Monday, January 26, 2015

Revolution in Military Affairs: Cyberweapons, Robots and Communications in South Asia

How is increasing use of technology transforming modern warfare?

What will be the impact of widespread deployment of cyberweapons like Stuxnet worm used by the United Sates to cause extensively physical destruction of Iran's nuclear centrifuges? Will such weapons be used to destroy critical infrastructure of telecommunications, water and power and the economy of the enemy?

Will the boots on the ground be replaced by bots on the ground, in the air and on the water in the future? How autonomous will such bots be? How will the armed drones distinguish between combatants and non-combatants in war?

Will bio-hacking lead to new extremely lethal biological agents developed and deployed by terrorists and rogue individuals and nations?

How is the information technology changing the battlefield awareness with more effective command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I)?

Are India and Pakistan modernizing their militaries for technology-based warfare?

What are the key ethical issues raised by high-tech warfare? Will it make it easier for nations with advanced technology to start wars with impunity?

Capacity For Revolution in Military Affairs Source:  Laird & Mey 1999


Vision 2047 host Farrukh Shah Khan discusses these questions with Riaz Haq in the following video:

http://vimeo.com/117678020




Vision 2047: Impact of Revolution in Military Affairs on South Asia from WBT TV on Vimeo.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fo3yh_how-will-technology-change-warfare-in-south-asia_tech



How Will Technology Change Warfare in South Asia- by faizanmaqsood1010
As to the potential cyber component of any future wars between India and Pakistan, its dramatic impact could reverberate across the globe as the computers used in South Asia for outsourced work from the United States and Europe come under crippling attacks from hackers on both sides. Here is how Robert X. Cringeley describes it in a June 2009 blog post captioned "Collateral Damage":

"Forget for the moment about data incursions within the DC beltway, what happens when Pakistan takes down the Internet in India? Here we have technologically sophisticated regional rivals who have gone to war periodically for six decades. There will be more wars between these two. And to think that Pakistan or India are incapable or unlikely to take such action against the Internet is simply naive. The next time these two nations fight YOU KNOW there will be a cyber component to that war.

And with what effect on the U.S.? It will go far beyond nuking customer support for nearly every bank and PC company, though that’s sure to happen. A strategic component of any such attack would be to hobble tech services in both economies by destroying source code repositories. And an interesting aspect of destroying such repositories — in Third World countries OR in the U.S. — is that the logical bet is to destroy them all without regard to what they contain, which for the most part negates any effort to obscure those contents."


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Defense Production Goes High-Tech

Drones Outrage and Inspire Pakistanis

RMA Status in Pakistan

Cyber Wars in South Asia

Pakistan's Biggest Ever Arms Bazar

Genomics and Biotech Advances in Pakistan

India's Israel Envy: What if Modi Attacks Pakistan

Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Impact of Industrial Revolution on China and South Asia

The Industrial Revolution marked the beginning of a major shift in economic, military and political power from East to West.


  A research letter written by Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JP Morgan, and published in the Atlantic Magazine shows how dramatic this economic power shift has been. The size of a nation's GDP depended on the size of its population and labor force in agrarian economies prior to the Industrial era.  With the advent of  the Industrial revolution, the use of machines relying on energy from fossil fuels dramatically enhanced labor productivity in the West and shifted the balance of power from Asia to America and Europe.

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

http://vimeo.com/117657383



Vision 2047: Political Revolutions and South Asia from WBT TV on Vimeo.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fh1sf_major-east-west-power-shift-since-industrial-revolution_news



Major East-West Power Shift Since Industrial... by faizanmaqsood1010
Here's a video of a BBC documentary about Al Andalusia or Muslim Spain:

 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Was India Ever Rich? 

Pakistan Military Industrial Revolution

China's Checkbook Diplomacy

Education Attainment in South Asia

Pakistan Needs Comprehensive Energy Policy

Social Media Growth in Pakistan

Is America Young and Barbaric?

Godfather Metaphor for Uncle Sam

Friday, January 23, 2015

Obama's India Visit; Iran-Saudi Proxy War; Pakistan Fuel Crisis

What is President Barack Husain Obama's India Visit Agenda? Will India-Pakistan tensions and Afghanistan be at the top of the agenda? Will it lead to improved cooperation in South Asia? 

Is Iran behind the Yemen crisis? Will it intensify Saudi-Iranian proxy war in the Middle East? How will the death of Saudi King Abdullah affect it? How will it impact Pakistan? 



Has the fuel crisis in Pakistan further weakened Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's PMLN government? How will PTI and Imran Khan benefit from it?

ViewPoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these and other issues with panelists Ali H CemendtaurMisbah Azam (politicsinpakistan.com) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

http://vimeo.com/117558293



Obama's India Visit; Iran-Saudi Proxy War; Pakistan Fuel Crisis from WBT TV on Vimeo.

http://youtu.be/X6eIXyUNcrM





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Kerry-Modi Meeting

India Financing Terror in Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif's Poor Governance

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

State Bank: Pakistan's Actual GDP Higher Than Official Figures Show

"In terms of LSM growth, a number of sectors that are showing strong performance; (for example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector; plastic products; buses and trucks; and even textiles), are either under reported, or not even covered. The omission of such important sectors from official data coverage, probably explains the apparent disconnect between overall economic activity in the country and the hard numbers in LSM." State Bank of Pakistan Annual Report 2014
Economists have long argued that Pakistan's official GDP figures significantly understate real economic activity in terms of both production and consumption.


M. Ali Kemal and Ahmed Waqar Qasim, economists at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE),  explored several published different approaches for sizing Pakistan's underground economy and settled on a combination of  PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) consumption data  and mis-invoicing of exports and imports to conclude that the country's "informal economy was 91% of the formal economy in 2007-08". 

And now the State Bank of Pakistan has focused on the production side of the economy in its annual report for Fiscal Year 2014. The nation's central bankers have singled out the economic activity in large scale manufacturing sector as their focus in the latest report.  They say that the existing LSM (Large Scale Manufacturing) index was based on Census of Manufacturing Industries (CMI) that was conducted in 2006 which included only those sectors which had significant value addition to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the time of census. 


In the years since 2006 CMI (Census of Manufacturing Industries) census, Pakistan has seen a significant expansion of its middle class along with rapidly growing consumer demand in sectors such as processed foods and fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCG).  It's one of several major new sectors whose growth is not reflected in the official GDP figures. 



Pakistan's Processed Foods and FMCG Sector Source: BMA Capital


According to a report by analysts at Pakistan's Topline Securities that examined 25 consumer firms in various sectors, the 2012 sales of the FMCG firms increased by 17% to Rs. 334 billion while profits grew by 40% to Rs. 24 billion. In the five years between 2008 and 2012, sales of these companies showed a compounded average growth rate (CAGR) of 18%, while profits grew at a CAGR of 20%.


Engro Foods, a star performer in the sector, reported 191% increase in profit in 2012 alone, led by the dairy and beverages segment. Other players such as Nestle, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, have also seen explosive growth with many new plants in production to meet demand. The growth in this sector is not reflected in the LSM component of GDP. 

Another key area in large-scale manufacturing is plastics industry. Pakistan Plastic Manufacturing Association says there are 6,000 units operating in the country, employing  600,000 people. This sector is producing a broad range of products from household items, industrial containers, medical and surgical items, auto parts, stationery items and PVC pipes. Yet they are not covered in LSM.

The SBP report further explained that the LSM data was not being reported in Pakistan in accordance with the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) of United Nations Statistics Division’s defined 22 broad categories of manufacturing.  The reporting of LSM is limited to only 15 sectors identified by the ISIC while data pertaining to manufactures of apparels, publishing, printing products and recorded media, fabricated metal products (except machinery and equipment), office and accounting machinery and computers, medical precision and optical instruments and recycling of metal and non-metal waste scrap, is not included as part of Pakistan’s LSM.

Pakistan has changed a lot since 2006 in terms of economy and demographics. The World Bank moved Pakistan from a low-income to middle-income country in 2007. Pakistan is much more urbanized and more middle class now than it was in 2006. Pakistan's large scale manufacturing (LSM) sector  has changed to respond to meet the rising new product demands of the country's growing middle class consumers. Its time for Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to conduct a new manufacturing census and Pakistan Census Bureau to do a population census to paint a more accurate picture of the country's demographics and economy now.  


Related Links:


Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Growing Middle Class

Pakistan's GDP Grossly Under-estimated; Shares Highly Undervalued

Fast Moving Consumer Goods Sector in Pakistan

3G-4G Roll-out in Pakistan







Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kerry Challenges Modi with "Hard Evidence" of India's Covert War in Pakistan

US Secretary of State John Kerry did not openly acknowledge it in pubic but he took Modi to the woodshed with "hard evidence" of India's continuing support of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its chief Mullah Fazlullah currently sheltered in Afghanistan.  The US has since put Mullah Fazlullah on its most wanted terrorist list.


A report in Daily Mail News filed by Christina Palmer and Anjali Sharma quotes an unnamed inside source as saying: “The atmosphere in the room after Kerry and Modi had lunch together, changed when Premier Modi very blatantly stated that he and his government so shocked to hear about the Peshawar School Terror that the schools and both the houses of the Parliament observed moment of silence to mourn the Peshawar School Terror and thus there could be no Indian hand involved in it.” In response, the sources say, Americans "got furious and showed some hard evidences of Mulla Fazalulla and RAW nexus in Afghanistan to influx terror in Pakistan. The American side took the Indian side quite aggressively and also snubbed Modi over the highly objectionable role of his National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval ".

The reports adds: "Modi and his team were grilled over the admissions of Ajit Doval of funding and utilizing TTP terrorists to destabilize Pakistan and Modi was asked to tame Doval and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) both in this direction. Modi was told to end India’s patronization of Mulla Fazalulla in Afghanistan and it was made it clear to Modi and his team that the US was about to place Mulla Fazalulla on list of global terrorists and an Indian pampering of him would jeopardize the US-India relations and can also have its implications on the upcoming visit of the US President to India".

A post titled "Has Modi India Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?" posted on December 22, 2014 has been picked up  and widely covered by mainstream Pakistani media in the last few weeks. It's reproduced below for those who missed it:

"India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan".  US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel should know what he's talking about when it comes to intelligence. He served on the US Senate Intelligence Committee before he became the Pentagon chief.


How does India "finance problems" in Pakistan? Here are some of the ways it does so:

1. India's intelligence agency RAW uses its long and deep ties with the Afghan Intelligence KhAD (Khadamat-e Aetela'at-e Dawlati, also known as the National Directorate) staffed by openly anti-Pakistan agents who are known to support the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).  There are reports that the current TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah is being protected by KhAD agents in Afghanistan. Last year, US troops snatched former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehusd's deputy Latifullah Mesud  from Afghan intelligence agents. Apparently, Latifullah had been traveling back and forth across the Pak-Afghan border to coordinate attacks inPakistan with the Afghan agents.

2.  Before writing and promoting an anti-Pakistan book in India, American analyst and author Christine Fair said this in 2009: "Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan". Prominent Pakistani Baloch insurgents like Brahamdagh Bugti are also being sheltered by the Afghan security and intelligence establishment along with RAW.

3.  Another US analyst Laura Rozen explained India-Taliban nexus as follows: "While the U.S. media has frequently reported on Pakistani ties to jihadi elements launching attacks in Afghanistan, it has less often mentioned that India supports insurgent forces attacking Pakistan, the former (US) intelligence official said. "The Indians are up to their necks in supporting the Taliban against the Pakistani government in Afghanistan and Pakistan," the former (US) intelligence official who served in both countries said. "The same anti-Pakistani forces in Afghanistan also shooting at American soldiers are getting support from India. India should close its diplomatic establishments in Afghanistan and get the Christ out of there."

There are signs that India has stepped up its covert war against Pakistan since the election of the Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi. The first sign is the appointment of an anti-Pakistan hawk Ajit Doval as Modi's National Security Advisor. As a key part of his long service to India's intelligence establishment, Doval says he served as an undercover RAW agent in Pakistan for seven years.

Given all the circumstantial evidence of Indian support of Baloch insurgents' and TTP's war against Pakistan,  the Pakistani security and intelligence establishment can not rely on counterinsurgency operations like ZarbeAzb alone to stop the civilian carnage on Pakistani streets and schools. The overall counterinsurgency strategy must include serious efforts to cut off support and funding for the TTP and the Baloch insurgents from both domestic and external sources, and disruption of the Indian intelligence network operating against Pakistan from Afghanistan. It will require superior intelligence and significant counter-intelligence operations, as well as an effective narrative and powerful diplomatic offensive to put pressure on India to stop its covert war being waged on Pakistani soil.

Here are a couple of video discussion on the subject of terrorism:

http://vimeo.com/117028741


Paris Massacre; Kerry-Modi Meeting; TTP's Fazlullah on US Terror List; Anti-Imran Protest from WBT TV on Vimeo.


http://vimeo.com/115381071


India's Role in Pakistan Terror; Pakistan's National Narrative: Quaid-e-Azam's Vision from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Here's US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talking about "India financing problems in Pakistan":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNeKnMbAm8c

 


Here are video clips of Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval talking about his 7 years undercover for RAW in Pakistan:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2c33oq_i-lived-in-pakistan-for-7-years-as-spy-ajit-doval-ex-intelligence-officer-now-national-security-advi_news

 
I lived in Pakistan for 7 Years as Spy - Ajit... by zemtv

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diQu_wPeIeI




Here's Ajit Kumar Doval explaining India's "defensive offense" strategy against Pakistan: ((Key statement toward the end: Pay the (Taliban) terrorists 1.5 times the funding they are getting to buy them out. They are mercenaries)

http://dai.ly/x2cq6ov



How to tackle Pakistan by Ajit Doval [India... by emran-caan

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Political and Military Policy Response to Peshawar Attack

Taliban or RAW-liban?

Counter-insurgencyOperation ZarbeAzb

India's Abiding Hostility Toward Pakistan 

India's Israel Envy: Will Modi Attack Pakistan?

Who Killed Karkare?

CFR's View of the Taliban

India's Covert War in Pakistan

India and Balochistan

Obama's New Regional Strategy

Webchat On Obama's New Regional Strategy

Obama's Afghan Exit Strategy



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3G-4G Rollout, Data Services Boom in Pakistan

Mobile service operators enjoyed 24% jump in data revenue in fiscal year 2013-14 ended in June. Meanwhile, Pakistanis signed up for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services at a rate of one million per month over the last five months.


The data revenues of mobile phone service operators reached Rs. 47 billion during the year under review, 47.4% year-over-year growth. “This is a healthy sign in the wake of 3G and 4G services in the country and shows that the use of internet and data services on the cellular mobile has been increasing,” according to a recent Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) report.

As of June 30, 2014 data revenues account for 19.3% of the telecom sector’s overall revenue, up from 16.4% at the end of FY13 – the number for cellular segment, too, increased from 7.3% to 10.1%.

The increased use of social media messaging apps negatively impacted text messaging growth as the SMS volume declined to 301.7 billion during FY2014, down 4% compared to 315.7 billion in 2013. The average monthly SMS per subscriber volume was down to 180 in FY14 compared to 214 of FY13.

PTA reported that each cellular subscriber in the country has 2.17 SIMs on average, which translates to an actual monthly ARPU (per user revenue) of Rs 432.

Mobile broadband roll-out and double-digit growth in data revenue are expected to enable a whole new Internet-based economy with growth of mobile apps from social media, education, health care,  entertainment, financial services and e-commerce to government services in Pakistan.

Related Links:












Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Am Not Charlie; I Am Ahmed

Ahmed Merabet was a French Muslim police officer who died defending the people at Charlie Hebdo who mocked his prophet and his religion.  He was a real hero. He stood for the rule-of-law and against vigilante justice imposed by the terrorists who attacked and killed a dozen people at Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris, France. So I honor him by saying "I am Ahmed" (Je Suis Ahmed).

French Police Officer Ahmed Merabet
As I condemn the terrorist attack and honor Ahmed's memory, I must also say why "I am not Charlie" (Je ne suis pas Charlie).  Here are my reasons:

1. While I  strongly condemn the terror attack and sympathize with the families of those killed at Charlie Hebdo's office, I do not lionize satirists who"punch down" rather than "punch up", to borrow from Daily Beast's Arthur Chu.  The whole idea of satire is to challenge those in positions of power and authority rather than the underdogs like the poor French Muslims who make up 60 to 70 percent of the prison population despite being less than 10 percent of the population overall.

2.  People who defend Charlie Hebdo as an "equal opportunity offender" are just plain wrong.  There was at least one instance where Charlie apologized for a satirical piece and fired  Sine (Maurice Sinet) the cartoonist for an "anti-Semitic" caricature of Ms. Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish wife of President Nicholas Sarkozy's son Jean Sarkozy.

3. France's commitment to civil liberties is selective. While it is strongly invoked as absolute when Charlie mocks Islam and its prophet, it does not extend to Muslim women's right to choose what they wear. The French law against “religious symbols in public spaces” is specifically enforced to target Muslim women who wear hijab.



Negative stereotyping of Prophet Mohammad has been the preoccupation of generations of Western writers from the time of the Crusades to the present day. Among those who have engaged in highly offensive portrayal of Islam's prophet are Italian poet-philosopher Dante Aligheri (1265-1321), Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos (1325-1450) and European "Enlightenment" leader Fran├žois-Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1778). More recently, there have been attempts by Salman Rushdie (Satanic Verses), Kurt Westergaard (Danish Jyllands-Posten cartoons), Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (Innocence of Muslims)  and Charlie Hebdo to ridicule Muslims' most revered leader.

While I strongly condemn the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo and the loss of a dozen lives in Paris, let me remind everyone that Europe has a long history of mocking Islam and its prophet. It is well documented in "Muhammad in Europe" by Minou Reeves which covers everything from Dante's Inferno to Voltaire's Mahomet. What has changed now is that the  emergence of the new Internet-based social media has made such anti-Muslim bigotry much more commerce-oriented and accessible to a global audience.

As we fight the menace of global terror perpetrated in the name of religion, we must also address the genuine issues of racism and rising anti-Muslim bigotry in Europe.  This will require thought leaders on both sides to find common ground for a serious and sustained inter-faith and inter-racial dialog to end the threat of violence.

Here's a video discussion on the subject of terrorism:

http://vimeo.com/117028741


Paris Massacre; Kerry-Modi Meeting; TTP's Fazlullah on US Terror List; Anti-Imran Protest from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Here's a related video discussion:

http://youtu.be/2TiBpi-jUPw





http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2egwxz_viewpoint-from-overseas-violent-protest-on-youm-e-rasool_news



Viewpoint from Overseas - Violent protest on... by faizanmaqsood1010

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Globalization of Hate Speech

The Prophet I Know

Misaq e Madina Inspired Quaid e Azam MA Jinnah

Growing Intolerance in Pakistan

Exposing Congressman King's Hypocrisy

FBI Entrapping Young Muslims

Fighting Agents of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslim Scholars Must Fight Hate in Pakistan

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Pakistan Must Defeat Agents of Intolerance 

Celebrating Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Birthday

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mumbai Attack Confession: Rare "Jihadi" Invokes "Bhagwan"

I recently had the opportunity to view the "confession video" of a man alleged to  be Ajmal Kassab. Kassab was reported to be a young Pakistani from Southern Punjab and the lone survivor of Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008. These videos are said to have been made the same day the accused was captured after the attacks.

Maharashtra Ex-IG Mushrif on Terror in India

I am sharing the "confession video" with my readers with the following questions:

1. When you hear the soundtrack of this video, does this man sound like a person born and raised in the town of Faridkot in Okara District of Pakistan's Punjab province? This question is particularly addressed to people of Pakistani Punjab who are familiar with the local accents.

2. Have you ever heard of a "jihadi" seeking "Bhagwan's forgiveness" (at 3:07 min in Dailymotion  video clip below) as the man in the "confession video" does?

3. Were these two above questions raised during the trial by the defense attorney assigned to defend Kassab?

4. If you were on a jury called to hear evidence in this case, would you find the man in the video alleged  to be "Ajmal Kassab" guilty beyond reasonable doubt?

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1qeiyg_mumbai-attacker-ajmal-kasab-pleading-bhagwan-indian-drama-exposed-bigtime-youtube1_news


Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab pleading BHAGWAN... by dm_5104247d12be4


http://youtu.be/naX7lV3neX0



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Terror in India: Who Killed Karkare? 

Mumbai Attack Transcripts

Arundhati Roy on Mumbai

Bangla Connection in Mumbai

Modi's Covert War on Pakistan

Solving the Mumbai Attack Puzzle 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pakistan's Year 2014 Review

I wish all my readers a very happy new year!

Pakistan's year 2014 saw major anti-terror actions by the military against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in their safe haven of North Waziristan and elsewhere in the country. The year-end massacre of children at a Peshawar school further galvanized the nation against terrorism. Pakistan Tehrike-e-Insaf's political rallies against the government drew huge turn-out  of young urban middle-class Pakistanis. Pakistani economy showed clear signs of improving confidence with 3G-4G mobile broadband roll-out, Chinese investment commitments and booming stock market.  Key challenges are successful execution of anti-terror campaign and energy-infrastructure projects.  Here are some the major highlights and lowlights of the year 2014 in Pakistan:


Highlights:

1. Outrage against the killing of 130 school children in Peshawar helped galvanize Pakistanis to fight terrorism. 

2. Civilian casualties from terrorism in Pakistan  significantly declined from 3001 in 2013 to 1774 in 2014, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal. Biggest drop occurred since OP Zarb e Azb started 15 June 2014 after the terrorist attack on Karachi Airport.

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal


3. President Ashraf Ghani's election and policies helped improve Afghan-Pakistan ties, just in time for the US military pull-out from the region. 

4. Deal signed for $45.6 billion to build Pak-China industrial corridor. It has the potential to set new FDI records and solve Pakistan's energy crisis and spar new wave of industrialization in special economic zones.

5. 3G-4G rollout and growth of smartphones helped increase access to Internet as subscribers signed up at a rate of a million a month to hit the 5 million mark in 5 months since the launch. High-tech startup ecosystem took shape with several successful startups in e-commerce, smartphone apps space, gaming, etc. Several VC deals closed. A dozen e-commerce startups are starting to take off in Pakistan. 

6. New face of political protests rallies emerged with massive turn-out of young urban middle class Pakistani turning out for Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf rallies with music, containers, and drones.

7. In 2014, the KSE-100 Index gained 6,870 points thereby generating a handsome return of 27% (31% return in US$ terms), making Pakistan's KSE world's third best performing marketTotal offerings in the year 2014 reached 9 as compared to 3 in the year 2013. After a gap of seven years, Rs 73 billion were raised through offerings in 2014 as compared to a meager Rs 4 billion raised in 2013. Foreign investors, that hold US$ 6.1 billion worth of Pakistani shares -which is 33% of the free-float (9% of market capitalization)-remained net buyers in 2014.

8. Pakistan organized biggest ever arms show IDEAS 2014 in Karachi. It attracted 333 defense-related companies including 50 companies from Pakistan. Delegates from 50 countries attended the show this year.

9.  Malala Yousufzai became youngest Nobel Prize winner. Education got a boost with new reports indicating increased enrollment

10. Several Pakistani-Americans, particularly women, made news in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in America. For example: Ashar Aziz, Umaima Mendhro, Shama Zehra, Mir Zafar Ali, Novaira Masood, Shan Kandawalla, Hana Dehradunwalla.

11. Pakistan was accepted as an associate member of CERN, one of the world's top research labs, ahead of India. 


Low-lights:

1.  Slow recognition of the existential threat terrorism cost a lot of lives and hurt confidence in Pakistani state and economy.  Failure to convict terrorists made the situation worse. 

2. Violence against minorities continued with some of the most horrific incidents of killing and burning of innocent people. 

3. Abuse of blasphemy law took its toll on an increasing number of people...both Muslim and non-Muslim. 

4. Polio continued to take its toll on children with number of confirmed cases at an all-time high of 296 in 2014. 

5. India-Pakistan ties hit new lows after Hindu Nationalist hard-liner Narendra Modi was elected India's new prime minister. India stepped up covert war in Pakistan.

6. Poor governance created chaos with failure to respond to Model Town incident and rigging allegations. 

7. Execution of energy and infrastructure projects continued to lag.

8. Thar drought and children's deaths exposed incompetence and corruption of Sind provincial govt. Pakistan ranked worse than India on World Hunger Index for the first time in history.



Source: IFPRI


9. Pakistan-bashing books made brisk sales in the rapidly growing Indian book market.

Future:

Key lies in successful execution of anti-terror campaign and energy-infrastructure projects. It'll be a huge challenge for all Pakistanis, particularly the political and military leadership of the country. 

Here's a video discussion of Pakistan's Year 2014:

http://vimeo.com/115777180



http://youtu.be/_xs4FNATloc





Related Links:









Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Sales in India: Profit Motive Drives Authors Bashing Pakistan

Have you ever wondered why the publication of anti-Pakistan books has become a major growth industry today? The answer is simple: Authors and publishers of books about Pakistan know where the money is. It's in India where the book sales are rising rapidly in the midst of continuing global decline. Strong profit motive drives them to write what Indians want to read. Those, like Professor Wendy Doniger of University of Chicago, who ignore this reality are punished by having their books withdrawn and pulped. No publisher wants to take this risk now. And authors who wish to get published have to understand it too.

Indian Book Market:

India's English language book market is the world's third largest, behind that of the United States at the top and of the United Kingdom at number 2.  It is the fastest growing market today which will make India the world's number 1 market in the next ten years.  It could happen sooner if the book sales in the US and the UK decline faster or those in India grow more rapidly than they are already.


India's Pakistan Narrative:

The best way to understand the Indian narrative about Pakistan today is to read "The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World" by Canada's McGill University Professor Thazha Varkey Paul, a graduate of India's Jawaharlal Nehru University, who describes Pakistan as a "warrior state" and a "conspicuous failure". It is among a slew of recently published anti-Pakistan books by mainly Indian and western authors which paint Pakistan as a rogue state which deserves to be condemned, isolated and sanctioned by the international community.  Others, including Christine Fair and Husain Haqqani have also used the same narrative to get a lot of buzz and sell books in India and the West.

Christine Fair's About-Face:

C. Christine Fair is an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS), within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She has only recently wised up to the opportunity to sell lots of books in India.

Before writing and promoting "Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War", an anti-Pakistan book, American analyst and author Christine Fair said this in 2009: "Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan".

Husain Haqqani's Double Game:

Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to US, has been the darling of India and the West since the publication of his book "Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military" in 2005. He has recently followed it up with another Pakistan-bashing book "Magnificent Delusions" in which he accuses Pakistan of lying and playing a double-game with the West.

Washington Post's Richard Lieby's review summed up the book in the following words: "Read his book and you might think Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington from 2008 to 2011, is no friend of his homeland. Its leaders are liars, double-dealers and shakedown artists, he says. They have been this way for decades, and, as Haqqani ably documents, the United States often has served as Pakistan’s willing dupe. But for all its criticism of Pakistan, “Magnificent Delusions”is a necessary prescriptive: If there’s any hope of salvaging what seems like a doomed relationship, it helps to know how everything went so wrong. Haqqani is here to tell us."

If one really analyses Haqqani's narrative, one has to conclude that Pakistanis are extraordinarily clever in deceiving the United States and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride by Pakistanis for over 6 decades. It raises the following questions:

Question 1: Given the belief that Pakistan would not survive, how did the country defy such expectations? What role did its "villainous" military play in its political and economic survival? What does the history say about rapid economic development of Pakistan under military regimes?

Question 2: Wouldn't any country that suffered a military invasion by its much larger neighbor and its break-up be justified in feeling threatened? Wouldn't such a country build deterrence against further adventures by its bigger neighbor?

Question 3:  If the standard western narrative is correct, why have successive US administrations been so naive and gullible as to be duped by Pakistan's politicians and generals for such a long period of time? Is it not an indictment of all US administrations from Harry S. Truman's to Barack H. Obama's?

Question 4:  What role did Pakistan play in the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union?

 Question 5:  What price has Pakistan paid for facilitating US military operations in Afghanistan? How many Pakistani soldiers and civilians have lost their lives since 911?

Debunking TV Paul's Narrative: 

TV Paul describes Pakistan as a "warrior state" and a "conspicuous failure". Is it really?

Let's do a point-by-point examination of Paul's narrative:

1. Paul argues: Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state.

In 1947 at the time of independence, Pakistan was described as a "Nissen hut or a tent" by British Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten in a conversation with Jawarhar Lal Nehru. However, Pakistan defied this expectation that it would not survive as an independent nation and the partition of India would be quickly reversed. Pakistan not only survived but thrived with its economic growth rate easily exceeding the "Hindu growth rate" in India for most of its history.

Agriculture Value Added Per Capita in 2000 US $. Source: World Bank


Even now when the economic growth rate has considerably slowed, Pakistan has lower levels of poverty and hunger than its neighbor India, according UNDP and IFPRI. The key reason for lower poverty in Pakistan is its per capita value added in agriculture which is twice that of India. Agriculture employs 40% of Pakistanis and 60% of Indians. The poor state of rural India can be gauged by the fact that an Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes.

2. Paul: Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence.

The fact is that foreign to aid to Pakistan has been declining as a percentage of its GDP since 1960s when it reached a peak of 11% of GDP in 1963. Today, foreign aid makes up less than 2% of its GDP of $240 billion.

Foreign Aid as Percentage of Pakistan GDP. Source: World Bank


3. Paul: Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country.

 The Taliban "occupy" a small part of FATA called North Waziristan which is about 4,700 sq kilometers, about 0.5% of its 796,000 sq kilometers area. Talking about insurgents "occupying" territory, about 40% of Indian territory is held by Maoist insurgents in the "red corridor" in Central India, according to Indian security analyst Bharat Verma.

4. Paul: It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists' hands.

A recent assessment by Nuclear Threat Initiative ranked Pakistan above India on "Nuclear Materials Security Index".

5. Paul: Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure?

Pakistan's nominal GDP has quadrupled from $60 billion in 2000 to $240 billion now. Along with total GDP, Pakistan's GDP per capita has also grown significantly over the years, from about $500 in Year 2000 to $1000 per person in 2007 on President Musharraf's watch, elevating it from a low-income to a middle-income country in the last decade.I wouldn't call that a failure.


Pakistan Per Capita GDP 1960-2012. Source: World Bank 


Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill, the economist who coined BRIC, has put Pakistan among the Next 11 group in terms of growth in the next several decades.

6. Paul argues that the "geostrategic curse"--akin to the "resource curse" that plagues oil-rich autocracies--is at the root of Pakistan's unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars.

Pakistan is no more a warrior state that many others in the world. It spends no more than 3.5% of its GDP on defense, lower than most of the nations of the world.

7. Paul says: No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers and their allies with a stake in the region.The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions.

"Massive foreign aid" adds up to less than 1% of Pakistan's GDP. Pakistan's diaspora sends it over 5% of Pakistan's GDP in remittances.

8. Paul: Excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan's limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. Indeed, despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread violence and terrorism.

Pakistan Defense Spending as % of GDP Source: World Indicators


 In spite of declining military spending which is just 3.5% of its GDP now which is average for its size, Pakistan has achieved strategic parity with India by developing nuclear weapons. It has since prevented India from invading Pakistan as it did in 1971 to break up the country. Pakistani military has shown in Swat in 2009 that it is quite capable of dealing with insurgents when ordered to do so by the civilian govt.

Growth in Asia's Middle Class. Source: Asian Development Bank


While it is true that Pakistan has not lived up to its potential when compared with other US Cold War allies in East and Southeast Asia, it is wrong to describe it as "conspicuous failure". Pakistan should be compared with other countries in South Asia region, not East Asia or Southeast Asia. Comparison with its South Asian neighbors India and Bangladesh shows that an average Pakistani is less poor, less hungry and more upwardly mobile, according to credible data from multiple independent sources.

Conclusion: 

Pakistan is neither a "warrior state" nor a "conspicuous failure" as argued by Professor TV Paul. To the contrary, it has been the victim of the invading Indian Army in 1971 which cut off  its eastern wing. Pakistan has built a minimum nuclear deterrent in response to India's development of a nuclear arsenal. Pakistan has responded to the 1971 trauma by ensuring that such a tragedy does not happen again, particularly through a foreign invasion.

Pakistan is a complex country. It is much more upwardly mobile than many of its neighbors, including India.  While the country is suffering growing pains like any other developing nation, the false narrative of exaggeration of its difficulties being promoted by a flurry of books bashing Pakistan is driven more by desire for commerce than by serious academic search for truth. Assertions made in such books fall apart when subjected to the close scrutiny that I have done in this post.

Today, Pakistan faces some of the toughest challenges of its existence. It has to deal with the Taliban insurgency and a weak economy. It has to solve its deepening energy crisis. It has to address growing water scarcity. While I believe Pakistanis are a very resilient and determined people, the difficult challenges they face will test them, particularly their leaders who have been falling short of their expectations in recent years.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Debunking TV Paul

Challenging Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative

Looking Back at 1940 Lahore Resolution

Pakistan's Economic History

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity

Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

Musharraf Accelerated Growth of Pakistan's Financial and Human Capital

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Pakistan on Goldman Sachs' BRIC+N11 Growth Map