Friday, October 29, 2010

Agriculture and Textiles Employ Most Indians and Pakistanis

About 60% of India's workforce is in agriculture. Textile industry is the second biggest employer, accounting for a fifth of India’s exports, and employs almost 10 percent of India’s workforce, or some 35 million people, and has the potential to add another 12 million new jobs --dwarfing the 1-2 million jobs created by the much-heralded IT and BPO sector, according to a World Bank report.

The largest number of people in other South Asian nations are also employed in the agriculture sector, followed by textile manufacturing as the second largest employer.

About 60% of India's workforce is engaged in agriculture, contributing about 16% of GDP, according to published data. Textile manufacturing claims the second largest employment and comprises 26% of manufacturing output. It accounts for a fifth of India’s exports, and employs almost 10 percent of India’s workforce, or some 35 million people, and has the potential to add another 12 million new jobs --dwarfing the 1-2 million jobs created by the much-heralded IT and BPO sector, according to a World Bank report. Even the most optimistic estimates by NASSCOM put the total direct and indirect employment in IT and ITES sectors at 10 million jobs.

The textile sector is crucial to India's economy. The textile industry contributed 4% of India's gross domestic product in the year that ended March 31, and accounted for 13.5% of Indian exports, bringing in $17.6 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With the Indian rupee soaring — up 9 percent against the dollar in the last 16 months, textile exports are down 6.4 percent from a year earlier in the $10 billion Indian clothing industry, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

About 23% of the India's workforce is part of the services sector which accounted for 55% of the GDP in 2007. Within the service sector, the fastest growing segment is business services, contributing about 7% of GDP. It includes information technology enabled services (ITES), information technology (IT), business process outsourcing (BPO) etc. In 2000, it was one third of the total output of services.

Agriculture in Pakistan accounts for 19.4% of GDP and 42% of labor force, followed by services providing 53.4% of GDP and 38% employment, with the remainder 27.2% of GDP and 20% workers in manufacturing sector. Over half of Pakistan's manufacturing jobs are in the textile sector, making it the second biggest employer after agriculture.

The dire situation in India's agriculture sector has been epitomized by over 200,000 farmers' suicides in the last decade. And the rising Indian rupee is now hurting India's textile sector by making its exports more expensive in the world market.

Pakistan's agriculture and textile sectors have also suffered in the last two years. Reduced water flows from India followed by recent floods have adversely affected large swathes of Pakistan's farmland. And the current energy crisis combined with the economic slowdown have hit the textile industry particularly hard. The European Commission, the EU's executive, has recently approved tariff waivers on 75 categories of imports from Pakistan for up to three years, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The gesture followed an order by EU leaders wanting to demonstrate they're helping some 10 million Pakistanis left without shelter in the wake of floods.

Pakistan shipped about $4.2 billion of exports to EU last year. About 75% of Pakistani exports to EU are textiles, clothing, leather or related products, and those goods will make up a majority of the roughly $140 million in total extra trade the EU says the deal will generate from eliminating the EU tariffs.

Here is a quick comparison of different sectors of the economy in India and Pakistan in terms of employment and GDP contribution:

Country....Agri(emp/GDP)..Textiles..Other Mfg..Service(incl IT)

India........60%/16% ...........10%/4%.....7%/25%...........23%/55%

Pakistan......42%/20%...........12%/8%......8%/18%...........38%/54%

Assuming India's PPP GDP of $3.75 trillion (population 1.2 billion, nominal gdp $1.3 trillion) and Pakistan's $450 billion (population 175 million, nominal gdp $167 billion)), here is what I calculated in terms of per capita GDP in different sectors of the economy:

India vs. Pakistan: Per Capita GDP $3,125 PPP ($1,083 nom) vs. $2,570 ($955 nom)

Agriculture: $833 PPP ($288 nom) vs. $1,225 PPP ($454 nom)

Textiles: $1,242 ($433) vs. $1,714 ($636)

Non-Textile Mfg: $11,155 ($3,870) vs $5,785 ($2,142)

Services $7,246 ($2,590) vs $3,654 ($1356)

Data shows that the majority of Indians who work in agriculture and textiles are on average 50% poorer than their Pakistani counterparts, as also reflected in the under-$2 a day per capita income figures for 60% of Pakistanis and 76% of Indians.

Agriculture Value Added Per Worker in Constant 2000 US$ (Source: World Bank


It also shows that Indians in manufacturing and services sectors add almost twice as much value as Pakistanis, and produce significantly higher value goods and services than their Pakistani counterparts.

The income range in India is much wider from $883 to $11,155 accounting for the much bigger rich-poor gap relative to Pakistan's relatively narrower range from $1225 to $5,785.

The challenge for India is to improve its farmers' productivity and move some of them into higher value added sectors of the economy.

The challenge for Pakistan is to have its manufacturing and services sectors produce more goods and services of higher value, and continue to migrate more of its farmers into other sectors of the economy.

It's clear that farming and textiles continue to be the most important economic sectors with the biggest impact on the lives of the majority of ordinary citizens of India and Pakistan. And just as the US and EU look after their farmers, it is very important for South Asian governments to protect their farming and textile sectors even as they promote diversification of their economies.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Textile Industry Report

Pakistan's Farmland Controversy
Peepli Live and India's Farmers' Suicides

Floods in Pakistan
Pakistan's Textile Woes

Agricultural Growth in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

KPMG Report on Pakistan Economy 2010

India and Pakistan Contrasted
Pakistan's Major Business Sectors
Labor Laws: To Create Good Jobs, Reform Labor Regulations

Foreign Investors Buying Pakistani Farm Land
Is Leasing Agricultural Land to Foreigners a Good Idea?

Pakistan's Sugar Crisis and Dietary Habits

Wheat Research and Development in Pakistan

Pakistan's Water Crisis

Wheat Productivity, Efficiency and Sustainability

Agrarian Reform in Pakistan
Urbanization in Pakistan

Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Pakistan Agribusiness Report 2009

Pakistan to Lease 700,000 Acres to Arab States

Pakistan's Total Arable Land

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kashmiris Remain Defiant on 63rd Anniversasry of Indian Military Occupation

Srinagar is completely shut down today as Kashmiris continue to protest on the 63rd anniversary of India's brutal military occupation. As the occupation enters its 64th year today, India continues to deploy over half a million troops who have killed hundreds of thousand of unarmed innocent civilians demanding freedom from Indian rule.

At least 110 people have been killed and thousands injured by Indian military and police since June in the latest series of entirely grass-roots and homegrown protests leading up to yet another anniversary. A protest march was fired upon today by the Indian forces that reportedly hurt five protesters who broke the ongoing punitive curfews in the valley.



"India is not scared of the guns here in Kashmir -- it has a thousand times more guns. What it is scared of is people coming out in the streets, people seeing the power of nonviolent struggle," says Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the senior leader of the moderate wing of Kashmir's main separatist alliance, Hurriyat, and a key organizer of the current civil disobedience campaign that began in 2008, filling the air with chants of azadi. The number of armed attacks in the valley, meanwhile, has dropped to its lowest since the insurgency began in 1989, according to Indian officials.

How has India responded to the the peaceful movement for freedom in Kashmir? Not recognizing the reality of change on the ground, the Indian government has attempted to demonize the struggle as LeT led terrorism. Beyond that, it has continued to use lethal force against unarmed, peaceful civilian protesters on the streets of Kashmir. Wall Street Journal reported the situation in Kashmir in late 2009 as follows: Indian troops often resorted to lethal force, killing more than 50 Kashmiri civilians. Scores of protesters and separatist politicians have been thrown behind bars or placed under house arrest. Indian officials say these detentions are necessary to preserve public peace, and that the troops have to use force to maintain law and order. Some half a million Indian soldiers and policemen remain deployed in the Indian-administered part of Jammu and Kashmir, home to 10 million people. (About 5 million people live in Pakistani-held Kashmir.) Indian laws grant troops in Kashmir almost total immunity from prosecution, including in cases of civilian deaths. Srinagar, once India's prime tourist destination, is dotted by checkpoints, its indoor stadium, cinemas and hotels surrounded by sandbags and converted into military camps. Broadcast media are censored....As Kashmir descended into chaos after these killings of innocent civilian demonstrators, India responded with increasingly severe curfews and lockdowns that continue. Often they come without prior warning or formal announcement, as in Srinagar over the past weekend.

Now it's not just the Kashmiri civilians who are being muzzled and killed by Delhi. The Indian government has recently turned its attention to Indian rights activists like Ms. Arundhati Roy who is now being threatened with arrest for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed Kashmiris. In response to a question put to her by The Guardian, Ms. Roy said: "I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state."

Even as Ms. Roy expressed support for Kashmiris' inalienable right to self-determination, she told Kashmiris that she was "hurt" by one particular anti-India slogan ringing in the valley: "Nanga Bhooka Hindustan, Jaan Se Pyara Pakistan". It is understandable that, as a patriotic Indian, she found it offensive.

As a potential nuclear flashpoint between India and Pakistan, Kashmir remains among the most dangerous unresolved international disputes in the world. To a large context, other issues in the region such as the situation in Afghanistan are linked to India-Pakistan rivalry rooted in Kashmir. It is therefore very important for world leaders to learn about it, pay attention to it and help resolve it.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, a prominent Pakistani peace activist and professor and Islamabad's Quaid-e-Azam University, has produced a video on Kashmir which makes the following points.

1. Nationalist and religious fervor has been on the rise in both India and Pakistan with Kashmir as the flash point

2. Diverse people of Kashmir are trapped in the middle.

3. Over 100,000 Kasmiris have died, many have sought refuge in Pakistan, with Hindu pandits seeking refuge in India.

4. Hindu pandits are a privileged class in Kashmir. A 1990 study showed that 86% of senior government jobs are held by pandits.

5. Kashmiri Muslims are mostly impoverished.

6. Resentment against pandit domination has boiled over, with tragic consequences for Kashmiri pandits, some of whom have been killed or driven out of their homes.

7. Both Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu pandits have been massacred by extremists on both sides.

8. All elections in Kashmir have been heavily rigged by Indian government.

9. Indian police, paramilitary and armed forces supporting Kashmir government are seen as an occupation force by almost all Kashmiri Muslims who are demanding "azadi".

10. Indian forces have continued to use overwhelming and lethal force against Kashmiri civilians.

11. Pakistan intervened in Kashmir in 1990s, and armed and trained Afghan Jihadis to fight in Kashmir, and encouraged Pakistanis to join the Kashmir Jihad against India.

12. Many Kashmiri pandits want India to invade and destroy Pakistan.

13. Extremists like VHP leader Praveen Togadia have jumped in, they want India to conquer Pakistan.

14. India's right-wing parties have flourished, as Kashmir has continued to be troubled.

15. BJP has changed the history books and the entire school curriculum to minimize or remove Islamic contributions, and emphasized Hindu kingdoms.

16. Right-wing Pakistani parties have influenced Pakistani textbooks as a means of indoctrination against Hindus.

17. Roots of anger still lie in the way the partition was carried out in 1947.

18. Nehru pledged plebiscite in Kashmir, but then went back on it.

19. Pakistan's President Ayub miscalculated by sending troops into Indian Kashmir. India responded by crossng the international border into Pakistan. The war ended with no gains for either side.

20. Siachin remains the highest battlefield.

21. Shockwaves sent across the world by nuclear tests by both nations in 1998.

22. Pakistan's Kargil intrusion was a disaster, with major casualties on both sides.

23. Nawaz Sharif's decision to pull out of Kargil as seen as a humiliation for Pakistan. Pakistan military soon forced Sharif out, and Gen Musharraf took control.

24. Military again dominated life in Pakistan in all matters, including civilian governance.

25. In 2001, Kashmiri militants attacked Indian parliament, and India responded by massing troops on Pakistani border, as the two nations came close to war.

26. India has been brutal in suppressing minorities, denying even the basic rights to them in Kashmir and elsewhere.

27. Creation of Bangladesh has shown that Islam is not enough to bind Pakistanis together into a nation.

28. Many Kashmiris want independence from both India and Pakistan. Neither Pakistan nor India accept the idea of an independent Kashmir.

Hoodbhoy's video is a rather long 46-minute presentation requiring patience, but I found the video to be the most honest account of the Kashmir problem which is surrounded by all kinds of misinformation, disinformation and spin from all sides. Hoodbhoy puts it in historical context, shows the cynical role of the politicians and extremists on both sides, and talks about the realities of the Kashmir tragedy as it affects both Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu pandits who have been dispossessed and dispersed, and how it has led to the radicalization of the populations on both sides.

The footage of late Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's pledge of the plebiscite to the people of Kashmir to decide their own fate can be seen and heard about 23 minutes into the 46 minute video.

I recommend this video to any one interested in understanding the Kashmir issue in depth and how it has drastically polarized the people South Asia.



Video Copyright Eqbal Ahmad Foundation, 2004.

The continued Indian occupation of Kashmir is neither legal nor moral. It's illegal because it violates security council resolutions 47(1948) of 21 April, 1948, 51(1948) of 3 June, 1948, 80 (1950) of 14 March, 1950 and 91(1951) of 30 March, 1951, that are binding on all UN member nations. It's immoral because it breaks repeated pledges to the people of Kashmir in late 40s and early 50s by Indian prime minister and various Indian officials.

As Hoodbhoy points out in the video, Kashmir has become the cause celebre for the radicals on both sides of the border and threatens the future of all of South Asia. Settling Kashmir is crucial to defeat the extremists and bring some normalcy to relations between India and Pakistan that could eventually lead to a regional SAARC common market greatly benefiting all of South Asia.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Nehru's Speeches on Kashmir

Nehru's Pledges on Kashmir

Obama's South Asia Policy

Military Occupation of Kashmir

Bruce Riedel Interview

Clues to Obama's South Asia Policy

Hoodbhoy on India

Obama's Afghan Exit Strategy

Kashmir Erupts Again

Chinese Do Good and Do Well

China's Checkbook Diplomacy

US Dalliance With Beijing

Obama's Retreat on Mid East and South Asia

Kashmir Holds Key to Peace in South Asia

President Musharraf's Legacy

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Indians and Pakistanis Suffer Heavy Disease Burdens

Poverty, hunger, unsanitary or unsafe conditions and inadequate health care in South Asia's developing nations are exposing their citizens to high risk of a variety of diseases which may impact their intelligence. Every year, World Health Organization reports what it calls "Environmental Burden of Disease" in each country of the world in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) per 1000 people and total number of deaths from diseases ranging from diarrhea and other infectious diseases to heart disease, road traffic injuries and different forms of cancer.



In the range of DALYs/1000 capita from 13 (lowest) to 289 (highest), WHO's latest data indicates that India is at 65 while Pakistan is slightly better at 58. In terms of total number of deaths per year from disease, India stands at 2.7 million deaths while Pakistani death toll is 318, 400 people. Among other South Asian nations, Afghanistan's DALYs/1000 is 255, Bangladesh 64 and Sri Lanka 61. By contrast, the DALYs/1000 figures are 14 for Singapore and 32 for China.

Recent research shows that there are potentially far reaching negative consequences for nations carrying high levels of disease burdens causing lower average intelligence among their current and future generations.



Published by the University of New Mexico and reported by Newsweek, new research shows that there is a link between lower IQs and prevalence of infectious diseases. Comparing data on national “disease burdens” (life years lost due to infectious diseases or DALYs) with average intelligence scores, the authors found a striking inverse correlation—around 67 percent. They also found that the cognitive ability is rising in some countries than in others, and IQ scores have risen as nations develop—a phenomenon known as the “Flynn effect.”



According to the UNM study's author Christopher Eppig and his colleagues, the human brain is the “most costly organ in the human body.” The Newsweek article adds that the "brainpower gobbles up close to 90 percent of a newborn’s energy. It stands to reason, then, that if something interferes with energy intake while the brain is growing, the impact could be serious and longlasting. And for vast swaths of the globe, the biggest threat to a child’s body—and hence brain—is parasitic infection. These illnesses threaten brain development in several ways. They can directly attack live tissue, which the body must then strain to replace. They can invade the digestive tract and block nutritional uptake. They can hijack the body’s cells for their own reproduction. And then there’s the energy diverted to the immune system to fight the infection. Out of all the parasites, the diarrheal ones may be the gravest threat—they can prevent the body from getting any nutrients at all".

Looking at the situation in South Asia, it appears from the WHO data that Pakistan is doing a bit better than India in 12 out of 14 disease groups ranging from diarrhea to heart disease to intentional injuries, and it is equal for the remaining two (Malaria and Asthma).

Source: Health Metrics and Valuation
 A detailed WHO report on World Health Statistics for 2010 assesses and compares its member nations on the basis of nine criteria including mortality and burden of disease, cause-specific mortality, selected infectious diseases, health service coverage, risk factors, health workforce-infrastructure, health expenditures and demographic and socioeconomic statistics. It shows that both India and Pakistan have some serious challenges to overcome to have any chance of meeting health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 4, 5 and 6).

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Infectious Diseases Kill Millions in South Asia
Infectious Diseases Cause Low IQ

Malnutrition Challenge in India and Pakistan
Hunger: India's Growth Story

WHO Report 2010 Blogger Analysis
Syeda Hamida of Indian Planning Commission Says India Worse Than Pakistan and Bangladesh

Global Hunger Index Report 2009

Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India
WRI Report on BOP Housing Market

Food, Clothing and Shelter For All

India's Family Health Survey
Is India a Nutritional Weakling?
Asian Gains in World's Top Universities

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dengue, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases Killing Millions in South Asia

There have been 1200 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 12 deaths in Pakistan after the recent heavy monsoon rains and massive floods, according to media reports.

A.C. Dhariwal, director of India's National Vector-Borne Disease Control Program, told AFP recently that dengue cases in India were at a 20-year high with 50 people dead and 12,000 reported infections. The number of actual infections is likely to be far higher.

A recent global Hygiene Home Truths Study says India is among the worst when it comes to hygiene, according to a report published in Times of India.

Two-thirds of India's population lacks basic sanitation facilities. They are exposed to a variety of infectious diseases claiming 1.3 million lives a year, accounting for the largest number of victims of infections any where in the world. Studies indicate the prevalence of infections may be contributing to lower IQ of Indians.

In addition to malaria, dengue fever, and cysticercosis, India also has a huge disease burden of rabies, caused by dog bites. In India, 20,000 rabies deaths (that is about 2/100,000 population) are estimated to occur annually, according to Times of India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) which describes the dog population in India as "getting out of hand", roughly 36% of rabies deaths in the world occur in India.

India might be an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country.

Lizette Burgers, chief of water and environment sanitation of the Unicef, says India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia. A former Indian minister Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told the BBC that more than 65% of India's rural population defecated in the open, along roadsides, railway tracks and fields, generating huge amounts of excrement every day, and causing disease.

A recent meeting of experts hosted by the National Institute of Health in Islamabad has warned that although dengue was a risk, another mosquito-borne disease malaria, posed a much more serious threat especially in the flood-affected areas. World Health Organization-Pakistan representative Guido Sabatinelli said that even at the start of the malaria season there were “300,000 suspected cases” nationwide.

A US NIH funded study published in Lancet says over 200,000 Indians die of Malaria among 1.3 million infectious disease deaths reported in the country, according to a report by the BBC:

"The number of people dying from malaria in India has been hugely underestimated, according to new research.

The data, published in the Lancet, suggests there are 13 times more malaria deaths in India than the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

The authors conclude that more than 200,000 deaths per year are caused by malaria.

The WHO said the estimate produced by this study appears too high.

The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

The new figures raise doubts over the total number of malaria deaths worldwide.
Difficult diagnosis

Calculating how many people die from malaria is extremely difficult. Most cases that are diagnosed and treated do not result in fatalities.

People who die of extremely high fevers in the community can be misdiagnosed and the cause of death can be attributed to other diseases and vice versa.

As most deaths in India occur at home, without medical intervention, cause of death is seldom medically certified.

There are about 1.3 million deaths from infectious diseases, where acute fever is the main symptom in rural areas in India.

In this study, trained field workers interviewed families, asking them to describe how their relative died. Two doctors then reviewed each description and decided if the death was caused by malaria. This method is called verbal autopsy.

Some 122,000 premature deaths between 2001 and 2003 were investigated.

The data suggests that 205,000 deaths before the age of 70, mainly in rural areas, are caused by malaria each year."


While a mere 14 percent of people in rural India - that account for 65 percent of its 1.1 billion population - had access to toilets in 1990, the number had gone up to 28 percent in 2006. In comparison, 33 percent rural Pakistanis had access to toilets in 1990 and it went up to an impressive 58 percent in 2006, according to UNICEF.

Why is it that Pakistan has had more success than India in improving sanitation?

Both India and Pakistan have Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) campaigns supported by UNICEF, with the aim of creating open defecation free villages through education and funding. For reasons which are not obvious, it seems that the strategy has produced better results in Pakistan than in India so far. One possible reason may be that CLTS India is state driven while CLTS Pakistan is driven by community champions, according to a paper by Lyla Mehta that sheds light on how the CLTS campaigns work in India and Pakistan.

Given the high risk of dengue and malaria in the aftermath of unusually heavy monsoon rains and massive floods, it is important for CLTS campaign in Pakistan to extend its mandate to include anti-malaria efforts by draining puddles of water, or at least spraying stagnant water with disinfectants to eradicate mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Syeda Hamida of Indian Planning Commission Says India Worse Than Pakistan and Bangladesh

Global Hunger Index Report 2009

Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India

WRI Report on BOP Housing Market

Food, Clothing and Shelter For All

India's Family Health Survey

Hunger and Undernutrition Blog

Pakistan's Total Sanitation Campaign

Is India a Nutritional Weakling?

Asian Gains in World's Top Universities

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

What Does Democracy Deliver in Pakistan

Do South Asian Slums Offer Hope?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hunger: India's Other Growth Story

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reported last week that hunger in India has grown over the last three years.

IFPRI said India's hunger index score has worsened over the last three years from 23.7 to 23.9 to 24.1 and its ranking moved from 66 to 65 to 67 on a list of 84 nations....while Pakistan's hunger index score has improved over the same period reported since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking has risen from 61 to 58 to 52.

Here's an Indian blogger Abhinav who blogged last February about "Indian Growth Story Nobody Wants To Talk About":

Today’s news on the death of fifty people from hunger at Balangir in Orissa is a grim reminder of the little growth story that India has had. It clearly indicates many negative facets of our system, bureaucracy and the public at large. As per the World Food Program, almost half of the world’s population who are deprived of food live in India. Another website of a well known NGO (http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html) offers a grim picture of this particular issue especially when the same is getting the least attention by the policy makers across the world. If 50% of the starving residents belong to India, we do not need to look beyond our borders to nail the culprits.

More than six decades post independence and being counted as one of the key growth engines to the world economy, why are hunger deaths still happening in India? Is it because there is a scarcity of food to offer the ones hungry? Clearly that is not the case.

Those leading a life above the poverty line pay taxes to the Central and the State Governments so that it is used for public facilities, amenities and for the benefit of those living the poverty line. Obviously, those in power have to let go of their hunger for corruption or we have to watch the country going down the drains. Otherwise, it would constantly fail to administer the proper distribution of food and nutrition to people who matter.

We all talk about “3 idiots” and how a college principal is called a murderer who is responsible for the suicide of the students in his college. In the same way, aren’t the following responsible for the demise of people from hunger in our country?

1. Politicians responsible for making food security and food distribution laws.
2. Governmental agencies responsible for proper storage of food grains.
3. Bureaucrats responsible for administration and distribution amongst the right people.
4. Local security agencies which must maintain law and order to ensure proper distribution.

And why is it that they are not punished for these deaths. We have poor being imprisoned for thefts but those in power prosper, while the poor suffer. Is there any accountability for what is being and can be done to break this nexus? Would those in urban cities who are fortunate enough to be writing and reading this blog do something about it? Would they start taking candle light walks in memory of those unfortunate who die in India of hunger every day? Will they go beyond the regular candle marches or force those in power to take responsibility and amend their ways?


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan: A Contrarian Investor's Paradise

India Ranks Below China, Pakistan in Global Hunger Index

Low Status of Indian Women

India's Commonwealth Games Mess

Disaster Dampens Spirits on Pakistan's 63rd Independence Day

UNESCO Education For All Report 2010

India's Arms Build-up: Guns Versus Bread

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

World Hunger Index 2009

Challenges of 2010-2020 in South Asia

India and Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Introduction to Defense Economics

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pakistan's Poverty and Hunger Declined in 2000-2008

Poverty and hunger often go together. The affordability of food is usually a bigger issue than its availability in most poor nations, according to research published by Indian-born economist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen. With few exceptions, rising incomes and reductions in poverty rates are known to lead to lower hunger levels.



Pakistan experienced significant declines in poverty and hunger from the year 2000 until 2008, according to figures published by the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute in their separate reports published recently.

Per Capita PPP GDP


As per capita income rose over 50% to nearly $2500 in purchasing power, poverty in Pakistan decreased from about 34.5% to 17.2% and hunger went down with it during Musharraf years from 2000 to 2008, as reported by World Bank and IFPRI as lagging indicators. The global hunger index score, published annually by the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), is a number between zero and 100, with lower figure signifying less hunger.



Based on hunger data collected from 2003 to 2008, IFPRI reported that Pakistan's hunger index score improved over the last three consecutive years reported since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking rose from 61 to 58 to 52. During the same period, India's index score worsened from 23.7 to 23.9 to 24.1 and its ranking moved from 66 to 65 to 67 on a list of 84 nations.

At 22.67% improvement in its hunger score since 1990, Pakistan has improved less than India's 23.97% reduction, explained mainly by little or no progress in Pakistan during the lost decade of the 1990s under Bhutto and Sharif governments.



In spite of the progress Pakistan made until 2008, the hunger situation in Pakistan (and Sri Lanka) is still rated as serious on a scale ranging from low level hunger to extremely alarming, and for the rest of South Asia, including India, the situation is described as alarming by the world hunger report 2010.



On the 11th anniversary of General Musharraf's coup this year, the dominant and self-serving political rhetoric on the airwaves of Pakistan completely obscures Musharraf government's positive role in significantly enhancing Pakistan's economic growth, and reducing hunger and poverty on his watch. Instead, Musharraf's enemies are focusing entirely on his missteps to try and hide their own major failures since 2008...failures that have brought Pakistan's economy near collapse, reminiscent of the bad old days of the 1990s that ended with Musharraf's coup in 1999. How long can they fool the people of Pakistan? Only time will tell.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

IMF Country Report on Pakistan Poverty

Musharraf's Coup Revived Pakistan's Economy

State Bank of Pakistan Quarterly Reports

World Bank Poverty Report on Pakistan

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Ishrat Husain: Structural Reforms in Pakistan's Economy

Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding

US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?

India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition

UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Financial Services Sector

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

Pakistan's Economic History 1947-2010

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

Asia Gains in Top Asian Universities

BSE-Key Statistics

Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

India-Pakistan Military Comparison

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Energy Crisis

IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies

2010 World Hunger Index Report

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Correlating Population and GDP With CWG 2010 Medals

Is there a correlation between a nation's economic performance and its success at international sports competitions? Has India's economic resurgence contributed to its achieving remarkable second place status on the medals table at the Commonwealth Games 2010 that just concluded in New Delhi?



Economics professor Daniel Johnson and his student Ms. Ayfer Ali have developed a model to predict a country's Olympic performance using per-capita income (the economic output per person), the nation's population, its political structure, its climate and the host nation advantage. The Johnson-Ali model was described in a paper, “A Tale of Two Seasons: Participation and Medal Counts at the Summer and Winter Olympics,” that was written in 1999 with Ayfer Ali, while Johnson was on sabbatical at Harvard University and Ali was a student. It was published in Social Science Quarterly in December 2004."It's just pure economics," Johnson insists. "I know nothing about the athletes. And even if I did, I didn't include it."

"The home-field advantage is not trivial. That's why we structure playoffs the way we do," says Johnson.

Over the past five Olympics since 2000, Johnson-Ali model has demonstrated 94% accuracy between predicted and actual national medal counts. For gold medal wins, the correlation is 87%. For the 2008 Beijing Games, Johnson predicted the U.S. team would win 103 medals in total, 33 of them gold. The Americans ended up winning 110 medals, 36 being gold. With its host nation advantage, China did better than Johnson's forecast. Johnson predicted Chinese athletes would win 89 medals; they took 100. He expected China to earn 44 gold medals by the time of the closing ceremonies at the Bird's Nest in Beijing. The Chinese collected a list-leading 51 golds, besting the model's expectations.

The Johnson-Ali model has not done well for nations other than the top 10. For example, Pakistan, which Johnson suggested would win seven medals, including three golds, won no medals at all at Athens Olympics. In fact, Pakistan has won three golds,three silvers and four bronze medals, a total of 10 medals in the entire history of its participation in Olympics movement since 1948. Eight out of the ten medals were won by Pakistan's field hockey team. The last Olympic medal Pakistan won was a bronze in 1992. India has won nine golds,four silvers and seven bronze medals, a total of 20 medals in its entire Olympics history which began in 1927 while Sri Lanka has won two medals in its history at the Olympics, one silver and one bronze. At Beijing in 2008, India won three medals, including one gold and two bronzes, and Afghanistan won its first-ever Olympic medal, a bronze. Bangladesh is the most populous country in the world never to have won an Olympic medal. Nepal won a bronze medal in Taekwondo at Seoul in 1988, but it was won in an exhibition match not counted among official medals.

Eighty of 205 Olympic committees, representing about 40 percent of the world's nations, have never won an Olympic medal.

Now let's see if Johnson-Ali model has any relevance to the results of Delhi CWG 2010. Representing the host nation, Indian athletes have performed very well, winning second spot on the medals table with 101 medals, including 38 golds, beating England to win the second place with just one more gold medal than England's 37 golds.

As expected, Australians top the medals table with 177 medals, including 74 golds, although down significantly from 221 medals they won in 2006, according to the BBC.

Indians double their medal count to 101 this year from 50 medals in 2006.

England also make gains, winning 142 medals this year, up from 110 in 2006.

Pakistan ranks 17th, on a list of 37 medal winning nations. Pakistan's medal count is flat at 5 from 2006, including 2 golds.

In terms of population per medal, Nauru (2 medals) tops the list with one medal per 5000 people.

India and Pakistan are both near the bottom with one medal per 11 million and 33 million citizens respectively.

Bangladesh is at the very bottom with its one bronze medal for its entire population of 162 million people.

In terms of GDP, Nauru tops with 1 medal per $119 million.

India (101 medals) and Pakistan (5 medals) are near the bottom with $12 billion and $33 billion respectively.

Bangladesh is last with just one bronze for its entire GDP of $94 billion.

Indians deserve to be congratulated for leveraging their rapid economic growth in recent years to achieve remarkable success at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. However, in terms of India's GDP and the size of its population, the Indians still have a long way to go to match the performance of China and OECD member nations at major international sports competitions like the Olympics.

Many of India's best athletes at CWG 2010 are women, including badminton star Saina Nehwal, who picked up the badminton singles gold, putting India in second place ahead of England on the medals table. Many of India's medal-winning women are from the northern state of Haryana, which has some of the worst rates of female foeticide in the country. Let us hope that these girls drive positive social change in this benighted region where the politicians have failed.

With rising enthusiasm for competitive sports and its world-class training facilities built for Delhi Commonwealth Games, I believe India has taken a giant step forward to become a sports powerhouse ready to compete and win in major international sporting events in future.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India, Pakistan and Johnson-Ali Model

BBC's Commonwealth Games 2010 Table

India Ranks Below China, Pakistan in Global Hunger Index

Low Status of Indian Women

India's Commonwealth Games Mess

Disaster Dampens Spirits on Pakistan's 63rd Independence Day

UNESCO Education For All Report 2010

India's Arms Build-up: Guns Versus Bread

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

World Hunger Index 2009

Challenges of 2010-2020 in South Asia

India and Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Introduction to Defense Economics

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

India Tops World Hunger Chart in 2010

In a week that saw India put on the Commonwealth Games extravaganza costing $7.5 billion, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) released its World Hunger Index 2010 report calling India's hunger situation "alarming", and including it with 29 other mostly sub-Saharan African nations.

India ranks 67, far worse than Pakistan's ranking of 52 among 84 nations on the world hunger index 2010 report published recently, according to a Times of India report.

On a scale ranging from low level hunger to extremely alarming, the hunger situation in Sri Lanka and Pakistan is rated as serious, and the rest of South Asia, including India, the situation is considered alarming.

The global hunger index score, published annually by the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), is a number between zero and 100, with lower figure signifying less hunger.

Poverty in Pakistan decreased from about 34% to 17% and hunger went down with it during Musharraf years from 2000 to 2008, as reported by World Bank and IFPRI as lagging indicators. The global hunger index score, published annually by the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), is a number between zero and 100, with lower figure signifying less hunger.

While Pakistan's hunger index score improved over the last three year since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking rose from 61 to 58 to 52, India's index score worsened from 23.7 to 23.9 to 24.1 and its ranking moved from 66 to 65 to 67 on a list of 84 nations. Given the lag in reporting, the GHI scores represent data from 2003 to 2008.

At 22.67% improvement in its hunger score since 1990, Pakistan has improved less than India's 23.97% reduction, explained by little or no progress in Pakistan during the lost decade of the 1990s under Bhutto and Sharif governments.

At 9th place, China is ranked well ahead of all South Asian nations, while Pakistan is at the 52nd place on the 2010 Global Hunger Index, released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in association with a German group Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

In India, the high Index scores are driven by high levels of child underweight resulting from the low nutritional and social status of women in the country, the report pointed out, adding that India alone accounts for the largest share of the world's undernourished children, the IFPRI report said.

India is home to 42% of the world's underweight children, while Pakistan has just 5%, it added.

Among other neighboring countries, Sri Lanka was at the 39th position and Nepal ranked 56 by index. Bangladesh listed at the 68th position.

After 63 years of independence, it is very unfortunate that economically resurgent India still remains home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate people. Tragically, hunger remains India's biggest problem, with an estimated 7000 Indians dying of hunger every single day. Over 200 million Indians will go to bed hungry tonight, as they do every night, according to Bhookh.com. Along with chronic hunger, deep poverty and high illiteracy also continue to blight the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians on a daily basis.

As the largest nation in the region, it is time for Indian leadership to take necessary actions to lead South Asia by example in reducing poverty, hunger and illiteracy toward achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India Ranks Below China, Pakistan in Global Hunger Index

Low Status of Indian Women

India's Commonwealth Games Mess

Disaster Dampens Spirits on Pakistan's 63rd Independence Day

UNESCO Education For All Report 2010

India's Arms Build-up: Guns Versus Bread

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

World Hunger Index 2009

Challenges of 2010-2020 in South Asia

India and Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Introduction to Defense Economics

Monday, October 11, 2010

Musharraf Coup Revived Pakistan's Economy and Reduced Poverty

On the 11th anniversary of General Musharraf's coup today, the dominant political rhetoric on the airwaves of Pakistan completely obscures Musharraf's daring rescue of the nation's economy from total collapse in 1999. Instead, Musharraf's enemies are focusing entirely on his missteps.



To set the record straight, let me quote from the current PPP government's letter it signed and sent to the IMF in 2008. Here is how it hails Musharraf's economic record without mentioning his name:

"Pakistan's economy witnessed a major economic transformation in the last decade. The country's real GDP increased from $60 billion to $170 billion, with per capita income rising from under $500 to over $1000 during 2000-07.....the volume of international trade increased from $20 billion to nearly $60 billion. The improved macroeconomic performance enabled Pakistan to re-enter the international capital markets in the mid-2000s. Large capital inflows financed the current account deficit and contributed to an increase in gross official reserves to $14.3 billion at end-June 2007. Buoyant output growth, low inflation, and the government's social policies contributed to a reduction in poverty and improvement in many social indicators". (see MEFP, November 20, 2008, Para 1).



In the 1990s, economic growth plummeted to between 3% and 4%, poverty rose to 33%, inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt mounted to nearly the entire GDP of Pakistan as the governments of Benazir Bhutto (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif (PML) played musical chairs. Before Sharif was ousted by General Musharraf in 1999, the two parties had presided over a decade of corruption and mismanagement. In 1999 Pakistan’s total public debt as percentage of GDP was the highest in South Asia – 99.3 percent of its GDP and 629 percent of its revenue receipts, compared to Sri Lanka (91.1% & 528.3% respectively in 1998) and India (47.2% & 384.9% respectively in 1998). Internal Debt of Pakistan in 1999 was 45.6 per cent of GDP and 289.1 per cent of its revenue receipts, as compared to Sri Lanka (45.7% & 264.8% respectively in 1998) and India (44.0% & 358.4% respectively in 1998).



The IMF has acknowledged that Pakistan became one of the four fastest growing economies in the Asian region during 2000-07 with its growth averaging 7.0 per cent per year for most of this period. As a result of strong economic growth, Pakistan succeeded in reducing poverty by one-half, creating almost 13 million jobs, halving the country's debt burden, raising foreign exchange reserves to a comfortable position and propping the country's exchange rate, restoring investors' confidence and most importantly, taking Pakistan out of the IMF Program.

Per Capita PPP GDP


Poverty in Pakistan decreased from about 34% to 17% and hunger went down with it during Musharraf years from 2000 to 2008, as reported by World Bank and IFPRI as lagging indicators. The global hunger index score, published annually by the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), is a number between zero and 100, with lower figure signifying less hunger.



While Pakistan's hunger index score improved over the last three year since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking rose from 61 to 58 to 52, India's index score worsened from 23.7 to 23.9 to 24.1 and its ranking moved from 66 to 65 to 67 on a list of 84 nations. Given the lag in reporting, the GHI scores represent data from 2003 to 2008.

At 22.67% improvement in its hunger score since 1990, Pakistan has improved less than India's 23.97% reduction, explained by little or no progress in Pakistan during the lost decade of the 1990s under Bhutto and Sharif governments.



Since the return of the current PPP government with its replay of incompetence and corruption of the 1990s, economic growth is barely keeping pace with population growth, per capita gdp has decreased, prices of basic commodities have risen 3 to 4 times of the level in 2008, the Pakistani rupee has lost about 30% of its value against the US dollar, and the nation's economy is on IMF's life support as it was prior to Musharraf's coup.

The corrupt and incompetent politicians from the 1990s have crushed all of the hopes and dreams Pakistani voters yet again, and their faith in democracy is being sorely tested.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings
Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Pakistan: A Contrarian Investor's Paradise

State Bank of Pakistan Quarterly Reports
Ishrat Husain: Structural Reforms in Pakistan's Economy
Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan
Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding
US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010
Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised
The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple
Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?
India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition
UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Financial Services Sector

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

South Asia Slipping in Human Development
Asia Gains in Top Asian Universities

BSE-Key Statistics
Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

India-Pakistan Military Comparison

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Energy Crisis

IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Afghan War Costs US Taxpayers $50 Million Per Dead Taliban

US War in Afghanistan entered its tenth year this week, making it the longest war in US history.

What began as a US-Saudi-Pakistani sponsored anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and led to the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001, is now threatening to engulf Africa, Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia in its growing flames. And its effects are continuing to be strongly felt in America and Europe.

The victorious veterans of the 1980s Afghan resistance have successfully indoctrinated and trained several generations of battle-hardened global jihadis to take on the United States and various pro-Western governments in Islamic nations in all parts of the world. This trend is accelerating as the US steps up its attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according a recent report in Newsweek magazine. Here is an excerpt from its report:

"The Central Asians retreated to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 1990s after failing to topple their home governments. Now they seem ready to try again, using guerrilla tactics and know-how they’ve picked up from the Taliban about improvised explosive devices. Small groups of Tajik and Uzbek militants began moving into Tajikistan in late winter 2009, says a Taliban subcommander in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz. In Kunduz they joined up with fighters from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a Qaeda-linked group active there and in Tajikistan. “Once these first groups made it back safely [to Tajikistan], they signaled to militants here in Kunduz and even in Pakistan’s tribal areas that the journey was possible,” the subcommander, who didn’t want to be named for security reasons, tells Newsweek."

As the war expands, it is now worth pondering over the current and future costs of what appears to be an interminable war on terror, and consider alternative approaches, including greater use of soft power.

Even if most Americans choose to assign no value to the lives of many poor Afghan and Pakistani civilians killed as "collateral", here is an analysis by a blogger at kabulpress.org of the exorbitant financial cost of the US war in Afghanistan to the American taxpayers:

The estimated cost to kill each Taliban is as high as $100 million, with a conservative estimate being $50 million.

1. Taliban Field Strength: 35,000 troops

2. Taliban Killed Per Year by Coalition forces: 2,000 (best available information)

3. Pentagon Direct Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion

4. Pentagon Indirect Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion

Using the fact that 2,000 Taliban are being killed each year and that the Pentagon spends $200 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan, one simply has to divide one number into the other. That calculation reveals that $100 million is being spent to kill each Taliban soldier. In order to be conservative, the author decided to double the number of Taliban being killed each year by U.S. and NATO forces (although the likelihood of such being true is unlikely). This reduces the cost to kill each Taliban to $50 million, which is the title of this article. The final number is outrageously high regardless of how one calculates it.

To put this information another way, using the conservative estimate of $50 million to kill each Taliban:

It costs the American taxpayers $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban

As the U.S. military estimates there to be 35,000 hard-core Taliban and assuming that no reinforcements and replacements will arrive from Pakistan and Iran:

Just killing the existing Taliban would cost $1.75 Trillion, not including the growing numbers of new Taliban recruits joining every day.

The reason for these exorbitant costs is that United States has the world’s most mechanized, computerized, weaponized and synchronized military, not to mention the most pampered (at least at Forward Operating Bases). An estimated 150,000 civilian contractors support, protect, feed and cater to the American personnel in Afghanistan, which is an astonishing number. The Americans enjoy such perks and distinctions in part because no other country is willing to pay (waste) so much money on their military.

The ponderous American war machine is a logistics nightmare and a maintenance train wreck. It is also part-myth. This author served at a senior level within the U.S. Air Force. Air Force “smart” bombs are no way near as consistently accurate as the Pentagon boasts; Army mortars remain inaccurate; even standard American field rifles are frequently outmatched by Taliban weapons, which have a longer range. The American public would pale if it actually learned the full story about the poor quality of the weapons and equipment that are being purchased with its tax dollars. The Taliban’s best ally within the United States may be the Pentagon, whose contempt for fiscal responsibility and accountability may force a premature U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Americans cannot continue to fund these Pentagon excesses.


The blogger argues that "if President Obama refuses to drastically reform the Pentagon’s inefficient way of making war, he may conclude that the Taliban is simply too expensive an enemy to fight. He would then have little choice but to abandon the Afghan people to the Taliban’s “Super-Soldiers.” That would be an intolerable disgrace".

Regardless of the killing efficiency of Pentagon's war machine, I do not think that the United States can win this war by military means alone. It's time for the American leadership to go beyond rhetoric and seriously implement its 80/20 strategy. The 80/ 20 rule, as outlined by General Petraeus, calls for 80% emphasis on the political/economic effort backed by 20% military component to fight the Taliban insurgency in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. This rule has led many to speculate about a US-backed "Marshall Plan" style effort to help Afghanistan and Pakistan expand the economic opportunity for their young and growing population, vulner able to exploitation by extremists.

I believe that the US has a stark choice in Afghanistan: Either spend %1.75 trillion on a losing war, or $200 billion in development funds to bring peace and honorable exit.

Just the long-neglected education and heathcare sectors can easily absorb tens of billions of dollars a year in Pakistan through government and non-government agencies.

In spite of all of the corruption and inefficiencies, the money will still be better spent on improving the lives of common people to live in peace than on war where the private defense contractors are looting the taxpayers in broad day light.

The need is great, and the funds are scarce in infrastructure projects. Massive funds are needed in clean water, sanitation, roads, bridges, power plants, schools and clinics projects to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals.

If America can get people busy doing productive work, there will be no need to kill them to try and win wars.

I highly recommend books like "Three Cups of Tea" and "Turning Stones into Schools" by Greg Mortenson to get a sense of what I am talking about.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

80/20 Strategy and Marshall Plan For Pakistan

UN Millennium Development Goals

Twentieth Anniversary of Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan

US Afghan Exit: Trigger for India to Talk to Pakistan?

Facts and Myths about Afghanistan and Pakistan

Obama's New Regional Strategy

Webchat On Obama's New Regional Strategy

Steph en Cohen on India-Pakistan Relations

Obama's Afghan Exit Strategy

Obama's New Regional Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

US Escalating Covert War in Pakistan?

Can India "Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

20th Anniversary of Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan

Growing Insurgency in Swat

Afghan War and Collapse of the Soviet Union

US, NATO Fighting to Stalemate in Afghanistan?

FATA Faceoff Fears

FATA Raid Charades

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jihadis Growing in Tenth Year of Afghan War

Today marks the 9th anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan, making it the longest war in US history.

What began as a US-Saudi-Pakistani sponsored anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and led to the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001, is now threatening to engulf Africa, Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia in its growing flames. And its effects are continuing to be strongly felt in America and Europe.

The victorious veterans of the 1980s Afghan resistance have successfully indoctrinated and trained several generations of battle-hardened global jihadis to take on the United States and various pro-Western governments in Islamic nations in all parts of the world. This trend is accelerating as the US steps up its attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according a recent report in Newsweek magazine. Here is an excerpt from its report:

"The Central Asians retreated to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 1990s after failing to topple their home governments. Now they seem ready to try again, using guerrilla tactics and know-how they’ve picked up from the Taliban about improvised explosive devices. Small groups of Tajik and Uzbek militants began moving into Tajikistan in late winter 2009, says a Taliban subcommander in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz. In Kunduz they joined up with fighters from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a Qaeda-linked group active there and in Tajikistan. “Once these first groups made it back safely [to Tajikistan], they signaled to militants here in Kunduz and even in Pakistan’s tribal areas that the journey was possible,” the subcommander, who didn’t want to be named for security reasons, tells Newsweek."



As the Central Asian fighters return to their home countries, there have also been similar reports of Arab jihadis moving into the Arabian peninsula, particularly Yemen. The American-born radical cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki is reportedly in Yemen, encouraging young Muslims to participate in global jihad against the West. Al-Awlaki is said to be linked to US Army Major Nidal Hasan, accused of murdering colleagues in shootings at Fort Hood.

In the past two years Al Qaida has established a local franchise in Yemen, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has claimed responsibility for audacious attacks – including the failed Christmas Day 2009 airplane bombing attempt in Detroit, Michigan, and an attempt to kill British Ambassador in Yemen earlier in 2010.

Beyond the Arabian peninsula, there are concerns about the rising Al Qaeda influence in the Horn of Africa. The head of Somalia's weakened transitional government, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has recently accused Islamist insurgents of seeking to turn the war-stricken country into a base for Al Qaeda to bring terror to the Horn of Africa.

Even as the foreign fighters leave the Afghan battle field to return for jihad in their home countries, the loss of troop strength for the Taliban is more than offset by a rush of young Afghans joining up, according to the Newsweek story. An Afghan government official in Kunduz’s Emam Saheb district told Newsweek that the insurgents now have near-total control of the province’s northern frontier.

Recognizing the expanding threat of global Jihad, the US Central Command has responded by setting up "Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force" which is charged with planning and conducting secret military operations in geographies under US CentCom. The main advantage of clandestine activity by special ops personnel is that it does not require the president’s approval or regular reports to Congress. This makes it easier to hide the operations from the public and provides plausible deniability to the President even if he gave the orders for operations. According to a New York Times report, “Special operations troops have already been sent into a number of countries to carry out reconnaissance missions, including operations to gather intelligence about airstrips and bridges.”

Unfortunately emphasis on armed warfare, open or secret, is no substitute for the use of soft power aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the populations at large. Rather than help to achieve peace and stability, the secret wars fuel further resentment, and often become counterproductive in defeating the extremists.

It is important for the United States to go beyond the rhetoric about winning the battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims. It is now time to step up its public diplomacy along with necessary foreign policy changes and a sincere charm offensive to try and win the hearts and minds of the common people in the Islamic world. Only then can the Islamic militants be isolated, marginalized, and eventually defeated.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

80/20 Strategy and Marshall Plan For Pakistan

US Afghan Exit: Trigger for India to Talk to Pakistan?

Facts and Myths about Afghanistan and Pakistan

Obama's New Regional Strategy

Webchat On Obama's New Regional Strategy

Stephen Cohen on India-Pakistan Relations

Obama's Afghan Exit Strategy

Obama's New Regional Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

US Escalating Covert War in Pakistan?

Can India "Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

20th Anniversary of Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan

Growing Insurgency in Swat

Afghan War and Collapse of the Soviet Union

US, NATO Fighting to Stalemate in Afghanistan?

FATA Faceoff Fears

FATA Raid Charades