Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Inauguration; WEF17 & Inequality in India; Killing of LeJ Chief

What tone did President Donald J. Trump set in his inauguration speech on Jan 20, 2017? Can Trump simultaneously take on the US establishment, friends and foes all at the same time? How will he browbeat US businesses to stop offshoring of manufacturing and jobs? How will he "eradicate radical Islamic terrorism" without the help of allies whose armies he says will not be "subsidized" by the United States? How's Trump's rise seen in Pakistan? Will he start trade wars with China and other countries running trade surpluses with the United States? Will he change Washington or will Washington change him?

Why is the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos so concerned about growing economic inequality? Is globalization alone responsible for it? Why is India so unequal with 58.4% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of Indians? Why have the Brexit vote and Trump victory sent shockwaves through the ranks of the owners/investors of global businesses and industries? How will they respond to the powerful backlash against globalization? How is automation affecting the jobs situation? Is it equally responsible for loss of jobs?

Why was the new Laskar e Jhangvi chief Asif Chhotu, like his predecessor Malik Ishaq, killed in a police encounter in Punjab? Was this just another fake encounter? Will it help reduce sectarian carnage in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with leading Pakistani journalist Zahid Husain and regular panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/PDANReBBSBo





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump Phenomenon

America and the Rise of ISIS

London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Election

Trump Policies

Economic Inequality in India, Pakistan

Economy and Security Situation in Pakistan

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Comparing Median Income & Wealth Data For India & Pakistan

Top 1% of Indians own 58% of wealth in India, according to a recent report by Oxfam as published by Wall Street Journal.  The report said the global average for wealth ownership of the top 1% is 51%.

Source: Oxfam



The income and wealth concentration in the hands of the richest top 1% skews the average per capita incomes and makes the material well-being of average citizen look better than it is.  The best way to measure how well or poorly an average citizen is doing is to look at the median income and wealth, not the average or mean. The median income reflects how much the person at the 50th percentile of the income distribution earns, giving us a better picture of the well-being of a “typical” individual in a given country. Similarly, median wealth represents how much wealth a person at the 50th percentile of the wealth distribution has accumulated.

Median Incomes in South Asia:

Centre for Global Development has estimated 2014 median incomes of countries around the world. Here's what it reported for India and Pakistan:

 Pakistan: Median Income per capita: $,1204.50, Median Household Income: $6,022.50 Mean (Average) per capita $4,811.31

India Rural: Median per capita $930.75 Median Household $4,653.75 Mean (Average) per capita $5,700.72

India Urban: Median per capita $1295.75 Median Household $6,478.75 Mean(Average) per capita: $5,700.72

It shows that India's urban median income is slightly higher than Pakistan's median income. However, India's rural median income is significantly lower than Pakistan's.  It should be noted that 70% of India's population lives in rural areas, much higher than Pakistan's 61%, according to the World Bank.

Using India's Census figures of 30% urban and 70% rural population, the median per capita income for all of India works out to $1,040.25, about 15.8% lower than Pakistan's median per capita income of $1,204.50.

Median Wealth in South Asia:

Average Pakistani adult is 20% richer than an average Indian adult and the median wealth of a Pakistani adult is 120% higher than that of his or her Indian counterpart, according to Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016. Average household wealth in Pakistan has grown 2.1% while it has declined 0.8% in India since the end of last year.

Source: Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016

Here are the key statistics reported by Credit Suisse:

Total Household Wealth Mid-2016 :

India $3,099 billion Pakistan $524 billion

Wealth per adult:

India Year End 2000 Average $2,036 Median $498.00

Pakistan Year End 2000 Average $2,399 Median $1,025

India Mid-2016 Average $3,835 Median $608

Pakistan Mid-2016 Average $4,595 Median $1,788

Average wealth per adult in Pakistan is $760 more than in India or about 20% higher.

Median wealth per adult in Pakistan is $1,180 more than in India or about 120% higher

Summary:

Median per capita income in Pakistan is 15.8% higher than in India, according to the World Bank PovcalNet figures. Median per capita wealth in Pakistan in Pakistan is 120% more than in India, according to Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016.  The median figures reflect the financial situation of the people at the 50th percentile of the income and wealth distributions in each country.

The income and wealth concentration in the hands of the richest top 1% skews the average per capita incomes and makes the material well-being of average citizen look better than it is.  The best way to measure how well or poorly an average citizen is doing is to look at the median income and wealth, not the average or mean. Median income and wealth figures in South Asia show that average Pakistanis are better off economically than their counterparts in India.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016

Pakistan's Middle Class Larger and Richer Than India's

Pakistan Translates GDP Growth to Citizens' Well-being

Rising Motorcycle Sales in Pakistan

Depth of Deprivation in India

Chicken vs Daal in Pakistan

China Pakistan Economic Corridor

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cemendtaur's Latest Travelogue "Ulat Dunya Kee Sair" Launched at Urdu Academy in Silicon Valley

"Ulat Dunya Kee Sair", my friend Ali Hasan Cemendtaur's latest travelogue written in Urdu, was launched on January 15, 2017 at an event organized by Urdu Academy of North America, a Silicon Valley-based group dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Urdu language in the United States and Canada. The travelogue tells the story the author's travels to the world Down Under (appropriately translated by the author in Urdu as "Ulat Dunya), specifically three southern hemisphere nations of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It is available on Amazon.com.

Riaz Haq Speaking at the Event


The event was chaired by Khwaja Ashraf sahab, a published Urdu writer in his own right, and attended by many local Urdu lovers hailing originally from South Asia. It was emceed by Arshad Rashid sahab who, along with Tashee Zaheer sahab, runs Urdu Academy.  Other presenters included Kausar Syed sahiba, Mariam Turab sahiba and Riaz Haq.   The program concluded with Ali Hasan Cemendtaur's hilarious and self-deprecating roast of his own writing that he called "Apni Gheebat".  Please follow the embedded links or search Youtube for the individual names to find and watch the presentations.

Ulat Dunya Kee Sair Book Cover


In his presentation, Riaz Haq said "the history is often referred to as "His Story", a description acknowledging the fact that the history writer's worldview influences his or her work. This reality applies to travelogues as well".

Kausar Syed Reading Excepts of Ulat Dunya Kee Sair


We are used to reading world travel accounts written by western travelers; Ali Hasan Cemendtaur's travelogues, written in English or Urdu, are rare exceptions as they get the reader to see the world through the eyes of a Pakistani traveler.

Marian Turab's Commenting on Ulat Dunya Kee Sair


"The Green Ibn Battuta",  the title of Cemendtaur's last travelogue launched last year is a tribute to Ibn Battuta, the 14th century Muslim traveler from North Africa who wrote extensively about his travels of much of the known world at the time. Ali's Ibn Battuta covers his travels starting in 1990s. The fact that Cemendtaur's access to modern transportation enabled him to to see a lot more of the world in a relatively short time than Ibn Battuta did would make the 14th century traveler green with envy; hence the title "Green Ibn Battuta".

Ali Hasan Cemendtaur's Self Roast


Ali's Pakistani-ness drove his curiosity to visit Multan Karavansarai in Baku, Azerbaijan., where he discovered old trade ties between the Pakistani city of Multan and the Central Asia region dating back to the 15th century.



Cemendtaur's Pakistani origin compelled his interest in The Caucasus (Koh Qaaf), the mountainous region 1,000 by 600 kms in size that lies between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, where Azerbaijan is located. Koh Qaaf (Caucasus mountain) is associated with many fairytales that Pakistani children have grown up with. Dastaan e Amir Hamza is an Urdu collection of fairytales from Koh Qaf that continues to fascinate Pakistanis to this day. The Caucasian label, the US official race classification for American whites, traces the origin of all white Europeans to the Caucasus region. Harvard genetic studies have confirmed that the ancestors of many Ancestral North Indians and Pakistanis came from this region.

In "Ulat Dunya Kee Sair", Cemendtaur's interest in South Asian language shows through in his impressions of the spoken in Fiji by people of South Asian origin who speak a variant of Hindi but switch to "Bollywood Hindi" when conversing with Urdu or Hindi speaking visitors.




Cemendtaur writes about dealing with what he thought was "gutter smell" in Rotorua, New Zealand, and expresses his shock that a developed nation like New Zealand could have the kind of stink more common in developing nations of South Asia n areas with open sewers.  He soon finds out that it was the smell of hydrogen sulfide emanating from sulfur-laden water from hot springs in the area.

 The author also notices that, unlike Australia where most immigrants are Chinese, the immigrants from South Asia are more visible in New Zealand.  Apparently, there are many Punjabi farmers in dairy business who have been living there since the days of the British Raj.

Cemendtaur finds a Hazara town in Sydney with many Hazara Shias from Pakistan who have fled sectarian conflict to find safety in Australia.  Upon research, he finds that human smugglers provide this service for a substantial fee by flying Hazaras to Sri Lanka,  then arranging visas to Indonesia from where they are put on boats to Australia.

Riaz Haq concluded his presentation by recommending "Ulat Dunya Kee Sair" as a well-written Urdu travelogue "filled with entertaining anecdotes and insightful observations about many exotic places and interesting cultures. It is written in an easy to read and highly engaging style that will keep you absorbed and make you finish it in one sitting once you start reading it."

The event concluded with a very self-deprecating and humorous monologue by Ali Hasan Cemendtaur that reminded the audience of Zia Mohyeddin's reading of Mushtaq Yusufi's work.

Here are a couple of video clips of the event:

https://youtu.be/PQDyq3Q6rKc





https://youtu.be/d7nylUVYad0





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

My Footloose Friend Ali Cemendtaur

Silicon Valley NEDians

Silicon Valley Pakistanis

Silicon Valley Launch of Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb

Explosion of Art and Culture in Pakistan

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Indian Soldiers' Morale; Trump Intel Briefing; Missing Pak Activists; Pakistan 2nd Strike Capability

Why are Indian soldiers publicly speaking out against poor food and airing other grievances on social media? How is India's massive defense budget spent? Why do Indian soldiers lives are almost a decade shorter than their civilian counterparts? Why is the suicide rate high in the Indian military? Is it due to high stress levels from long deployments in areas such as Kashmir where they face hostile civilian populations?

Indian Soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav with his food
Why is President-Elect Donald Trump discrediting the US intelligence agencies he will soon inherit? What compromising (Kompromat) information did the Russian intelligence service allegedly collect on President-Elect Trump during his visits to Moscow? Why are Trump's cabinet nominees breaking with major policies and key views expressed by Candidate Trump during the election campaign? Are they the voice of the "Deep State" in their rejection of Trump's radical departure from established US policies on national security and other matters?

Why have several Pakistani social media activists gone missing in Pakistan? What did they do? Who picked them up and why? Why have other critics not met the same fate? What redlines did they cross?

What is the significance of Pakistan's nuclear second strike capability demonstrated by test firing Babar 3 cruise missile from a submarine in the Indian ocean last week? How will it deter a potential massive nuclear attack on Pakistan's land-based nukes? Does it raise or lower risks of a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.

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


https://youtu.be/sAyp8QkKWlk





https://vimeo.com/199619675


Indian Soldiers' Morale; Trump Intel Briefing; Missing Pak Activists; Pak 2nd Strike Test from Ikolachi on Vimeo.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

India War Budget 3rd Biggest in the World

Trump Appointments

Pakistan Social Media Activists

Pakistan's 2nd Strike Capability and Nuclear Triad

Major Navdeep Singh on Suicides in Indian Army

Major General S.G. Vombatkere: Babu Hatao Fauj Bachao

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Altaba: Is Yahoo Plagiarizing the Name of a Pakistani Company?

Altaba, the new name for Yahoo after its deal with Verizon, is currently the name of a Pakistan-based company spelled as Al-Taba, according to the New York Times. Is this plagiarism?

Not only is the new Altaba a much bigger company than Al-Taba, the two companies operate in totally different industries: The Pakistani company manufactures surgical and beauty scissors.

The new name for what will remain of Yahoo is a combination of words “alternative and Alibaba,” according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity  to the Washington Post.  After the rest of the company is purchased by Verizon for under $5 billion, Altaba's biggest  remaining asset will be its 15% stake worth $35 billion in the Chinese company Alibaba.  In addition, Altaba will also own 35.5% of Yahoo Japan.



As to the Pakistani company Al-Taba, its website describes it as "one of the largest private manufacturers and exporter of vast rang (sic) of Instruments.  It adds that "we specialized (sic) in Manufacturing Quality Medical Surgical Scissors and Beauty Scissors. It comprises of an integrated manufacturing facility, employing skilled craftsmen to produce broad range of professional Instruments".

It's sad to see Yahoo's demise. Started at Stanford University in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, the company is the pioneer of the web with an illustrious history in Silicon Valley. Yahoo enabled millions and billions of users to search the web for a variety of content and use its many services including e-mail, shopping and Yahoo groups. It will be missed.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

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 


Sunday, January 8, 2017

RIP Om Puri; Russian Influence on US Elections; PanamaGate Hearings; Modi Demonetization

What is Om Puri's Legacy? Will he be remembered first and foremost as an accomplished actor? Or as a vocal peace activist pushing for better India-Pakistan ties through greater cultural contacts? Why was he so viciously attacked by right-wing Indian media? And mightily harassed by Hindu Nationalist trolls on social media? Did the mounting stress from these actions contribute to his death?

Om Puri

Is the US intelligence report on Russian campaign to influence US elections convincing? Did Donald Trump win because of the Russian disinformation campaign against Hillary Clinton? Why did US DNI Gen Clapper say "people living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"? Was he referring to covert American campaigns to influence elections in other countries?

Why is the Sharif family having so much difficulty documenting the money trail in the Panama case hearing in Pakistan Supreme Court? Was it because the money to buy London Mayfair flats did not come from legitimate sources? Who has the burden of proof in the case? The accusers (PTI) or the accused (Nawaz Sharif and family)? Can the Supreme Court judges reverse the burden of proof in money laundering cases in Pakistan?

Has Modi Demonetization been a disaster? What does the latest data show? Why did FMCG and motorcycle sales decline in November? Was it the impact of sudden demonetization of 86% of the currency in circulation? What will be its impact on India's GDP?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these question with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com).

https://youtu.be/efv9yrLuANg





https://vimeo.com/198626585


RIP Om Puri; Russian Influence on US Elections; PanamaGate Hearings; Modi Demonetization from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Hinduization of India Under Modi

India Media's Malice Toward Pakistan

Bollywood Eyes Pakistan Market

Impact of Trump's Appointments on US Policy

Planted Stories in Media

Pakistan PanamaGate

India's Demonetization Disaster

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Does America Share Responsibility For the Rise of ISIS?

Did the Obama administration enable ISIS, also known as Daesh, to unleash its reign of terror in Iraq and Syria? Have the policies of successive prior US administrations contributed to rising wave of global terrorism today? Is the American filmmaker Oliver Stone right when he says "we are not under threat. We are the threat"? Let's examine answers to these questions in light of available facts and evidence.

US Support for ISIS:

A recently declassified DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) document of August 2012 said that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI (Al- Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” being supported by “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey.”

The document DIA declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), analyzed the situation in Syria in the summer of 2012 and predicted: “If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

In an interview with Mehdi Hasan of Al Jazeera, former head of DIA and President-elect Donald Trump's National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn confirmed that it was a "willful decision" of the Obama White House to transfer arms to the Salafists and Al Qaeda in 2012 to defeat the Assad regime in Syria. Here's what General Flynn told Mehdi Hasan:

"I don’t know if they turned a blind eye. I think it was a decision (US arms transfers to Salafis and Al Qaeda fighting in Syria in 2012). I think it was a willful decision....Well, a willful decision to do what they're doing, which, which you have to really – you have to really ask the President (Obama), what is it that he actually is doing with the, with the policy that is in place, because it is very, very confusing? I’m sitting here today, Mehdi, and I don’t, I can’t tell you exactly what that is, and I've been at this for a long time. ...I think it was a strategic mistake. I think history will not be kind. It was a strategic mistake"

Here's a video clip of General Michael Flynn's Aljazeera interview with Mehdi Hasan:

https://youtu.be/i0_BEPfYk4A






US Role in Iraq:

In an interview with Vice News, President Barack H. Obama acknowledged that the rise of ISIS was directly linked to the 2002 American invasion and occupation of Iraq during President George W. Bush's administration.

 “Two things: One is, ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion,” Obama said in an interview with VICE News. “Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”

More recently, the CIA agent John Nixon who interrogated Saddam Husain has revealed that the former Iraqi dictator had predicted the rise of ISIS... a prediction that has turned out to be accurate. Here's what he told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now in a interview:

"When people ask me, you know, "Was it worth taking him out of power?" I say, "You know, look around you. Show me something that is positive that happened." Iraq, right now, is a country that has 2 million displaced people. Parts of its territory are held by ISIS. You have a dysfunctional government that is probably more corrupt than Saddam’s government was. And if ask the average Iraqi—Sunni, Shia or Kurd—you know, "Were things better back then? Were services better? Did the government do more for you?" I think they would say yes. I can’t find one thing. And if you said, "Well, maybe, what about the Kurds? They’re almost independent now," that was happening already. I can’t find one thing positive that came out of his removal from power". 



US Role in Afghan Soviet War:

In an earlier testimony to the US Congress, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said very candidly that "the terrorists we are fighting today we funded 20 years ago".  Here's what she said:

"We also have a history of kinda moving in and out of Pakistan.....Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… we said let’s go recruit these mujahideen. .....And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.  And guess what, they (Soviets) retreated....it led to the fall of the Soviet Union.... It wasn't a bad investment....But let's be careful what we sow because we will harvest....we then left Pakistan. Now you deal with the stingers...you deal with the mines....we don't have anything to do with you...in fact we are sanctioning you...  ”

Here's a video clip of Ex US Sec of State Hillary Clinton's testimony:

https://youtu.be/XY-BWScpdZw



Summary:

All the evidence suggests that the US policies have significantly contributed to the growth of global terror. I hope the West, particularly the United States as its leaders, will introspect about the West's actions in the Middle East in the past and the dangerous consequences of such actions the world faces today.  I hope the leaders of the West will ponder the unintended consequences before starting more overt or covert wars in the region.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

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


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pakistan in 2016: Economy, Security & Relations With India, US

How was the year 2016 for Pakistan? What can Pakistan expect in 2017?

Did Pakistan’s internal security improve in 2016? If do, how? And by how much? How was it done? By Zarb e Azb military operation? Did Pakistan implement the National Action Plan to address extremism and radicalization in society?

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal

How did Pakistan’s economy do? And how did the stock market do? Did improved security help? Did China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) investments help boost investor confidence in the country?

Source: Bloomberg



What caused deterioration in India-Pakistan ties? Was it the murder of Burhan Wani and India’s attempt to blame it on “cross-border terrorism” from Pakistan? Did Indian PM Modi succeed in isolating Pakistan?

How will Obama’s exit and Trump’s presidency affect US-Pakistan relations? Will these be as bad as under Obama? Or better? Or worse under Trump? How will Pakistan’s close ties with China and warming relations with Russia play into this?

Did the Obama administration initially condoned the rise of ISIS  in Syria as claimed by President-elect Donal Trump's national security advisor General Michael Flynn in an interview with Mehdi Hasan of Aljazeera? Will Russia-Turkey-Iran succeed in bringing peace to Syria?

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

https://youtu.be/87m_t7D8ftY





https://vimeo.com/197727259




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan KSE100 Stock Index Among World's Top Performers

Obama's Parting Shot: New Sanctions on Pakistan NESCOM

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

Is Modi Succeeding in Isolating Pakistan? 

China Pakistan Economic Corridor: 2 Million New Jobs

Impact of Trump Appointments on US Policy

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

Did the West Sow the Seeds of ISIS in Iraq and Syria?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pakistan Stock Market is the World's Best Performer Over 1 Year & 5 Years

Pakistan's KSE100 (Karachi Stock Exchange 100) index closed the year 2016 as the world's best performing stock market index over one-year and five-year periods, according to data available from Bloomberg. It has not only outperformed India's Sensex index but also the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets index.

Source: Bloomberg


Pakistan's key index KSE-100 has rocketed up nearly 46% in 2016, far outpacing India's Sensex's 2.57% rise and MSCI emerging market's 8.42% increase. Similarly, over 5 year period, KSE-100 has soared 321% vs India's Sensex rise of 72% and Morgan Stanley emerging market index decline of 7.72%.

Source: Bloomberg


Pakistani stock market gains are driven by multiple factors. Dramatically improved security has brought investors and accelerated the nation's GDP growth. Adding to that is the optimism accompanying Morgan Stanley's decision to bring Pakistan back into its emerging market index that has spurred more buying by foreign index fund managers.

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal
Other major indicators such as rising cement and energy consumption as well as growing sales of motorcycle and automobiles. A big driver of these improvements is the Chinese commitment of more than $50 billion to finance China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is expected to add over 2 million direct and indirect jobs to Pakistan's economy and boost the country's GDP growth rate to 7.5%.  If all goes well and on schedule, of the 21 agreements on energy– including gas, coal and solar energy– 14 will be able to provide up to 10,400 megawatts (MW) of energy by March 2018. According to China Daily, these projects would provide up to 16,400 MW of energy altogether. In addition, there will be roads, rail tracks and oil and gas pipelines stretching thousands kilometers to connect Pakistan's Arabian sea ports to landlocked Western China.

After years of underinvestment and slow growth, Pakistan is finally seeing a lot of investment and development activity.  Pakistan's economic recovery is in full swing with double digit growth in multiple industries, including auto, pharma, chemicals, cement, fertilizers, minerals, etc.  It is expected to pick up steam over the next several years with new investments on the back of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related projects. The challenges to sustain this growth ranging are many, among the biggest are continuous improvement in security, maintaining political stability and timely execution of projects.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Investors Undeterred By Modi's Threats to Isolate Pakistan

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Forecast

Growing Middle Class in Pakistan

Rising Energy Consumption

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan's Thar Desert Sees Development Boom

Gwadar vs Chabahar Ports


Obama's Parting Shot Against Pakistan

The outgoing administration of lame-duck President Barack Obama has ordered sanctions against seven Pakistani entities for "acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States".

This parting shot by Obama confirms his legacy as an American chief executive most hostile toward the United States' cold war ally Pakistan.

The United States Federal Register has listed the following Pakistani entities on its sanctions list: National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM); three NESCOM subsidiaries: Air Weapons Complex (AWC), Maritime Technology Complex (MTC) and New Auto Engineering (NAE); and Universal Tooling Services. The sanctioned entities are involved in developing missiles and related systems for Pakistani military.

Salala Incident:

Prior to the latest Obama sanctions announcement, the Obama years have seen US-Pakistan relations sink to an all-time low in 2011 when the United States refused to apologize after the US troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in an attack on two border posts on Pak-Afghan border. Pakistan responded by cutting off supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan. These supply routes were reopened only after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized to Pakistan in July 2012.

Pivot to Asia:

As part of the US "pivot to Asia" policy to counter China's rise, President Obama also courted India at the expense of America's cold war ally Pakistan. Mr. Obama visited India twice and never once visited Pakistan during his two terms. The US signed multiple agreements with India, including a nuclear deal and a military logistics deal. At the same time, the United States has pushed for India's inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group while keeping Pakistan out.

Pakistan-China Ties:

With growing distance from the United States, Pakistan has forged closer ties with China culminating in a massive $55 billion Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). If all goes well and on schedule, of the 21 CPEC-related agreements on energy– including gas, coal and solar energy– 14 will be able to provide up to 10,400 megawatts (MW) of energy by March 2018. According to China Daily, these projects would provide up to 16,400 MW of energy altogether. In addition, there will be a network of roads, rail-links and pipeline stretching several thousand kilometers from Pakistani ports on the Arabian Sea to landlocked Western China.

China-Pakistan defense cooperation is also growing with continuing collaboration on development of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and Pakistan Navy modernization with the addition of nuclear-capable custom AIP submarines.

Pakistan-Russia Ties:

Pakistan ties with its cold war foe Russia have also warmed up. Russia has agreed to invest in building a gas pipeline in Pakistan. Russia has also lifted its arms embargo and agreed to sell attack helicopters to Pakistani military.  The two countries had first-ever joint military exercises in 2016. Recently, Pakistan, China and Russia held a trilateral meeting in Moscow on Afghanistan.

US-Pakistan Ties Under Trump:

Going by President-elect Donald Trump's initial friendly call with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in December 2016, it seems that the US-Pakistan ties are likely to be better, not worse what we have seen in the last 8 years with Washington-Islamabad relations sinking to a new low.

Summary:

President Obama's two terms in office have seen the cooling of US-Pakistan ties.  In the same period, Pakistan has further cemented its close relations with China and warmed up ties with its cold war foe Russia. Will US-Pakistan ties warm up again under President Trump? Only time will tell.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-Japan-US

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Is Modi Isolating Pakistan?

Salala Incident Soured US-Pakistan Ties

China-Pakistan Defense Collaboration Irks West

Are Russia and Iran Supporting Afghan Taliban?

Pakistan 2nd Strike Capability

Pakistan Navy Modernization