang Media Group publications  in the aftermath of the Panama Leaks that revealed the names of 220 rich and powerful Pakistanis owning offshore accounts.

The Panama Papers show that Mir Shakeel ur Rehman, the owner of Jang Media Group, owns offshore accounts, as do the family of the current Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007. Other Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers include prominent businessmen, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, etc. allegedly involved in corruption. The names of former President Pervez Musharraf or his family members are not among the 220 names from Pakistan.

The Jang Media Group story titled "How Mr clean Musharraf became a billionaire" lists accounts held by Mr. Musharraf in Dubai and London with balances adding up to millions of US dollars. Farrukh Durrani, the story writer, demands that the commission of inquiry looking into Panama Papers also investigate the sources of Mr. Musharraf's wealth. Here's an excerpt of the story:

"Despite having such huge chunk of amount in his offshore accounts, neither did any investigative agency nor did the accountability bureau question him how he got billions of rupees in his foreign accounts. However the commission of inquiry appointed by prime minister in the wake of Panama Leaks has a broader scope and powers which can question ex-dictator Pervez Musharraf from where he got billions of rupees which are kept in his offshore accounts."

Knowing what I know about how western leaders like former US President Clinton and his wife Hillary became wealthy after leaving office, let me suggest to Mr. Durrani to do his homework as follows:

1. Learn about the lucrative speaker series business which brings hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech to celebrity speakers in the West, particularly the United States. This is a well-established, well-organized business that promotes lecture series featuring prominent speakers where attendees pay hundreds of dollars per person to attend in large numbers.

2. Do research into how many such lectures President Musharraf delivered after retiring from presidency in 2008? How much did he get paid for each? What does it all add up to? Does it add up to more than the reported account balances in Dubai and London?

Let me give a few pointers to Mr. Durrani if he's honestly trying to understand the sources of Mr. Musharraf's wealth:

1. A Newsweek story quoted David Wheeler, President of Embark LLC,  just one of the international public-relations firms trying to land Musharraf as a highly paid keynote speaker, as saying, "The [speaking] fee for Musharraf would be in the $150,000-200,000 range for a day."



2. The Newsweek story further added that "Public-relations executives say the articulate and brash 44-year army veteran's earning power could approach that of former U.S. President Bill Clinton".

3. Here's how an Oregon newspaper "The Oregonian" reported about Musharraf's planned appearance in Portland in 2010:  "The folks who attract big international names to Portland each year have done it again, landing Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former president, to speak here in March. The World Affairs Council of Oregon's 2010 speaker series will also feature Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz; Jane Lubchenco, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration chief administrator; and -- in a face-off --Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Karl Rove, strategist for President George W. Bush."

4. A brochure announcing the Peninsula Speaker Series in the San Francisco Bay Area that included Musharraf as a featured speaker, along with Condeleeza Rice, Laura Tyson and Paul Krugman, showed the ticket prices ranging from $294 to $403 per person.

After Mr. Durrani has had a chance to do his homework, I believe he will realize, if he's honest, that he is being used by his employer to deflect attention of the world and of any investigative commission members from the sins of Mir Shakeel ur Rahman and his rich and powerful friends in high places, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, who have either stolen Pakistan peoples' money and/or cheated on taxes they owe to the Pakistani treasury. Any investigative commission must not allow itself to be used to pursue vendettas to obscure the truth.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Leaders in London After Panama Leaks

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Zardari Corruption Probe

President Pervez Musharraf's Legacy

We Hang Petty Thieves and Appoint Great Ones to High Offices

Capitalism's Achilles Heel by Raymond Baker

Monday, April 18, 2016

Is US Playing India Card to Check China While Ignoring India's Pakistan Obsession?

Is the United States trying to play the India card against China while India is much more obsessed with Pakistan? Is the Indian behavior reinforcing the India-Pakistan hyphenation that the Indians claim to detest?

To answer these questions, let's take a look at the contents of the media reports on the Delhi visit by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

As the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently went to New Delhi to pursue what he described as "whole global agenda" with India, the Indian media responded by focusing their questions to him on US-Pakistan ties.  Here's a sample of what transpired:

Indian Media:  Why do you continue to have close ties with Pakistan?

Ash Carter: India also has relations with other countries like Russia. We respect that. We value our relations with Pakistan.

Question: Why are you supplying F-16s to Pakistan?

Answer: What we do in Pakistan is directed towards counter terrorism. We too have suffered from terrorism emanating from the territory, more specifically Afghanistan. Pakistan has used F-16 in operations in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). We have approved it.

Anticipating questions about US-Pakistan ties during his India visit, here's what Carter told Council of Foreign Relation in Washington D.C. before leaving for New Delhi:

“I’m sure I’ll be asked about it in India, but I think the first thing one needs to say from an American policy point of view, these (India and Pakistan) are both respected partners and friends.”

"Pakistan is an important security partner", Carter added.

While US is courting India to check China's rise, the China-Pakistan ties have now moved well beyond “higher than Himalayas and sweeter than honey,” as officials on both sides say. Chinese strategists openly talk of Pakistan as their nation’s only real ally. And China is investing heavily in Pakistan to build the Gwadar deep sea port as part of a much more ambitious and strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that India is attempting sabotage.

Let me conclude with a quote from from Brookings' Stephen Cohen on India-Pakistan power equation:

“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.”

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sfliv7KJVM




http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x45590s_pak-leaders-in-london-us-india-defense-deals-trump-vs-gop_news



Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals... by ViewpointFromOverseas

https://vimeo.com/163190180


Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Pakistan Obsession

India's Superpower Delusion: Modi's Policy Blunders

Does Pakistan Really Need F-16s to Fight Terror? 

Pakistan-Russia-China vs India-Japan-US?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Gwadar: Hong Kong West for China?

Indian Agent Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP

Why are all of Pakistan’s top political leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gathered in London in the wake of the Panama Leaks Scandal? Is it just a coincidence? Or is it to deal with the Panama Leaks fall-out? Or is it to forge an alliance with PPP boss Asif Zardari? Or Nawaz Sharif really needs medical attention for serious heart ailment? Why is PTI leader Imran Khan there? What is he planning to do to topple the Sharif government?

Why did US Defense Secretary visit India? Is the US playing the India card against China? What deals were signed between the two nations? How will this affect Pakistan? Why were so many of the Indian media questions addressed to Sec Ashton Carter about Pakistan? Does it it not expose the Indian obsession with Pakistan while, at the same time, it also claims to want the US to de-hyphenate the two South Asian nations?

Why is US Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump so angry with his own party? Why is he attacking Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus? How will this infighting affect the race on the GOP side? Will it cause a raucous convention in July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio? Will this GOP infighting help Democrats win the White House?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com) and Ali H. Cemendtaur.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sfliv7KJVM




http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x45590s_pak-leaders-in-london-us-india-defense-deals-trump-vs-gop_news



Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals... by ViewpointFromOverseas

https://vimeo.com/163190180


Pak Leaders in London; US-India Defense Deals; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Panama Leaks Scandal

Zardari Corruption Probe

Pakistan's Culture of Corruption

US Defense Sec Ashton Carter's India Visit

India-Pakistan Hyphenation

Understanding Trump Phenomenon

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

The Godfather's Vito Corleone: A Metaphor for Uncle Sam?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pakistan Received $19.3 Billion in Remittances in 2015 Amid Falling Oil Prices

Pakistani diaspora sent home $19.3 billion in remittances in 2015, representing 12.8 % increase over 2014, according to a World Bank Report titled "Migration and Development Brief" released today.

Pakistan's $19.3 billion in remittance make up 6.9% of 2014 GDP, essentially closing the rising trade deficit amid the nation's falling exports.

The 12.8% increase over 2015 is substantial but it is down from 16.7% jump seen in 2014 over 2013. The report attributes the slower remittance growth from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to falling oil prices.

This report comes soon after the Panama Leaks that show how Pakistan's corrupt elite, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family, are moving and hiding in offshore tax havens the hard-earned dollars sent home by overseas Pakistanis to keep Pakistan's economy afloat.

Overseas Remittances in South Asia Source: World Bank 


In Q4 of 2015, year-on-year growth of remittances to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia and the UAE were 11.7 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively, a significant deceleration from 17.5 percent and 42.0 percent in the first quarter, said the report.

Global remittances, which include those to high-income countries, contracted by 1.7% to $581.6 billion in 2015, from $592 billion in 2014, the World Bank said.

India was the top recipient with $68.9 billion in remittances in 2015, a decline from $70 billion in 2014. This marks the first decline in remittances since 2009,  according to the report.

The growth of remittances in 2015 slowed from 8% in 2014 to 2.5% for Bangladesh, from 16.7% to 12.8% for Pakistan, and from 9.6% to 0.5% for Sri Lanka. “Slower growth may reflect the impact of falling oil prices on remittances from GCC countries,” the report said.

The only country in South Asia to see dramatic growth in remittances was Nepal. The overseas Nepalese workers sent home $7 billion in 2015, an increase of 20.9 percent in 2015 versus 3.2 percent growth in 2014. After the devastating earthquake that hit the Himalayan nation, many Nepalese migrant workers returned home to take care of their families, as the average number of returns at the airport jumped five times to around 4,000 per day.

“Remittances are an important and fairly stable source of income for millions of families and of foreign exchange to many developing countries,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group.

“However, if remittances continue to slow, and dramatically as in the case of Central Asian countries, poor families in many parts of the world would face serious challenges including nutrition, access to health care and education,” Lopez-Claros said.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Remittances to Pakistan

Pakistani Names in Panama Leaks

Pakistan Diaspora is Among the World's Largest

Pakistan's Corrupt Elite

Remittances Offer a Lifeline to Pakistan's Poor

Aid, Investment, Trade and Remittances to Pakistan

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Panama Leaks in Pakistan; US Defense Secretary in India; ZarbeAzb in Punjab; MQM in Karachi By-elections

What do leaked Panama Papers reveal about Pakistani politicians, judges, businessmen and media owners? Where did PM Nawaz Sharif’s sons get the funds to start shell companies and open offshore accounts when they were just teenagers? How should PM Nawaz Sharif respond to the leaks? Should he accept responsibility and resign as demanded by PTI chief Imran Khan? Or should he come clean, pay back taxes and apologize to the nation?


Has Pakistan Army’s Operation Zarb e Azb finally started in Punjab province? Will the Army succeed in rooting out sectarian terror by Punjab-based LeJ and similar other outfits operating under different names? Is PMLN a reluctant participant? Does the operation have the kind of legal cover available to it in Sindh province? If not why not?

Why is the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visiting India? Why did he say US-India relationship broad and global while US-Pakistan ties are narrowly focused on Afghanistan and terrorism? What does India expect to get from it? Defense hardware? US Predator drones? Will India agree to join US Navy patrols to challenge Chinese Navy in disputed waters in South China Sea?

Why was there such an extremely low turn-out in Karachi by-elections? Was it because the PTI candidate withdrew in favor of the MQM candidate? Or was it due to lack of enthusiasm for MQM since the return of Mustafa Kamal?

Viewpoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/2aGGar2kmj8





http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x43tgfn_panama-leaks-in-pakistan-us-defense-secretary-in-india-zarbeazb-in-punjab-mqm-in-karachi-by-election_news



Panama Leaks in Pakistan; US Defense Secretary... by ViewpointFromOverseas


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Zardari Corruption Probe in Switzerland

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Sectarian Terror in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

The Godfather's Vito Corleone: A Metaphor for Uncle Sam?

Mustafa Kamal vs MQM

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Does Pakistan Really Need F-16s to Fight Terror?

Pakistan is looking to buy more F-16s from the United States. There's mounting opposition to such sales as witnessed recently when President Barack Obama approved the sale of just 8 F-16s to the country.

India Lobby:

This decision by the Obama administration's decision triggered the Indian spin machine to go into high gear. The campaign orchestrated by the Indian government included placement of favorable news stories, TV analysts' commentaries, newspaper columns and magazine Op-Eds (including one by Husain Haqqani), think tank reports and speeches by the members of the India Caucus in the US Congress.  They all blatantly toed the Indian line that these 8 F-16s would be used against India, not in Pakistan's ongoing counter-insurgency operations. The biased nature of all of these efforts can be gauged by the following facts that were completely ignored by them:

Damocles Multi-Function Targeting Pod Source: Defense News
1. Pakistan, like the United States elsewhere, has been using F-16s in Operation Zarb e Azb against militants hiding out in Pakistan tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan. The key reason for the choice of F-16s is its sophisticated precision targeting pod that is not available on China-Pakistan jointly developed JF-17 fighter aircraft.

2. There is a huge imbalance in the conventional defense capabilities between India and Pakistan as laid out by GlobalFirePower.com.  It ranks India at number 4 in the world while Pakistan is way down at number 17 in 2016. India's defense spending of $51.1 billion is higher than the defense budgets of much richer nations like France ($50.9 billion), Germany ($47 billion) and Japan ($46 billion), and about 6 times higher than Pakistan's $9 billion, according to SIPRI as reported by the media.

3. India is world's largest importer of sophisticated weapons, including fighter aircraft, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Here's what it says about the import of weapons between 2011 and 2015: India (14 per cent of global arms imports), China (4.7 per cent), Australia (3.6 per cent), Pakistan (3.3 per cent), Viet Nam (2.9 per cent) and South Korea (2.6 per cent).

I did not see a single piece in the US media supporting Pakistani position in this battle.  It was completely one-sided. They succeeded in forcing a US Senate vote to block the sale. Luckily for Pakistan, Obama administration barely succeeded in overcoming this Indian campaign to do something as trivial as selling just a few F-16s to Pakistan this time.

Precision Targeting Pod:

PAF currently relies heavily on a fleet of about 70 US-made Lockheed Martin F-16s with its Sniper Targeting Pods, which are solely capable of carrying out precision targeting to hit militants while minimizing civilian deaths. However, Pakistan's continuous use of F-16s for precision targeting in FATA is reducing their effective lives as air to air combat aircraft.

The latest version of precision targeting pod being used with F-16s is Sniper XR. In addition Northrup Grumman also supplies an Israeli designed LITENING Pod to some of its customers.

While Pakistan is still pursuing purchase of additional F-16s, the nation is also looking to enhance precision targeting capability of JF-17. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is assessing the French Thales-made Damocles targeting pod for mounting on its JF-17 aircraft, according to Defense News.

Thales has a newer Talios targeting. These systems are being continuously improved with day/night targeting with FLIR sensors, CCD cameras, weapon delivery, target updates, target tracking at altitudes, air speeds and slant ranges consistent with tactical weapon delivery maneuvers.

Pakistan Air Force deputy chief Muhammad Ashfaque Arain is currently visiting France to discuss the acquisition of the Damocles pod. He has been quoted by Reuters as saying, “the Damocles is a battle- proven system and the other options are not. If we do not get the Damocles pod for example, then we will need to look for alternate options that may not be proven.”

The addition of a precision targeting pod on JF-17 will improve its mission capabilities as well as reduce the burden on F-16. Another reason why Pakistan is seeking these pods is that they are already being integrated to Russian aircraft(s) and will be produced under license in Russia. So there is a path there for JF-17 aircraft integration.

Pakistan is in the process of retiring hundreds of aging fighter aircraft in its fleet, mainly 40-year-old French-made Mirage jet and 25-year-old Chinese-made F-7s, over the next few years. Islamabad has decided to bet on the JF-17 fighter, jointly developed by China and Pakistan, rather than spending billions on fifth-generation multi-role aircraft like Dassault's Rafale, which rival India is buying, or the Russian Su-35.

India's Opposition:

If Pakistan's efforts to acquire French precision target pods make any headway, I fully expect India to mobilize opposition to any deal. India may use its purchase of additional Rafale jet as a lever to get France to end any further discussion of Damocles sale to Pakistan.

Summary:

Pakistan is currently engaged in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the world's largest anti-terror military campaign with over 180,000 ground troops and dozens of aircraft involved in it.  Pakistan's need for F-16s to fight terror is genuine, as is its desire to acquire precision targeting enhancement for JF-17s. Failure to meet Pakistan's need for precision targeting and other related equipment would hamper its ability to win the war against terror along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Spin Machine

Has Modi Stepped Up Proxy War in Pakistan?

India's Israel Envy: What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi

India's War Myths

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Pakistan Army Capabilities

Modi's Pakistan Policy

India's Israel Envy

Can India Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?



Friday, April 8, 2016

Fashion Pakistan Week 2016 in Karachi

Top fashion designers Maheen Khan, Deepak Perwani, Wardha Saleem, Obaid Shaikh, Sanam Chaudhri and others are showing their latest creations at the ongoing Pakistan Fashion Week in Karachi, Pakistan. It's being sponsored by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. In addition to domestic and foreign media, there are also several international buyers from overseas chain stores attending the show.

Here are a few pictures from the fashion show:


































Photos Couresy of Tapu Jhaveri, others.

Here's a Pakistan Pictorial:

 
Find more photos like this on PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Fashion Shows

Pakistani Village Girl Launches VC-Funded Fashion Startup in San Francisco 

Pakistan's Top Fashion Models

Pakistani Cover Girls

Life Goes On in Pakistan

Pakistan Fashion Week 2013

Karachi Fashion Week 2013

Veena Malik Challenges Pakistan's Orthodoxy 

PakAlumni-Pakistani Social Network 

Huma Abedin Weinergate

Pakistan Media Revolution

Protest Music in Pakistan

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Life Goes On in Pakistan

Pakistani Entrepreneurs Survive Economic Downturn

Silent Social Revolution in Pakistan

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hindutva Outfits Lose California Textbooks Battle

Indian RSS-backed Hindutva outfits have suffered a major setback in a decade-long war to insert their version of South Asian history in California textbooks, according to media reports.

Whitewash Of Indian History: 

After recent successes in India,  the right-wing Hindu groups are now attempting to whitewash Indian history taught in the United States. They want to see California textbooks (1) deny India's history of caste-based oppression, (2) reject separate Sikh identity,  and (3) claim India's monopoly over the Indus Valley Civilization which now belongs to areas located in Pakistan.

Akhand Bharat Map in Indian Textbooks


The latest battle saw South Asian Faculty Group that includes scholars from Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UCLA, among others, arrayed against Hindutva advocates like  Hindu American Foundation (HAF), the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies and the Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF).

South Asia Faculty Group has called for "India" be replaced with "South Asia" in some places because the Indus Valley Civilization sites are now located in Pakistan, according to Los Angeles Times.

Opposition to the right-wing Hindu groups also came from  American Dalit-led Ambedkar Association of California,  Sikh Coalition,  Indian Muslim Council, Alliance for Justice and Accountability and the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action.  Shri Ravidassia gurdwaras (places of worship) from Rio Linda, Sacramento, Fremont and Yuba City, California, also opposed the changes.

Defending the Indian caste system, DCF leader, Shiva Bajpai, calls the caste system “beneficial.” “In every society some people are at the bottom of the economic scale,” he wrote in a paper submitted to the California textbook board. “Other societies solved this problem by enslaving people; [t]he caste system actually offered many advantages.”

Non-Hindu Groups' Opposition: 

"This is not just a California issue,” says Harjit Kaur, the Sikh Coalition’s community development manager. “What happens in California will set a precedent for other states to follow. The accuracy of our history is at stake for the entire nation."

Thenmozhi Soundarajan, an organizer with the Ambedkar Association of California and Dalit History Month who opposes the changes said, "They (Hindutva groups) have already won in Virginia and Texas. A win in California would mean a change to all textbooks.”

Hindu Nationalists' Global Power: 

Right-wing Hindu groups are now increasingly flexing their muscles around the world, including the United States.

India's top Hindu Nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has gone global with shakhas (branches) in 39 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and several Islamic middle eastern nations, according to Indian media reports.

In the United States alone, the RSS has 146 active chapters spread over all 50 states, according to Satish Modh who has been associated with RSS work abroad for over 25 years.

While shakhas in India take place in open public spaces, most shakhas meet on university campuses on hired parking lots in the US, says Modh.  Most overseas shakhas are held once a week. In London, they are held twice a week. The UK has 84 shakhas.

RSS in US:

A US report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups" disclosed the following findings regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:

 a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.

c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

Summary: 

While the right-wing Hindu groups have lost this battle to alter textbooks in the United States, it is unlikely that the RSS-affiliated groups will give up this fight for long. But, for now, California’s State Board of Education is scheduled to meet on May 29, 2016 when it is expected to ratify the South Asian Faculty Group's changes opposed by Hindutva outfits.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Dalit Victims of Indian Apartheid

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Global Power of Hindutva

Indus Valley Civilization