Friday, September 2, 2011

Pakistani Diaspora is the World's 7th Largest

Nearly 5 million Pakistani emigrants make up the world's 7th largest disapora, according to the World Bank Factbook 2011. Adding the foreign-born children of these Pakistani emigres to the tally pushes the total figure up to about 7 million. The top five nations that the Pakistani diaspora calls home include the United Kingdom (1.2 million), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1.2 million), the United Arab Emirates (1.1 million), the United States (700,000) and Canada (300,000), according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

The nations ranking ahead of Pakistan are Mexico at #1, India at #2, Russia at #3, China at #4, Ukraine at #5 and Bangladesh at #6. Both the UK and Pakistan are tied at #7 with 4.7 million emigres, according to the World Bank.

World's Top 10 Diasporas:

Here are the top 10 national diasporas:

1. Mexico 11.9 million

2. India 11.4 million

3. Russia 11.1 million

4. China 8.3 million

5. Ukraine 6.6 million

6. Bangladesh 5.4 million

7. Pakistan 4.7 million

7. United Kingdom 4.7 million

8. Philippines 4.3 million

8. Turkey 4.3 million

9. Egypt 3.7 million

9. Kazakhstan 3.7 million

10. Germany 3.5 million

10. Italy 3.5 million

Diaspora Remittances:

The World Bank's Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011 ranks Pakistan at #11 in 2010 for remittances of $9.4 billion sent home by its diaspora. The State Bank of Pakistan reported that overseas Pakistanis sent home $5.291 billion during six months from July to Dec, 2010, an increase of $761 million or 17 per cent year over year, according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

India tops this list with remittances of $55 billion sent home in 2010, followed by China ($51 billion), Mexico ($22.6 billion), Philippines ($21.3 billion), France ($15.9 billion), Germany ($11.6 billion), Bangladesh ($11.1 billion), Belgium ($10.4 billion), Spain ($10.2 billion), Nigeria ($10 billion) and Pakistan ($9.4 billion).

Per Capita Remittances:

In terms of per capita remittances based the World Bank data, China leads the world with an average of $6,100 sent home by each member of the Chinese diaspora, followed by the Philippines ($4,953), India ($4,824), Bangladesh ($2055), Pakistan ($2000), Mexico ($1904), UK ($1,574), Ukraine ($803) and Russia ($504). These per capita figures are an indication of the wealth of each diaspora and the extent of the brain drain experienced by these nations.

Top Immigration Countries:

With 42.8 million immigrants, the United States is home to the world's largest immigrant population. India and Pakistan also have the distinction of being on the list with 5.4 million immigrants in India at #10 and Pakistan with 4.2 million immigrants at #13. Other nations on this list include Russia at #2 (12.3 million immigrants), Germany at #3 (10.8 million), Saudi Arabia at #4 (7.3 million), Canada at #5 (7.2 million), the UK at #6 (7 million), Spain at #7 (6.9 million), France at #8 (6.7 million) and Australia at #9 (5.5 million).

Examples of Diaspora's Role:

Diasporas of various nations are mutually beneficial to both the sending and the receiving countries. They send home the money to help their families and friends financially. And they often acquire advanced education and technical, professional and managerial skills and contribute to solving problems in their host nations in the West. And given the right political and policy context, the members of the diaspora can also help their countries of origin by using their deep knowledge of their home countries and by offering advanced skills, experience and knowledge acquired in more developed nations.

In terms of development help with the skills and capital of the diaspora for their home nations, there are three examples of fairly old and mature diasporas: China, India and Armenia. While China and India have benefited greatly from their diasporas, Armenia has lagged badly, according to a World Bank report titled "Work Globally, Develop Locally: Diaspora Networks as Springboards of Knowledge-Based Development".

Pakistani Diaspora's Role:

In Pakistan's case, growing remittances amounting to 5% of its gdp in 2010 from the nation's diaspora provided an important lifeline for the state of Pakistan in funding its large current account deficit and in helping the individuals and families receiving the funds to supplement their incomes.

Remittances are a source of income for households in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and other provinces in Pakistan, according to a 2010 World Bank report titled "Poverty fell in Pakistan in 2001-08 partly because of remittances". A recent Asian Development Bank study found that foreign remittances constituted 9.4 percent of household income in KP, compared to 5.1% for Punjab, 1.5% for Baluchistan, and 0.7% for Sindh.

Beyond the remittances, can Pakistan also benefit from its growing diaspora like India and China have from theirs? With millions of Pakistanis in Europe and America, many of them highly skilled entrepreneurs and business and technology professionals, Pakistani diaspora can be very helpful to their home country in its business, economic, social, political, educational and technological development. The realization of such great potential will only be possible if Pakistani government's public policy, public-private partnerships and state-to-state relations with the West create the necessary conditions for it to happen. Existing organizations of Pakistanis, such as OPEN Silicon Valley, APPNA, and PakAlumni Worldwide, can be helpful in such an endeavor.



Among the emerging diaspora networks, the effort of South African Network of Skills Abroad (SANSA), established by the University of Cape Town’s Science and Technology Policy Research Center, is worth watching. SANSA aims to promote collaboration between highly skilled expatriate scientists and technologists and their counterparts in South Africa. The target group is alumni of all major South African universities working in the West.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

PakAlumni Worldwide

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision

OPEN Forum 2010

Pakistani-American in $500 Million NFL Deal

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Pakistani-American Elected Mayor

Fighting Poverty Through Microfinance in Pakistan

Silicon Valley Summit of Pakistani Entrepreneurs

Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

Media and Telecom Sectors Growing in Pakistan

Pakistan's Middle Class Growth in 1999-2009

Social Entrepreneurs Target India, Pakistan

62 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

While there is nothing wrong with being a taxi driver, all this bigoted talk by presumably Indian commentators(sent to me but not posted) about most of the taxi drivers in America being Pakistani is just nonsense as confirmed by the NY Times data.

It shows that there are 16000 Indian taxi drivers in America versus 10,000 Pakistan taxi drivers.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/07/us/20090407-immigration-country.html#view=52100

I see that most taxi drivers, 711 workers, gas station attendants, liquor store clerks and newsstand sellers in the United States are Indian....and it's not surprising given that there are a large number of legal and illegal Indian immigrants in US.

Even Hilary Clinton once joked about it saying "He (Gandhi) ran a gas station down in St. Louis.”


Anecdotally, here's this excerpt from Time Magazine about Indians in New Jersey:

"I am very much in favor of immigration everywhere in the U.S. except Edison, N.J. The mostly white suburban town I left when I graduated from high school in 1989 — the town that was called Menlo Park when Thomas Alva Edison set up shop there and was later renamed in his honor — has become home to one of the biggest Indian communities in the U.S., as familiar to people in India as how to instruct stupid Americans to reboot their Internet routers....

For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1999416,00.html

Data Cruncher said...

Hello Riaz,

For a person who is so careful to cultivate the image of Pakistan and Pakistans == India and Indians, I must say I am surprised that you posted NY Times data as if you are right. If any thing, many of your often repeated points have been blown away. Let me take it point by point.

1. There is dignity of labor. Nothing wrong being a taxi driver, just like there is nothing wrong being a software coolie. Will you apologize to all indians and me included (I am also a coolie as can be seen in my nick).

2. I once maintained that for every 1 pakistani in IT I see 30 indians. The data confirms it(125K vs 4K).

3. Look at top 3 indian professions and you will see where indian education stands or where indians stand. What do you think is the reason Pak is so far behind.

4. For every Hillary Clinton jokes, there is Obama's repeated reference to american children should be able to compete with Chinese and Indian children. Strange you don't mention that.

Ego is a bad thing and we Pakistan have a massive chip over our shoulder when it comes to India.

You also don't understand why indians love to send you such bigoted mails. It is because you don't seem to live without mentioning India. Stop comparing Pak with India. Stop commenting on India and you will see Indians disappear. Take a look at your Karachi violence post. How many indians posted in it.

Anonymous said...

Indians are the richest national origin group in the USA overall and Hindus are the second richest religious affiliation in the US after Jews.


There is a reason Indians are referred to as 'brown jews' by many people around the world(google about this)

Riaz Haq said...

DC: "I once maintained that for every 1 pakistani in IT I see 30 indians. The data confirms it(125K vs 4K)."

I have never doubted that Indians have cornered the code coolie business....making up 16% of NRIs in India. So why focus on just one particular profession?

Why don't you also highlight the fact that 7.2% of Pakistani-Americans are doctors versus only 5.3% of Indians?

Also not the fact that more Indians are escaping "Shining India" as obvious from two facts:

1. India's illegal immigration into US has risen 125% since 2000.

2. Indian population in US has risen 260% from 1990-2007 vs 220% for Pakistanis in America in the same period.

http://escapefromindia.wordpress.com/

DC: "Take a look at your Karachi violence post. How many indians posted in it."

I get the same hateful comments from many Indian readers regardless of the subject of my post. The fact that you don't see all of them is because most such comments are quickly put away in my circular file.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Indians are the richest national origin group in the USA overall and Hindus are the second richest religious affiliation in the US after Jews."

It also confirms the severity of brain drain from India to US...particularly given the fact that Indians have among the lowest graduation rates (3.1%)at tertiary level in India...even lower than Pakistan's (3.9%).

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/08/pakistan-ahead-of-india-in-graduation.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's US Vice President Joe Biden on Indian-Americans working at 711s and Dunkin Donuts in Delaware, according to CBS:

On a recent edition of the C-SPAN series "Road to the White House," the Delaware Democrat is shown shaking hands with a man and boasting about his support among Indian-Americans.

"I've had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking," Biden said.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/07/politics/main1785303.shtml

vicks1980 said...

Riaz, in a post about Pakistani diaspora, you, courtesy your petty sniggering at India and Indians have once again reduced what could have been an interesting discussion into a slanging match between India and Pakistan. I've long been a reader of your blog, and that is because you do seem to possess a wealth of data which is useful to any informed Indian or Pakistani, even if your data are always presented so as to make Pakistan look head and shoulders above India. If you were to put aside your intrinsic hatred of us Hindu infidels and look dispassionately at facts, I'm sure that your blog will be frequented by many more intelligent readers from India, which will serve to enlighten, inform and benefit people on both sides of the border.

Anonymous said...

^^
Dunkin donuts or no dunkin donuts Indians are the richest national group in USA and are richer than the average in UK,Canada,Australia,Singapore and all other I world countries etc.

Brain drain doesn't seem to have had a significant effect in slowing industrialization or creating world class companies at home.If anything they have created large conduits for Indian businesses to enter and transfer technology and advanced management practices.Not to mention the massive remmitance flows which keeps the CAD well within manageable limits.

'It shows that there are 16000 Indian taxi drivers in America versus 10,000 Pakistan taxi drivers.'

umm given ratio and proportion ie India is 7 times larger so if India was as bad as pakistan there should have been 70,000 taxi drivers instead on only 16,000.ie India is 4 times better in this metric.

But way of please don't let facts get in the way of your rhetoric.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "mm given ratio and proportion ie India is 7 times larger so if India was as bad as pakistan there should have been 70,000 taxi drivers instead on only 16,000.ie India is 4 times better in this metric."

The stereotype being discussed here is that Pakistanis are all taxi driver in America, and this stereotype is clearly demolished by the fact that there are 60% more Indian taxi drivers than Pakistani tax drivers in America.

The data also confirms the severity of brain drain from India to US...particularly given the fact that Indians have among the lowest graduation rates (3.1%)at tertiary level in India...even lower than Pakistan's (3.9%).

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/08/pakistan-ahead-of-india-in-graduation.html

Ashmit (India) said...

Mr. Haq
Your pervese attempts to colour the opinion of netizens is really disappointing. Specially, since you resort to mutilating facts beyond recognition. Allow me to add some perspective.
1. Indian Taxi drivers - 16,000 and Pak Taxi driver - 10,000. According to the NYT data that you quoted Indian drivers account for only 2.157% of the total worker in various occupations. Where pak drivers account for 9.606% of the total pak workers. Roughly that means that every 1 out 10 pakistani in US is a taxi driver.
2. But assuming that one believes in dignity of labour, let's take a more objective indicator of 'power' of respective diasporas - median income. Median income for indians (2007) stands at USD 91,195 (http://www.nritoday.net/national-affairs/475-indian-americans-the-fastest-growing-and-the-highest-income-group). Pak doesn't even come close. Median income for pak (2005) stands at a measely USD 57,852 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistani_American). Clearly, drving cabs doesn't help finances.
3. As for brain drain. Acc to the NYT data, total number of Indian Software developers number around 125,300. From Tamil Nadu ALONE, for engineering ALONE - there are 175,000 gradutes approx. per annum. Ever heard of the words - "India's demographic dividend"??
4. Here's another indicator. Lobbying capabilities. I recommend a read of the following work of Dr. Aminah Mohammad-Arif (http://www.ceri-sciencespo.com/archive/jan01/lobbying.pdf). He concludes that the indiad diaspora for reasons such as economic might, the Indian diaspora has been more successful.
5. As for escaping from india?! Pak's diaspora stands at 4.7 million - which is 2.76% of pak's population. Meanwhile, indian diapora includes 11.4 million, ONLY 0.95%. Looks to me that Pakistanis are more keen on escaping a failing state, than Indian's escaping "shining india".
6. And finally, your cheap shot by quoting the Time Magazine article. If you had bothered to dig a little deeper, you would have discovered that both, Time and Joel Stein have issued apologies for the racial and "bigoted" article.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit:

I suggest you and other readers read an Indian blogger's post "Why one million Indians Escape from India every year" to get a full dose reality about "Shining India":

Here are a few excerpts:

Any crackdown on illegal immigrants abroad or restricting quotas to Indians are a major concern to India’s politicians. The latest statistics from US Department of Homeland Security shows that the numbers of Indian illegal migrants jumped 125% since 2000! Ever wondered why Indians migrate to another countries but no one comes to India for a living?
------
Quit India!

Sixty years ago Indians asked the British to quit India. Now they are doing it themselves. To live with dignity and enjoy relative freedom, one has to quit India! With this massive exodus, what will be left behind will be a violently charged and polarized society.
----------
15 per cent Hindu upper castes inherited majority of India’s civil service, economy and active politics from British colonial masters. And thus the caste system virtually leaves lower caste Hindus in to an oppressed majority in India’s power structure. Going by figures quoted by the Backward Classes Commission, Brahmins alone account for 37.17 per cent of the bureaucracy. [Who is Really Ruling India?]

The 2004 World Development Report mentions that more than 25% of India’s primary school teachers and 43% of primary health care workers are absent on any given day!
-----------
About 40 million primary school-age children in India are not in school. More than 92 % children cannot progress beyond secondary school. According to reports, 35 per cent schools don’t have infrastructure such as blackboards and furniture. And close to 90 per cent have no functional toilets. Half of India’s schools still have leaking roofs or no water supply.

Japan has 4,000 universities for its 127 million people and the US has 3,650 universities for its 301 million, India has only 348 universities for its 1.2 billion people. In the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities by Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong, only two Indian Universities are included. Even those two IITs in India found only a lower slot (203-304) in 2007 report. Although Indian universities churn out three million graduates a year, only 15% of them are suitable employees for blue-chip companies. Only 1 million among them are IT professionals.


http://escapefromindia.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

"There are currently (as of 2005) 40,838 doctors of Indian origin in the United States of America and they account for 5% of all doctors in the USA and 20% of all International Medical Graduates employed in the US workforce. It is noteworthy that India provides the largest number of International Medical Graduates to the US in absolute numbers. With 59,523 Physicians of Indian Origin working in the English speaking Western world (the US, UK, Australia and Canada combined), India is by far the single largest source of emigre physicians in the world. [1]"

Jack Welch said about India "india is a developing country with an already developed intellectual capability" [ Quoted in The World is Flat ].

When do you think someone like Jack Welch would say the same about Pakistan

2025
2050
2075

Select one of the above.

We understand that you are very envious.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "It is noteworthy that India provides the largest number of International Medical Graduates to the US in absolute numbers. "

All this while India ranks #124 (0.6 physicians per 1000 people) on a list of 204 countries in terms of access to doctors. This compares with Pakistan at #120 with 0.74 doctors per 1000, according to Nationmaster.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_phy_per_1000_peo-physicians-per-1-000-people

It also explains why Indians have higher disease burdens and shorter life expectancy (64 yrs) than Pakistanis (67 yrs) by 3 years.

Ashmit (India) said...

"All this while India ranks #124 (0.6 physicians per 1000 people) on a list of 204 countries in terms of access to doctors. This compares with Pakistan at #120 with 0.74 doctors per 1000"

Well, pak might have more physicians, but according to Nationmaster - not enough hospital beds for the the people to seek treatment from those physicians.

India has 0.9 beds per 1000 people. While pak has 0.7 beds per 100 people. That's a difference of nearly 30%.

But the key takeaway is not status quo, but corrective action.

And indians are spending far more than what pak can afford. India's dollar spend per capita on health is USD 31.4. Meanwhile, pak spends ONLY USD 13.4. Which means, India spends 131% more than pak.

Moreover the GDP spend is also higher. India allocates 6.1 percent of GDP, which is 91% more than 3.2 percent of the GDP allocated by pak. India is ranked 89th and pak stands at 172.

PS - statistics sourced from Nationmaster.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "And indians are spending far more than what pak can afford. India's dollar spend per capita on health is USD 31.4. Meanwhile, pak spends ONLY USD 13.4. Which means, India spends 131% more than pak. "

And what does India get for it? Shorter life spans and higher disease burdens than in Pakistan.

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.

India lags behind its neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh, on human development indices like life expectancy at birth and mean or average years of schooling and gender parity, a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report released last year said.

Titled "Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development", the report had a global launch and was released at the UN in New York by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, according to media reports.

According to the report, life expectancy at birth in India is 64.4 years, while in Pakistan it is 67.2 years. In Bangladesh, life expectancy is 66.9 years.

ragho said...

''And thus the caste system virtually leaves lower caste Hindus in to an oppressed majority in India’s power structure.'' Indian society is still following the heirarchies of caste at social
level. But at political level it is all together a different
matter.Two large most populus states Bihar and UP are continuously run by dalits and backward classes for last 2 decades. In the highly
enlightened state Tamil Nadu the power is equally shared by backward classes or perhaps even more. Even if the present chief minister is a brahmin, that state
compulsarily follows a whopping 69% reservation to backward classes. At the end 15 year rule of Lalu's era in bihar, a person from backward class commented, ''earlier when we were walking, forward class people used
to spit before us and we used to jump out of the way. Now we are
spitting and they are jumping out of the way''.Even the present CM of bihar, nitish kumar belongs a very backward class. when he won the election for second consecutive time with sadak,siksha,suraksha slogan
(roads, education and law and order) with overwhelming majority
against Lalu by showing vast improvement in law and order in
development then an analyst commeted '' had it not been for Lalu who buldozed his way into uppercastes possession of tyrannycal political and social power, then Nitish would not have existed now''.So in a way
Indian democracy,with all its flaws, is providing a breather for the oppressed sections of extremely feudal society, albeit painfully slowly. In India and (in Pakistan also I guess) with emergence of middle class due raise of economy,large number of people(small in
percentage of total population) are escaping the miserable life of
fuedal society. But are backward classes of Pakistan able to raise to heights of political power? ( It is quite another matter that
Mayavathi now and lalu then went on feeding themselves through lot of corruption instead of uplifting the economic state of the very
backward classes they represented)

Anonymous said...

Dear Riaz

the figures

India 11.4 million

Bangladesh 5.4 million

Pakistan 4.7 million

give some false idea of immigration. India is 6 times larger than Pakistan or Bangladesh. Also the figures of India contains people who left beofre the creation of Pakistan or Bangladesh. So the rate of immigration from Pakistan and Bangladesh is at least 6 times higher than India's. Alo the foreign remittences for India is mostly through middle east workers. Usually the other diaspora from USA etc contribute very little.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "So the rate of immigration from Pakistan and Bangladesh is at least 6 times higher than India's.."

Where's the evidence? Opinions are not facts!

A 2006 opinion poll by Outlook—AC Nielsen shows that 46 % of India's urban class wants to settle down in US.

If US did not limit immigration from high-immigration countries like India, it would be inundated by Indians.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a fact about the "Money Order Economy" of the Indian state of Kerala often ignored:

Kerala has about two million people working overseas out of the total state population of about 30 million, according to BBC's Soutik Biswas....two orders of magnitude higher proportion (66 per 1000) than either Bangladesh (0.65 per 1000) or Pakistan (0.5 per 1000), according to Nationmaster. Their remittances may be one of the reasons why Kerala has less poverty and higher social indicators than the rest of India.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a France24 story about New York's "Little Pakistan":

Following the 9/11 attacks of 2001, renewed fears of terrorism turned the New York community of Little Pakistan into a ghost town. But 10 years later, this Brooklyn neighbourhood has learned some important lessons in community activism.
-----
In Little Pakistan, a New York neighbourhood where the store signs are in English and Urdu, the rich smell of freshly fried samsosas entices mothers in hijabs walking their children home from school.

On the corner of Coney Island and Foster avenues, a cheerful, matronly woman roasting corn on a charcoal spit provides a lively commentary on the neighborhood. “This is Little Pakistan, it's going well here,” Kaneez Fatima says, in her native Urdu. “This is my home. I'm the queen of this place,” she adds with a throaty laugh. Around her, a clutch of clients chomping her roasted corn sportingly agree.

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, commerce is brisk – or as brisk as one could hope for during an economic crisis – along this stretch of Coney Island Avenue.

The area has come a long way since the dark days following the biggest terrorist attacks on US soil. As law enforcement officials began patrolling here and detaining hundreds of Pakistani immigrants – often for minor infractions – in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a climate of fear gripped the community. Numerous wives, mothers and sisters, some of them non-English speakers, had no idea back then where their menfolk were being held.

In the following months, once-thriving stores permanently closed their shutters as thousands of Pakistani immigrants packed up and left, often either for Canada or Pakistan. By May 2003, about 15,000 of the once 120,000-strong community had left, according to Pakistani government estimates.
----
Of the estimated 700,000 Pakistani-Americans, roughly two-thirds live in the New York area. Over the past decade, Little Pakistan has periodically turned into a focal point for journalists who swoop down on the area to take the community's temperature with every new black mark on Pakistan's terrorism track record.

And there have been many black marks. In May 2010, a newly nationalised US citizen of Pakistani origin attempted to detonate an explosive device in a car on Times Square. When he was arrested, Faisal Shahzad admitted to receiving bomb-making training in Pakistan’s Waziristan province.

A year later, US Navy SEALS and CIA operatives found and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a house in Abbottabad, not far from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, renewing US suspicions that Pakistan's military establishment is protecting Islamist militants.

With every crisis in US-Pakistani relations, community leaders in Little Pakistan spring into action, taking to the airwaves to reiterate the community's rejection of violence and their history of being patriotic, law-abiding US citizens.
------------
COPO, for instance, was founded by a local businessman who turned his fabric store into a temporary community service centre, believing that once the neighbourhood's immediate problems were resolved, he would close down the organisation and get back to business.

Engaging with America

Nearly a decade later, COPO not only survives but has vastly expanded its operations, conducting English-language classes, youth programs and forums where law enforcement officials meet with community members in order to discuss each other's concerns.

Caught unprepared shortly after 9/11, the community is now keenly aware of the importance of empowering its members to engage actively with officials in their new home, rather than fearing and fleeing them.
...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a brief summary of Pakistan foreign education market put together by the British Council:

Pakistan is one of the six countries which accounts for 54 percent of the UK’s (non-EU) international students. After September 2001, it has become the market leader, a place traditionally taken by the US, but the US is picking up after a long time, owing to simplified visa procedures and increased marketing efforts, not to forget the excellent scholarship opportunities that thy have to offer Pakistani students.

There were 5222 students from Pakistan studying in the United States in 2009/2010 (Source:IIE Opendoors). Pakistan now has the largest Fulbright Scholarship Programme in the world. There is an upward trend of Pakistani students studying in Australia. 2557 students studied in Australia in 2009/2010 compared to 2190 in 2008/2009 (Source: AEI). Other European countries have also become quite active in marketing their education in Pakistan. Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are more visible and perceived as offering quality education at lower prices. UK has remained the highest in this with 10,420 students studying in the UK in 2009/2010 (HESA, 2011).


Market opportunities
Pakistan is predominantly a postgraduate market, of the students currently studying in the UK, approximately 71 per cent are postgraduate and 29 per cent undergraduate. While the further education market is still relatively small, there is potential for growth, as there is a greater need for skills in a more service sector-led economy.

One-year Master's programmes are popular, due to their shorter duration compared to competitors. A further major aspect of the postgraduate market is the relatively wide availability of scholarships by UK institutions and Government funding agencies. In addition to the Pakistan Government‘s new overseas scholarship schemes, this target group also has access to scholarships offered by international organisation such as IMF, Commonwealth and World Bank. Popular subject areas are for 2009- 2010 are Business Studies, Engineering, Computer Sciences, Social Sciences followed by law.

Based on HESA statistics, the total number of Pakistani students enrolled in the UK was 10,420 in 2009 / 2010, a 2 percent growth on 2008/2009.

There is also significant growth in GCE O- and A-levels conducted in Pakistan, which naturally leads to demand for UK undergraduate study. More than 46,000 students took these examinations in 2010 / 2011. Popular subjects include business, law, accountancy, IT, management and engineering.

Foundation programmes have a market in Pakistan as a pathway from 12-year study into UK higher education.

Vocational programmes are a new market in Pakistan, with increasing student awareness of the opportunities. National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC) is a regulatory body for promoting linkages among various stakeholders to address challenges aced by Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET)....

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is among the biggest sources of foreign students for OECD countries' colleges and universities. Here's how the Australians see Pakistan's education market:

The education and training sector has been one of the major contributors of Australian services exports into Pakistan market.

Australia is increasingly being recognised as a supplier of a quality education services, with very significant advantages in terms of cost vis a vis UK and USA. To ensure that Australian education providers remain interested and committed to the market, Austrade works closely with both agents and institutions to value add and extend full cooperation and assistance to sustain and increase market share.

The market demand has doubled over the last three years but one of the major constrain to this growth has been the political and economic instability in addition to travel advisory with certain travel restrictions, issues such as lengthy student visa process (now shifted to Adelaide), and less participation/visit of institutions’ representative in the education events or interview/seminar programs.

There is substantial demand in Pakistan from students, parents and employers for private quality higher education along with a willingness and capacity to pay comparatively high fees. Private institutions are seeking affiliations with universities abroad to ensure they offer information and training that is of international standards.

International donor agencies such as DFID and USAID are funding various projects focusing on teacher’s training and capacity building of the public sector institutions.

In response to increased trade competition and need for a high performing work force, the Government of Pakistan is strongly emphasising vocational training.

Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system delivers training that is practical and career-oriented could service some of this demand.

The online delivery of programs has potential where Pakistani residents wish to enhance their skills, but are not able to undertake long-term study out of the country. Hospitality is one area where distance education is a preferred option.

Doing business in Pakistan is not without hurdles. Security concerns, inadequate infrastructure and differences in business culture are some of the major challenges faced by Australian institutions or exporters, but the opportunities are not to be underestimated.
Competitive environment

The USA, the UK and Australia are the three destinations most popular with Pakistani students. Most students at the Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree level locally are looking for opportunities to study abroad, often while they complete their Pakistani studies.

An overseas qualification improves chances of gaining a better opportunity in the job market.


http://www.austrade.gov.au/Education-to-Pakistan/default.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an Op Ed in Express Tribune about Pakistan's "demographic dividend":

Pakistan has a rare opportunity to capitalise on its population bulge, fast turning into a ‘youth bulge’. It is faced with a demographic transition whereby the size of the working age population (15-64 years) will expand to occupy a larger share of the total population. This is expected to decrease the dependency ratio, lead to increased savings and long-term investment trends as more people will be working. This outcome has a direct influence on economic growth. But provided that the working age people are actually working and that the gender and educational gap do not keep potential workforces including females, out of the job market.

With around 50 per cent of the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan is poised for a ‘demographic dividend’, with its workforce growing at a faster rate than total population. This trend is estimated to continue for the next 30-40 years, depending upon the country’s pace of development. Pakistan’s population is projected to reach a staggering 350 million by 2050, almost double its present size, not a very encouraging indicator by itself. But the projected age structure in various demographic studies shows a sizable share to be occupied by the working age group progressively.
---------
A successful outcome will finally depend on the economy’s ability to absorb the multiplying work force into productive employment. This requires a proactive approach from policy makers to develop a comprehensive framework for infrastructure development and manpower training. The immense benefits and equally innumerable risks involved have to be timely realised.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/275878/demographic-dividend--opportunity-or-threat/

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank’s new estimates released on Thursday placed Pakistan among top 10 recipients of remittances among developing countries, fetching $12 billion this year, reports Dawn:

India leads with $58 billion followed by China at $57 billion, Mexico $24 billion and the Philippines $23 billion.

Bangladesh follows Pakistan with $12 billion, Nigeria 11 billion, Vietnam $9 billion and Egypt and Lebanon $8 billion each.

Remittance costs have fallen steadily from 8.8 per cent in 2008 to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2011.

The ‘Outlook for Remittance Flow 2012-14’ shows that the officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $351 billion in 2011, up 8 per cent over 2010.

Worldwide remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, reached $406 billion in 2011 and are expected to rise to $515 billion by 2014.

There are several sources of vulnerability to forecasts for remittances to developing countries.

The ongoing debt crisis in Europe and high unemployment rates in high-income OECD countries are adversely affecting economic and employment prospects of migrants.

These persistently high unemployment rates have created political pressures to reduce current levels of immigration.

There are risks that if the European crisis deepens, immigration controls in these countries could become even tighter.

This would affect remittance flows to all regions – especially to countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The World Bank report says that high oil prices, which have hovered over $100 a barrel in recent months, continue to provide a much-needed cushion for migrant employment in, and remittance flows from, the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and Russia. Oil driven economic activities and increased spending on infrastructure development are making these countries attractive for migrants from developing countries.

Remittances from the GCC countries to Bangladesh and Pakistan where the GCC countries account for 60 per cent or more of overall remittance inflows grew by 8 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively in the first three quarters of 2011 on a year-on-year basis.

The Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI), a joint initiative of the central bank and Pakistan’s government, has been working actively with commercial banks and money transfer operators to lower the cost of inward remittances and improve the payments systems and delivery channels in order to bring a larger share of remittances into formal channels.

The indigenisation programmes being considered or implemented in the GCC countries like the ‘Nitaqat’ programme in Saudi Arabia have raised concerns of adverse implications for future remittances to the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other migrant-sending countries, it says.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/02/wb-report-pakistan-among-top-10-recipients-of-remittances.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on US Congressman Kucinich speaking to Pakistani-American doctors in America:

WASHINGTON: A United States Congressman from Ohio has called on his government to apologise to Pakistan, and for NATO to pay compensation to the families of 24 soldiers killed in a NATO air strike on a Pakistani border check post on November 26.

Speaking at an event organised by the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democrat, said relations with Pakistan was a critical issue. “We need to apologise to the people of Pakistan, NATO must pay reparations to the families of the soldiers.”

His remarks come a day after US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for Pakistan’s funding to be reviewed.

(Read: Key US Senators urge review of Pakistan funding)

Pakistani doctors face visa wall to working in US

Dr Zaffar Iqbal, a member of the 17000-member strong APPNA said “Last year, only 90 doctors came to work in the US.”

Speaking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of an event organized by APPNA at the Rayburn House Office Building to highlight to Congressmen the issues faced by Pakistani physicians applying for visas to work in the US, Dr Iqbal said numerous young physicians applying for visas to work in the US are facing delays or are being rejected by the US embassy and consulates. “They don’t get their visas on time, and hence can’t join their residencies that they’ve been offered.” Dr Iqbal said that hospitals then become reluctant to offer residencies to Pakistani physicians.

He added that due to less Pakistanis being given visas, the number of Indian doctors coming to the US to work has more than doubled in the past few years.

Dr Manzoor Tariq, President of APPNA, said that they had held meetings with the State Department and Homeland Security to urge them to facilitate the process.

The event also saw a number of members of Congress attending, and looking at APPNA posters highlighting statistics of the decrease in Pakistani physicians coming to the US. APPNA says that a majority of Pakistani doctors work in the rural areas of the US, and provide a vital service to the country.

Addressing the event, Congressman Kucinich said, “I’m aware of complexities around US-Pakistan relations, but you are our brothers and sisters, and we need to help facilitate those who want to take care of people here”.

Paying tribute to the Pakistani community in her district of Nevada, Congresswoman Birkley added that the US was facing a shortage of medical professionals, and offered her support to APPNA to push for more visas for Pakistani doctors.

Other members of Congress who attended the event and lent support to APPNA included Senator Bob Casey, Claire McCaskill, Congressman Guthrie and others.

Addressing the event, Tim Lenderking, the head of the Pakistan desk at the State Department, said that it was important to talk to the Embassy. “Pakistan has done a great job in contributing to healthcare in the United States, and we want to support that.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Dr Iqbal that this year 90 doctors from Pakistan came to the US. Also Congressman Kucinich was listed a Republican. This is incorrect. The error is regretted.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/303012/us-should-appologise-to-pakistan-nato-pay-reparations-to-soldiers-congressman-kucinich/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some of the highlights of Pakistani-American data from US Census 2010 as gleaned from a report titled "A Community of Contrasts Asian Americans in the United States: 2011" published by Asian-American Center For Advancing Justice:

1. There are 409,163 Pakistani-Americans in 2010, the 7th largest Asian-American community in America.

2. Pakistani-American population doubled from 2000 to 2010, the second largest percentage increase after Bangladeshis' 157% increase in the same period.

3. 6% of Pakistani-American population is mixed race.

4. 65% of Pakistanis in America are foreign-born. 57% of Pakistani-American population is naturalized citizens.

5. There are 120,000 Pakistani legal permanent residents of which 42% are eligible to naturalize.

6. There were 69,202 immigrant visas issued to Pakistanis from 2001 to 2010.

7. 28% of Pakistanis have limited English proficiency.

8. Average per capita income of Pakistani-Americans is $24,663.00 and 15% of them are classified as poor.

9. 55% of Pakistanis own their own homes.

10. 55% of Pakistanis have bachelor's degree or higher.

http://www.advancingjustice.org/pdf/Community_of_Contrast.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has 5 million illegal immigrants, reports Daily Times:

The National Assembly was told on Friday that about five million illegal immigrants were residing in different parts of the country due to local and regional disturbances.

In a written statement, the Ministry of Interior told the NA that out of the five million illegal immigrants, approximately two million were Bangladeshis, 2.5 million were Afghans, and 0.5 million other nationals, including Africans, Iranians, Iraqis and Myanmarese, who had been living in the country for more than three decades.

The main reasons for these illegal immigrants was said to be partition of Pakistan in 1971, Cold War in Afghanistan in 1980’s, poor law and order situation in Iraq, and the availability of safe havens in Pakistan. The Interior Ministry said that the friendly policies and international obligations of Pakistan to accommodate Afghan refugees was another reason for illegal immigrants in the country.

The NA was told that the government had taken a number of measures to discourage the inflow of illegal immigrants, including establishment of Anti-Trafficking Units at provincial police headquarters for combating internal human trafficking. For reducing illegal foreigner inflow the government has replaced Personal Identification Secure Comparison Evaluation System (PISCES) with Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) having biometric facility.

The Upper House was informed that the Interior Ministry has blacklisted traffickers, introduced Machine Readable Passports (MRP), established an immigration check-post at zero point-250 in Balochistan. The government has also promulgated Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (PACHTO) 2002.

Due to such efforts, Pakistan has been upgraded from Tier-II Watch List to Tier-II in the annual Trafficking in Person Report (TIP) 2010, published by the State Department of the United States. This year Pakistan maintained its Tier-II status.

The NA was told that to further strengthen the immigration system, particulars of all passengers with multiple passports and multiple CNICs are placed on the “Stop Person’s List” in PISCES, which is installed at Exit and Entry checkposts of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) at airports.

This helps in detaining illegal immigrants, who are then handed over to the FIA and Anti-Human Trafficking Circles (AHTC) for legal action in accordance with the relevant laws.

The Interior Ministry said that 9,590 cases of multiples passports had been blocked in the system and legal action was underway.

The ministry said that the government had given general amnesty to such persons to surrender their multiple CNICs and passports voluntarily. However, 3,110 applications had been received for cancellation of one extra passport, out of which 1,720 passports had been cancelled, while 1,390 cases were pending for want of verification by security agencies or deposit of requisite fee.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\01\07\story_7-1-2012_pg7_6

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Express Tribune on Saudi Arabia hiring thousands of Pakistani doctors:

Dr Nawaz* (not his real name) is a medical officer (MO) at Mayo Hospital and, like all government-employed doctors in BPS-17, got a Rs15,000 raise last year, taking his monthly pay to Rs44,000. Yesterday, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health offered him a job for 6,000 riyals (Rs145,000) a month.

“It’s a handsome offer. I’m going to take it,” said the doctor after an interview with the Overseas Employment Corporation, a Pakistani government agency that is hiring doctors for Saudi Arabia.

At Mayo Hospital, Dr Nawaz has to serve in shifts of up to 48 hours straight. In Saudi Arabia, he will get two days off each week and work eight-hour days.

“Here we have a lot of uncertainty. We cannot get a raise unless we protest and boycott work. I am getting out of it,” he said.

Dr Nawaz has been in a government job for three years and said he would resign before leaving. However, many doctors with more years in government service will likely seek permission from the government to go on leave to Saudi Arabia so they can return to their government jobs upon coming back to Pakistan.

Two private Saudi agencies are also interviewing Pakistani doctors for posts in government hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Saturday was the last day of interviews in Lahore. Interviews in Islamabad will take place from January 11 to 13.

“Around 3,000 doctors have been interviewed in Lahore for different positions including residents and consultants,” an OEC official told The Express Tribune.

He said that the Saudi government had recently built a lot of new hospitals and they were short of doctors. He did not say how many doctors the Saudis aimed to hire from Pakistan.

Residents (trainee doctors) are being offered salaries of between 5,000 (Rs121,000) and 8,000 riyals (Rs193,000), while consultants with a fellowship are being offered between 12,000 (Rs290,000) and 16,000 (Rs387,000) riyals. Senior professors and associate professors are being offered up to 30,000 riyals (Rs725,000) per month.

Last year, the Saudi Ministry of Health hired a thousand Pakistani doctors. Shortly afterwards, government-employed doctors in Punjab went on strike to demand better pay.

“This time they are going to hire more doctors,” said a senior doctor who went for an interview.

“The Indian government has just increased the salaries of public doctors and no Indian doctors are going to Saudi Arabia. They are focusing more on Pakistani doctors this year.” The Pakistan Medical Association warned that the country was losing its best doctors to Saudi Arabia and urged the government to improve the service structure for health professionals to stop the brain drain.

“The government on one hand claims to invest in health and education and on the other it does nothing to stop the brain drain,” said PMA Joint Secretary Dr Salman Kazmi.

“The government announces a pay package for doctors and nurses only when they go on strike or take to the streets. This is no solution. The government needs to develop a structure otherwise we may run out doctors.”

A Health Department spokesman said that the government couldn’t match the salaries offered to doctors abroad, especially when they had only recently been given raises. He said the government spent hundreds of millions of rupees on educating and training doctors and they should consider reasons other than monetary for working in Pakistan.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/318194/saudi-arabia-to-import-thousands-of-pakistani-doctors/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts of a NY Times blog post on voting rights for overseas Pakistanis:

.....the diaspora found much cause for celebration in last week’s announcement by the Election Commission of Pakistan (E.C.P.) that 3.7 million Pakistani expatriates will be allowed to vote in the next general elections, scheduled for spring 2013.

A leading Pakistani-American has hailed the decision as an opportunity to strengthen the “solidarity and integrity of our motherland.” Suniya Qureshi, the executive director of the British Pakistan Foundation, a charity that aims to mobilize the diaspora in Britain, told me on Tuesday that the decision is the “right way for the Pakistan government to chart out a relationship with the overseas community and create ownership among the diaspora.”

But back in Pakistan, the E.C.P.’s announcement has sparked the latest round of political mudslinging. The idea of granting Pakistani expats voting rights only gained traction when the political upstart Khan petitioned for it in the Supreme Court. His political opponents claim that Khan stands to gain most from the change since his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (P.T.I.) party enjoys widespread support in the diaspora. Some analysts and pro-government activists also say it undermines President Zardari’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, which has recently clashed with the court over corruption cases against the president, leading to contempt-of-court charges against the prime minister.

It is unlikely that any nefarious politics motivated the ECP’s announcement. For once, the matter boils down to simple economics. Remittances from expatriate Pakistanis are the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. The inflows ease the country’s current account deficit and boost its foreign exchange reserves. In 2010, remittances accounted for more than 5 percent of the country’s G.D.P. Between July and December last year, overseas Pakistanis sent back $6.3 billion, almost 20 percent more over the same period the year before. The World Bank ranks Pakistan among the top ten recipients of remittances.

Engaging the diaspora by allowing expats to vote is a way of keeping the money flowing. As Qureshi puts it, “British-Pakistanis are hugely passionate about the country, and there’s a growing appetite to influence things and improve governance.”

In the long run, though, these new voting rights may also prove to be a test of allegiance. The E.C.P. has ruled that Pakistanis holding dual citizenship are not eligible to vote. Will Pakistani expats put off applying for a second nationality in order to retain their right to vote back home?

My butcher, who became British in the late 1990s, says he wouldn’t trade his red passport for a ballot: “It’s easier to complain about the politicians back home than try to do something about their shenanigans.”


http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/pakistani-expats-given-right-to-vote-back-home-to-ensure-remittances/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder story on 23% YoY increase in remittances to Pakistan:

KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $8,592.79 million in first eight months (July 2011- February 2012) of current fiscal year 2011-12 (FY12), showing impressive growth of 23.40percent or $1,629.51 million when compared with $6,963.28 million received during same period of last fiscal year (July- February 2011).

Remittances received from all countries of the world showed growth in first eight months of current fiscal year. Inflow of remittances during July- February 2012 from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC states (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar & Oman) and EU countries amounted to $2,325.98 million, $1,903.89 million, $1,525.45 million, $991.20 million, $968.91 million and $244.91 million respectively as compared with $1,563.00 million, $1,627.09 million, $1,298.26 million, $770.91 million, $820.02 million and $220.24 million respectively in July- February 2011, State Bank of Pakistan SBP said Friday.

Remittances from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries in first eight months of current fiscal (July- February 2012) amounted to $632.45 million as against $663.73 million received in first eight months of last fiscal (July- February 2011).

Monthly average remittances for July-February 2012 period comes out to $1,074.10 million as compared to $870.41 million during corresponding period of last fiscal, registering increase of 23.40%. Last month, $1,156.81 million was sent home by overseas Pakistanis, up 36.86%, when compared with $845.28 million received in same month of February, 2011.

Almost all of this growth in remittances during February, 2012 over corresponding period of last fiscal year was through banking channels.

In February, 2012, inflow of remittances from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC states (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar & Oman) and EU countries amounted to $317.51 million, $259.55 million, $197.14 million, $137.73 million, $123.50 million and $29.27 million respectively as compared with $209.60 million, $190.04 million, $152.55 million, $101.21 million, $98.55 million and $24.58 million respectively in February 2011.

Remittances from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries in February 2012 amounted to $92.11 million as against $68.75 million received in same month (February 2011) of last fiscal.

The continued impressive growth in workers' remittances is result of efforts made by Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in collaboration with other stakeholders to facilitate both Overseas Pakistanis and their families back home.....


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-front-top-news/48902-pakistan-workers-remittances-rise-over-23pc-to-859bn-.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a Business Recorder report on migration and remittances in Asia:

Pakistan has been placed among six top remittance-receiving states of the world in the year 2011 while the South Asian region is expected to receive $ 97 billion in the current calendar year, 2012.

An Asian development Bank (ADB) report titled, "Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific" says that according to the World Bank's forecasts, remittance flows to East Asia and the Pacific will reach $109 billion in 2012 (up from $85 million in 2008), while South Asia is forecast to receive $97 billion (up from $72 billion in 2008). In 2011, six of the top eight remittance-receiving nations of the world were in Asia: India ($58 billion), PRC ($57 billion), Philippines ($23 billion), Pakistan ($12 billion), Bangladesh ($12 billion) and Vietnam ($9 billion)

The ADB report says that by 2050 it is anticipated that 1.4 billion Indians will be living in areas experiencing negative climate change impacts. Moreover, there will be more than 250 million people living in hot spots at multiple risk of climate change in both Bangladesh and Pakistan. While most people will adapt in situ, the potential for redistribution of population through migration is substantial.

According to the report, environmental factors are already increasingly important migration drivers in many countries of Asia and the Pacific, including Bangladesh, the PRC, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Viet Nam. Floods, cyclones, and desertification have led in recent years to significant population movements, mostly from rural to urban areas.
--------------
In July 2010, Pakistan was affected by heavy monsoon rains, which led to massive flooding in the IndusRiver basin. The flood led to the displacement of more than 10 million people, with about 20 percent of the country under water. About 2,000 people perished in the disaster. The provision of international aid relief was widely considered as insufficient, and the floods took a very heavy toll on the country and its population, with millions of farmers housed in refugee camps, and crops and cattle destroyed.

The report reveals that the climate-related disruptions of human populations and consequent migrations can be expected over the coming decades. Climatic changes in Pakistan and Bangladesh would likely exacerbate present environmental conditions that

give rise to land degradation, shortfalls in food production, rural poverty and urban unrest In association with an intensification of the monsoon, river and local flooding will be increased in many areas, the Himalaya, northern Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Landslide risk will increase in association with flood risk in steep terrain, particularly in the Himalaya.

According to the ADB report, the widespread salinization, land degradation, water stress, and desertification are expected to affect many parts of Central and West Asia. Increased cyclonic activity is expected to affect southern Pakistan. The mega city of Karachi in Pakistan is at high risk from sea-level rise, prolonged cyclonic activity, and greater salt-water intrusion.


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-front-top-news/49590-pakistan-among-six-top-remittance-receiving-states-.html

http://beta.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2012/addressing-climate-change-migration.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pak Observer story on UK-Pakistan trade:

British Deputy High Commissioner, Alison Blake says relations between her country and Pakistan have always been cordial and continued to grow.

In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer she said trade between the two countries will double in three years. More than 100 British companies are operating in Pakistan and more intend to join them.

She said “the hall-mark of our foreign policy for Pakistan is ‘people to people’ approach. “This is the way to deepen relations between the two nations,” she observed.

Blake said: “The UK and Pakistan are deeply connected. Yet not many people know about the connections in terms of people, trade, culture, education and development that form our unbreakable partnership”.

She spoke of key facts regarding Pakistan-UK relations: The UK is home to the largest overseas Pakistani community, approximately 1.2 million today. There are 30,000 Pakistanis studying in the UK at any one time. British Pakistanis are heavily involved in all levels of British politics. From MPs in the House of Commons to Peers in the House of Lords including Baron Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Warsi.

On bilateral trade she said: UK & Pakistan have an ambitious target to boost bilateral trade in goods and services from the 2010 level of £2.0 billion to at least £2.5 billion by 2015. The UK is the top destination in Europe for exports from Pakistan. Pakistan’s exports to the UK rose by 17% from Jan to Oct 2011, with particularly strong growth in textiles. UK is the largest European investor in Pakistan. UK is Pakistan’s strongest advocate for market access to the EU. UK is the 3rd largest overseas investor in Pakistan with 13.46% market share (FY 2009-10). Over 100 British Companies operate in Pakistan with major interests in the Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Energy and Retail sectors. On education, the British Deputy High Commissioner said: There are 30,000 Pakistanis studying in the UK at any one time. There are more people studying for O and A levels in Pakistan – some 170,000 of them - more than anywhere else outside of the UK. Pakistan is British Council’s largest overseas market for exams. UKaid will spend £650 million on education in Pakistan over the next 4 years. The UKaid funds will help to get more than four million children into school. UKaid will recruit and train an additional 90,000 teachers in Pakistan. UKaid will supply more than six million textbooks sets. UKaid will construct or rehabilitate more than 43,000 classrooms in Pakistan. Alison Blake said that the United Kingdom is home to the largest overseas Pakistani community. The population of British Pakistanis has grown from about 10,000 in 1951 to approximately 1.2 million today. She said: British Pakistanis are heavily involved in all levels of British politics. From MPs in the House of Commons including Sadiq Khan (MP for Tooting) Khalid Mahmood (MP for Birmingham Perry Barr) and Mohammad Sarwar (MP for Glasgow Central) to Peers in the House of Lords including Baron Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Warsi. Baroness Warsi is also a current Cabinet member”.


http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=148206

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece in a Russian newspaper on Putin's visit to Pakistan:

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin will, on his first foreign tour after taking office, make his first stop in Pakistan. It symbolizes not just Pakistan’s importance in the region, but the shift in relations which means that the two countries, kept apart for so many years because of Russia’s espousal of Communism, are trying to come together. Russia seeks a new ally in the region, to substitute for India, now in the American lap, after the collapse of the USSR. Mr Putin’s visit shows that Russia intends to play a more proactive role in world affairs. It must do so, because by ceding to US supremacy, it has seen it not just invade Afghanistan physically, but threaten Iran. Russia has found its own physical space threatened by US expansionism, with the expansion of Nato threatening it in the West, the snatching away of India and the occupation of Afghanistan threatening it in Asia. The visit is a result of the successful visits to Russia by President Asif Zardari, in August 2010 for the Quadrilateral Summit, and by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar earlier this year.

Russia had previously tried to make headway in Pakistan through the Steel Mills project, and now it has offered to be involved in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. This is an offer that Pakistan must not hesitate to take up. While Pakistan's official 'ally' has done its best to sabotage the project, and has insisted India withdraw from it, Russia is extending a helping hand. Unlike the steel mills, the pipeline from Iran is existential, providing as it will, gas not just for domestic and industrial users, but also for power production. Thus not just for strategic concerns, but national interest should incline Pakistan towards Russia. However, as strategic concerns include Afghanistan, which Russia has been deeply interested in for a very long time, Russia would also be interested in how Pakistan sees the future of Afghanistan.

It should also be recognized that Russia has a deep interest in the reset in relations between the USA and Pakistan that is presently being discussed by the joint sitting of Parliament. Russia too has seen that the US has not just gained access to South Asia through Pakistan, but also Central Asia. As Russia is seeking an ally in the region to substitute for India, and as Pakistan is distanced from the USA, Russia is naturally more interested in Pakistan than ever before. President Putin’s visit, the first ever by a Russian President to Pakistan, reflects that.


http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_04_13/71586559/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of Daily Mail report on Dr. Hasnat Khan who dated Princess Diana now volunteering in Pakistan, following in the footsteps of plastic surgeon Dr. Jawad of "Saving Face" fame:

The backwater in Pakistan for which Hasnat Khan will leave Britain couldn’t be further removed from the glamour of his London life and his Kensington Palace liaisons with Princess Diana.

But his work there will at last fulfil a dream that he and Diana once shared – to help those in need.

As head of cardiac surgery in the first charity-run hospital of its kind in Pakistan, Dr Khan will transform lives and communities.

The Abdul Razzaq Medical Trust hospital, in Badlote village, will treat for free rural patients too poor to afford even the transport fares to a hospital in the nearest town, let alone surgery costs.

Those patients will include children suffering rheumatic fever, which leaves many with narrowed arteries to the heart which become fatal if untreated.

Even for the few families who can afford surgery, waiting lists for treatment at the nearest heart hospital are two years. Most have no choice but to watch their children weaken and die.

Every time Dr Khan visits his parents in the nearby town of Jhelum, a queue of patients forms outside the house to seek his help, many of them poor families with desperately ill children.

‘They ring my mother to find out when I am coming home,’ he said.

He recalled a nine-year-old boy who came to see him with his father, with arteries so narrowed Dr Khan realised he would not survive long.

‘I said to his father, “I can’t believe he has got to this stage and you haven’t taken him to hospital,” ’ he said. ‘He told me he had taken him to hospital but it was going to cost 250,000 Rupees (£171) for an operation and there was no way he could afford it.

‘So he just left it, knowing the boy was going to die soon. He was such a happy kid. He was still running about and he had no idea what was going on.

‘I felt helpless. All I had was a stethoscope. I couldn’t even give him the money for the operation because it was too late for him to be operated on. He wouldn’t have survived the surgery.’

As he recounted the case, Dr Khan phoned a friend in Jhelum to find out if the boy was still alive. An hour later, the call came back with the news that first the boy and then his father had died.

The hospital where Dr Khan’s heart unit will be based is the first charitable cardiology unit in Pakistan. He is setting it up with fellow cardiologist Dr Azhar Kayani, director of medicine for the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Pakistani president’s personal physician.

Dr Kayani, who grew up in Badlote and studied with Dr Khan in Lahore, said the hospital would cost the equivalent of £1 million and should open before the end of the year. It is named after his father.

Volunteers from Basildon Hospital in Essex, where Dr Khan works, are helping the fundraising drive for the unit and will help train doctors and nurses. They have also helped find donated equipment from other NHS hospitals.

Describing the life that awaits him in Pakistan, he said: ‘If you look out from the hospital you see open countryside with cows and camels. There are no taxis or cars or buses. People walk for miles and miles just to see someone.

‘It is very simple to live here. My [family] home is just down the road so I will have no rent to pay.

‘This unit is a dream come true. It is very satisfying. Of course I find my work in England satisfying but my work there is also routine. To come here and to build something from scratch is very different.’..


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2143555/Phone-hacking-Princess-Dianas-lover-Hasnat-Khan-victim.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an APF PR release via Marketwatch:

The American Pakistan Foundation (APF) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced plans to collaborate on sustainable socio-economic development in Pakistan. USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and APF CEO Awais Khan recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Islamabad to establish a working alliance between the two organizations.

APF seeks to effectively catalyze long term economic development and social change in Pakistan by engaging the diaspora and the private sector and by building partnerships with key stakeholders in Pakistan and the United States. APF identifies and supports credible and scalable socio-economic initiatives by collaborating with partners on the ground in Pakistan, and by mobilizing intellectual and financial resources towards these programs.

This partnership between APF and USAID will focus on development activities across various sectors - including basic and higher education, vocational and technical training, an investment fund, and a small grants program. The partnership also seeks to engage the Pakistani diaspora and the private and philanthropic sectors in the US to further support innovation and civil society in Pakistan.

"The private sector is the engine of growth, and is vitally important to Pakistan. The US government recognizes that as part of private sector engagement, the Pakistani diaspora can play an important role in the development of Pakistan by building partnerships, networks and linkages, economic opportunities, and helping to increase access to social services", said Dr. Rajiv Shah at the signing ceremony.

"We will leverage our network and experience in the United States and Pakistan to facilitate funding, skills transfer, and knowledge-building to support activities and programs. The collaboration will pursue a robust engagement of the Pakistani diaspora, and private and philanthropic sectors to boost development impact for the people of Pakistan", said Awais Khan.

The signing ceremony was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, APF Board Vice Chair Wahid Hamid, Board Members of the British Pakistan Foundation (APF's sister organization in the UK), members of the APF Leadership and Advisory Councils, and representatives from the Pakistani private sector and the U.S. government.

About the American Pakistan Foundation (APF)

APF seeks to effectively catalyze long term economic development and social change in Pakistan by engaging the diaspora and the private sector and by building partnerships with key stakeholders in Pakistan and the United States. APF identifies and supports credible and scalable socio-economic initiatives by collaborating with partners on the ground in Pakistan, and by mobilizing intellectual and financial resources towards these programs. APF's recent flood recovery and rehabilitation program is impacting over 42,000 lives in Pakistan. APF offers a secure and transparent channel for charitable giving and is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in the United States.


http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-pakistan-foundation-and-usaid-to-strengthen-private-investment-in-pakistan-2012-05-23

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India report on women migrant workers from India & Pakistan:

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan together account for 71% of international female migrants from South Asia. While 2.7 million were from India, about 1.9 million female migrants came from Pakistan.

Widespread poverty, unemployment at home and wage differences at the destination have triggered international labour migration from India to Gulf countries, according to a study 'Migration of Women Workers from South Asia to the Gulf'.

The study by UN Women and the V V Giri Labour Institute analyzed the current situation in five major sending countries of South Asia - Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - and six major receiving countries of the Gulf region - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Women are half of international migrants, comprising 49.6% of 190 million migrant workers. A majority of these women migrate alone as domestic workers to make more money or to support their families with an ever-increasing proportion of migrants from South Asia migrating to the Gulf region, where the demand for domestic workers, especially female workers, is high.

In 2010, about 6.45 million international female migrants originated from South Asia. Of these, 71% came from India and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia was the Gulf country that received the highest proportion of Indian migrant workers.

"Most of the low-skilled women migrants are caught in a web of marginal existence, on account of being women and low-skilled migrants working in the confines of the households where the piercing eyes of labour law do not reach," Anne F Stenhammer, regional programme director of UN Women South Asia said.

The report recommended making policy discourse more sensitive to the needs of women migrant workers, coordinated regional interventions by sending countries and countries of employment, standard operating procedures for gender sensitive labour migration management and joint response by UN agencies and intergovernmental bodies.

"The impact of the migration of women workers is much broader than its immediate economic aspect. There is great potential of such migration to bring forth the social and political empowerment of women, and reshape gender power relations," Dr S K Sasikumar, V V Giri National Institute lead author, said.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/India-Pakistan-account-for-71-of-female-migrants-from-South-Asia/articleshow/13831960.cms

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn article by Michael Kugelman on Pakistani-Americans:

...For sure, many if not most Pakistani-Americans and US-based Pakistanis retain strong links to Pakistan. Some do so by staying close to relatives still in the country, or via the Internet and the various Pakistani media outlets accessible in America. Others quite famously exemplify the diaspora’s “giving” bonafides. We often hear about the remittances sent back to relatives, yet it’s equally important to acknowledge the humanitarianism. This largesse can be seen in the work of groups like APPNA, but also from the quiet actions of individuals. I know of various Pakistani-Americans — who otherwise rarely visit Pakistan — spending extended periods in the country to provide relief assistance after the 2010 floods.

Then there are the many diaspora organisations dedicated to Pakistan. Some, such as the various chapters of the Pakistani American Association (from North Carolina to Florida), promote Pakistani culture. Others, such as the Pakistan American Business Association, advocate business ties between the two countries. Still others are unabashedly political.

In the context of politics, only in recent months have I begun to fully understand the considerable influence Pakistani politicians’ exercise over the diaspora. As I’ve suggested before (only somewhat in jest), Pervez Musharraf seems to have more supporters in America than he does in Pakistan (and he has an extraordinary public relations operation to sustain his apparent popularity here). Then there’s Imran Khan, whose PTI party was scheduled to hold a jalsa in New York City until it was abruptly postponed with no apparent explanation. When Musharraf spoke at the Woodrow Wilson Center last summer, many of the 400 people in attendance were Pakistani-Americans. I suspect a visit by Khan would draw many more.

Yet my main interest here is those diaspora members who decide to go back to Pakistan — and not simply to visit relatives or attend weddings. I’ve previously alluded to Ijaz Nabi and Adil Najam, long-time successful professionals in this country who returned to Pakistan to join LUMS. There are also the likes of Pakistani-American Nadia Naviwala, a Harvard-educated, one-time USAID staffer who not long ago decided to relocate to Pakistan to serve as the US Institute of Peace’s country representative there.

These are only the more well-known cases. I recently received an email from a young, newly minted law school graduate, born and raised in America, who had decided to move to Pakistan — where she had never lived before. I imagine there are other examples like this one.

So what inspires diaspora members to return to Pakistan? More than three years ago, a blogpost by Nosheen Abbas highlighted the various opportunities diaspora members perceive in Pakistan, and the sense of attachment that attracts them.

In truth, I doubt there’s one overarching motivating factor — and certainly not idealism. Several years ago I had lunch with a deeply cynical diaspora member who lamented — as many do — the hopeless state of Pakistan. Not too long after this conversation, he returned to the country to take a prominent position in government. He was likely drawn to Pakistan by a job, not by do-goodism.

Another question is how diaspora members are treated once they arrive back in Pakistan. Do they encounter hostility? Are they dismissed as out-of-touch outsiders? And, in the case of those born in the United States, are they tainted for being Americans?

On all accounts, I suspect the answer is no. Various Afghan and Iraqi diaspora members (from accountants to politicians) have returned to help rebuild their countries of origin, a process that seems to be encouraged in these countries......


http://dawn.com/2012/07/06/when-the-pakistani-diaspora-returns-to-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on record high remittances from Pakistani diaspora:

With an impressive 17.7% annual growth, remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis surged to a record high and crossed the psychological mark of $13 billion in the previous fiscal year 2011-12, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced on Tuesday.

Continuous growth in remittances is being billed as a lifeline for Pakistan’s economy, especially when energy shortages and high inflation have hurt gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

“Remittances have been playing a key role in the country’s economic performance,” said Muzammil Aslam, Managing Director of Emerging Economics Consultancy.

“One can safely say that the continuous rise in remittances in the last few years has saved Pakistan from serious economic problems including default on debt repayments.”

Aslam suggested that the government can further increase the flow of remittances if it reduces the difference between interbank and open market exchange rates for the US dollar from the present one rupee to 10 to 15 paisa. “This will encourage overseas workers to send more and more dollars through banking channels instead of illegal means.”

Invest Capital Markets analyst Khurram Schehzad commented that the continuous rise in remittances is significantly positive for the country as the money supported the economy in different forms. Overseas Pakistani workers remitted a record amount of $13.186 billion in the last fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, compared with $11.201 billion received a year earlier, the SBP said.

Except for September ($890.42 million) and November ($924.92 million), Pakistanis remitted more than $1 billion in each of the remaining 10 months.

Monthly average of remittances rose 17.73% to $1.099 billion compared with $933.41 million a year earlier.

In June overseas Pakistanis sent home $1.117 billion compared to $1.104 billion received in the same month of 2010-11.

In the same month, remittances from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries and EU countries amounted to $333.68 million, $219.14 million, $206.60 million, $128.12 million, $126.72 million and $29.24 million respectively. In comparison, remittances from these countries were $291.55 million, $270.04 million, $204.64 million, $121.35 million, $106.20 million and $33.83 million respectively in June 2011.

Analysts believe that the SBP’s initiative for facilitation of remittances, called the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI), has significantly contributed to the growth of remittances.

Since its inception in April 2009, PRI has taken a number of steps to enhance the flow of remittances through legal channels. These include preparation of strategies on remittances, taking all necessary steps to implement the overall strategy, playing an advisory role for the financial sector in terms of preparing a business case, relationship building with overseas correspondents, creating separate and efficient remittance payment highways and becoming a national focal point for overseas Pakistanis through a round-the-clock call centre.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/406343/remittances-surge-to-record-high/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR story on inflow of foreign loans and grants in 2011-12:

Rupees 114 billion ($1.3 billion) were disbursed to Pakistan in 2011-12 according to the Economic Affairs Division data, however, budget documents reveal Rs 226.1 billion ($2.6 billion) as revised foreign inflows for the year. The rupee-dollar parity taken for the budget 2011-12 stood at Rs88.

The economic managers budgeted Rs 413.9 billion as foreign inflows for 2011-12 but were compelled to revise the amount downward to Rs 226.1 billion due to three major factors. First, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did not extend a Letter of Comfort which is a prerequisite for programme lending (budgetary support) by other multilaterals (World Bank and ADB).

This resulted in the non-materialisation of Rs 118 billion budgeted for the year under programme loans. Second, Pakistan had estimated Rs 44 billion under Euro Bonds but this also did not materialise due to international financial crisis as well as Pakistan's domestic economic crunch. And finally, the tensions between Pakistan and the US post-Salala led to considerable reduction in releases under Coalition Support Fund as well as under Kerry Lugar package.

Documents available with Business Recorder reveal that the country received Rs 89 billion ($1.01 billion) from multilaterals; $497.2 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), $479 million from the World Bank and $35.4 million from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) while the amount received from bilaterals stood at Rs 23.9 billion ($271 million).

The US remained the major grant provider to Pakistan during last fiscal year despite the fact that relations remained tense between the two for the latter part of the year. The US released $114 million to Pakistan with $2.7 million released by Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM), $0.4 million by the US government, $1.8 million from Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance USA OFDA, $108 million from USAID, and $0.5 million released by then United States Department for Agriculture.

During the last fiscal year, Australia released $23 million to Pakistan, Belgium $8.8 million, Canada $13.3 million, China $0.5 million, Denmark $1.6 million, UN $50 million, European Union $13.5 million, Netherlands released $18 million and $86 million from other bilateral donors such as UK, Germany, Switzerland, international private donors and France, etc.


http://www.brecorder.com/money-a-banking/198/1213603/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on remittance inflows in Pakistan:

Pakistan is ranked seventh globally among the list of countries that are receiving large inflows of remittance as the country received net remittance of $9.7 billion in 2010. Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its recent report titled ''Asian Economic Integration Monitor July 2012'' says that the largest remittance inflows go to countries with the largest populations, but dependence on remittances is highest among landlocked and small island countries.

Though the remittance to GDP ratio is low in East Asia, the PRC is the largest net recipient globally, India, is second ($50.1 billion in 2010) while Philippines ranks third, Bangladesh fourth, Pakistan seventh, and Indonesia fourteenth. The report says that the lower commodity prices are helping reduce imports, which significantly spiked trade deficits in South Asia since the middle of last year. Exports have declined faster than imports causing trade deficits to widen although offset somewhat by stable remittance inflows, the widening trade deficits contributed to depreciation in currencies in most of the South Asian countries.

Asian Economic Integration Monitor July 2012 says that Asia has been particularly active in negotiating and completing regional trade agreements. While these are clear evidences of regional co-operation, they are often restrictive in scope and not all aspects are easy to implement. The utilisation of facilities offered by Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is so far relatively low. Finally, in South Asia and the Pacific and Oceania, FTA initiatives are dominated by India and Pakistan in the former and Australia and New Zealand in the latter. The report says that total number of FTAs of Pakistan as of January 2012 were 16 including 7 under negotiations and 9 concluded. Out of these 16 FTAs; 9 have been made with the countries outside Asia while the rest of 7 have been made with the countries inside Asia.

Total foreign exchange reserves of Pakistan excluding gold have been recorded worth $15.7 billion in the year 2011 that are 7.5 percent of GDP. According to the report, the Central Asia Regional Economic Co-operation (CAREC) Program, set up in 2001, covers Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the PRC, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Under its new 10-year (2011-20) strategic framework (CAREC 2020), CAREC''s strategic objectives are to expand trade in the sub-region and improve competitiveness by implementing focused, action-oriented, and results-driven regional programs and projects in energy, trade facilitation, trade policy, transport, and economic corridor development. During 2001-2011, the CAREC Program has implemented 121 priority projects worth $17.7 billion.


http://www.brecorder.com/money-a-banking/198/1218917/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story about Pakistani-American mayor of Paris, Texas:

This charming, droopy city needed new fire trucks not long ago, but, like many American municipalities today, couldn’t necessarily afford them. The mayor, a small-government Republican, dithered: to buy or not to buy? He turned to the natural choice for advice on running a Texan city: Pervez Musharraf, the exiled ex-president of Pakistan.

Mr. Musharraf may seem an unlikely adviser to the mayor of a Southern town where crickets chirp shrilly and the leafy streets are dominated by places pledging to fix your truck. But even more unlikely is the man he advised: Mayor Arjumand Hashmi, a Pakistani-born cardiologist who has become one of the United States’ most improbable politicians.

He is like the opening line of a joke: “So a Texan, a Muslim, a Republican, a doctor and the mayor of Paris are sitting at a bar ...” Except that he is, by himself, all of the people in the joke.

America seems to be an ever more divided, bitter country. Lost amid those divisions is the story of how a down-on-its-luck town in Texas struck its own little blow for unity. A little more than a year ago, this city of 25,000 — overwhelmingly white and Christian — made a Muslim outsider their mayor. (Dr. Hashmi had campaigned to be one of seven city councilors and, having won, was voted mayor by the council.)

The mayor swept into office with an immigrant’s zeal: planting hundreds of crepe myrtle trees on the loop around the city; surprising local agencies with impromptu visits during his lunch hour; interrupting the “brother-in-law deals,” as they’re called in the South, that gave contracts to the wrong people; using tax abatements to lure businesses to Paris.

All this while serving as a cardiologist and leader of a local hospital catheterization laboratory that is often the only thing standing between the chicken-fried steaks that patients keep on eating and the deaths they nonetheless wish to defer.

Which is why Dr. Hashmi, who is in his early 50s, wakes up at 3:30 a.m. most days. He prays the first of his customary three daily prayers. (He maxes out to the prescribed five when he can, but says he’s pretty sure Allah wouldn’t want him stopping to pray when he’s got a catheter up someone’s groin.) Then he alternates throughout the day between doctor and mayor, doctor and mayor.
------------
U.S. politicians are wont to conceal the complexity and worldliness in their backgrounds — as with Mitt Romney’s ability to speak French or President Barack Obama’s early years in Indonesia. Dr. Hashmi takes a different approach, speaking Urdu to friends or family in front of his colleagues, answering the phones with “Salaam aleikum” at times and at times with “How ya doin’?” His Pakistani accent remains strong.

Just after 11 p.m. that same night, after a full day’s work twice over, he was sitting on a sofa at home with his family and some friends, nibbling on flaky cookies specially bought in Lahore.

His beeper sounded. A middle-aged man was at the hospital with chest pains, and the emergency room doctor wanted his advice. He asked for an electrocardiogram to be texted to his iPhone. When he saw it, he concluded that the man needed him. He told the doctor to prepare the catheter, and he drove away down a dark country road into his Paris.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/28/us/28iht-currents28.html?_r=1

Riaz Haq said...

In recent years, Pakistan has become essentially a money-order economy relying heavily on remittances from overseas Pakistanis. Given this reality, the hostility of many resident Pakistanis toward their comrades living overseas is really baffling. It’s just another case of biting the hand that feeds Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a GeoTV story on Pakistani doctors in the UK:

Pakistan has become the largest exporter of young doctors to Britain's state funded National Health Service (NHS) after clearing Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test, the main route by which international medical graduates demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice medicine in the UK.

More than at any point in time in the past, there is a huge surge in the number of Pakistani medical graduates coming and settling in the UK where they are getting good jobs as Pakistani doctors enjoy good reputation and its easy for newcomers to settle easily due to good community connections. The number of doctors taking a flight to the UK is set to go up further as their dissatisfaction within Pakistan grows, as demonstrated recently by the nationwide strikes of young doctors, especially in Punjab.

According to General Medical Council (GMC), over 600 Pakistani medical graduates have taken the PLAB test this year alone. Training opportunities in Pakistan for young doctors are limited. The situation is not helped by the killing and kidnapping of doctors of various sects which has created a surge of fear in the medical profession. The kidnapping of the chief psychiatrist in Baluchistan has upset all doctors in Pakistan.

According to GMC, the number of Pakistani doctors who sat PLAB1 and PLAB2 since 2007-first half of 2012 stands at 6826. For two years from 2007 to 2009, 1786 medical graduates from Pakistan took part in PLAB1 examinations and for the same period 899 doctors took PLAB2 test. But the number went up unprecedentedly for the following years. In 2010 and 2011, 2490 doctors sat PLAB1 Test and 1011 took PLAB2 Test for the same period. The number of Pakistan registered on the GMC data stood at 8,552 on 7th of August, 2012.

Until 2006, around 70 per cent of the so-called "international medical graduates “ came from the Indian subcontinent, considered till then a traditional recruiting ground for NHS recruitment but the Labour government brought in new and stricter immigration rules to benefit doctors from the European Union (EU) countries. Till that time the greatest export of doctors was from India while Pakistan stood at around number 5.

Large scale protests were held by the 25,000-strong British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) against the new government regulations which were brought in without any consultation and warning. However, the government was not budging. Eventually BAPIO challenged the government in the court of law. The case went up to the House of Lords where BAPIO had a victory for those who were already in the training posts, thus saving jobs of about 15,000 doctors. However there were about 10,000 doctors who were not in the job and had to return to their countries mostly to India and Pakistan.

This episode created really bad vibes in India and since then Indian doctors are hesitant to come to UK. India is number 5 on the list now, from number one, according to GMC figures. There are two more reasons why Indian doctors are not keen on coming to the UK anymore. Indian doctors are enjoying benefits of the economic boom in India, private hospital conglomerates are expanding and public and private sectors are investing in the health sector while this is not the case in Pakistan.

There are many Pakistani doctors’ organisations active in the UK especially the alumni associations of medical colleges and there are three large collective associations, British Pakistani Doctors Forum, All Pakistani Physicians and Surgeons UK and Pakistan Medical Association UK; these have about 8000 doctors as members amongst them. Hundreds of doctors are not part of these organisations. These organisations provide active support to the new doctors in terms of helping them find new jobs and settling in...


http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=62556

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few facts about Pakistani entrepreneurs in Si Valley based on my 30 year experience here:

1. Pakistani entrepreneurs are easily the third largest organized group in Si Valley after Chinese and Indians. Check out some of the names here: http://www.opensiliconvalley.org/charter-members/

2. Several Pakistani founded companies have gone IPO or been acquired by bigger companies in the last decades.

3. Some of the Pakistani founders' names well known to the Si Valley tech community include Safi Qureshi (AST computers founder), Raghib Hussain (Cavium founder), Atiq Raza (NextGen founder), Rehan Jalil (WiChous), Jauhar Zaidi (Palmchip), Sohaib Abbasi (Oracle), Naveed Sherwani (OpenSilicon), Idris Kothari (VPNet, VIA Technologies), Ashar Aziz (FireEye), Nazim Kareemi (Canesta), Safwan Shah (Infonox), Faraz Hoddbhoy (PixSense), and many many more.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pravda Op Ed on Indians "inundating" Russia:

India dreams to get rid of tens and maybe even millions of its own citizens and deliver them to Russia. This idea was voiced yet again by Indian officials during the recent Moscow-Delhi video conference. The conference was organized by RIA Novosti and was dedicated to to the state of affairs in the BRICS organization (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

A question was raised during the conference about a possible immigration of a considerable part of the Indian population to Russia. Alexander Apokin, an expert with the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis particularly stated the following: "If some people in India will find money and labor resources to work in Russia, it will be a promising development of events. Hundreds of millions of people will be able to find work."

Tatiana Shaumyan, the director of the Center of Indian Research of the Institute of Oriental Studies, said that such methods are already being practiced towards the Chinese in the Far East of Russia. "The Chinese use that. They bring capital and people and they work here," she said.
------------
"The persistent desire of the Indian side to get rid of hundreds of millions of people is very easy to understand. First and foremost, it goes about the population of the plains of Indus and Ganges rivers, which makes up 700,000 million. Most of those people live in horrific anti-sanitary conditions. You have to see it with your own eyes to realize that. Those who have not been to those areas can watch "The Slumdog Millionaire" to get the picture. In the movie, they build skyscrapers over the slums. In real life, though, the slums do not go anywhere, and Russia runs the risk of bringing all of that over.

"The situation has become even more serious due to the climate change. It became much hotter in India than before. Forty percent of Himalayan glaciers have disappeared. Droughts occur more frequently than before too. The Indians have nowhere to go. They face a serious threat of national famine, so they are trying to put the cart before the horse. They will continue to put pressure on Russia at this point. Why Russia you may wonder? Because Russia is virtually the only country in the world where there is a lot of uninhabited land that is good to live on.
-----------
"The Indian government will try to get rid of the dangerous burden. There are many fundamentalists among Indian Muslims. It is simply enough to take a look at them to understand that. For example, practically all women over 12 years of age wear niqabs - the clothes that completely cover their face, body and even their fingers. The level of the inter-religious violence in the country is very high. All of that may come to Russia if Indians begin to migrate here.

"Taking into consideration the speed of the growth of the Indian population, one may say that they will inhabit everything in Russia very quickly. It is incredibly silly to believe that those people will be able to develop the Russian agriculture. Some apparently believe that the Russians can't do it. I'd say to this that they have very good harvests in Orenburg, in Kuban and on Don.

"Let's take, for example, other countries that lie on the altitudes similar to those of Russia. They are Canada, USA's Alaska and Scandinavia, for instance. The combined square of those countries is comparable to Russia's territory, with approximately the same amount of arable lands. However, there are only 60 million people living in those counties. It seems OK for them, they are happy about it, and their GDP is twice is large as that of Russia. Russia needs to learn the lessons that Britain has recently been given instead."


http://english.pravda.ru/russia/politics/12-08-2011/118734-russia_india-0/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story about rising remittances from Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia:

Expatriates in Saudi Arabia send more remittances to Pakistan than from anywhere else in the world, according to a senior official of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

Khalid Bin Shaheen, senior executive vice president and group chief of the Global Home Remittance Management Group at NBP said: “Saudi Arabia is no longer just one of the leading sources of remittances for Pakistan. Instead it is the forerunner followed closely by UAE”.

This was corroborated by figures released by the State Bank of Pakistan recently, which showed that Pakistanis residing in Saudi Arabia sent home $657.78 million in the first two months of July-August FY12. In comparison, the inflow of remittances from the US, UK and Europe was only $446.61 million, $334.06 million, and $63.57 million.

He said that it was a widely held misguided view that affluent Pakistani immigrants in Western countries including USA, UK and Europe sent more remittances back home than their Middle Eastern counterparts.

The remittances sent home by overseas Pakistani workers have more than quadrupled in the last eight years to more than $13.186 billion, the highest-ever amount received in a year by the country in the last fiscal year, which ended in June 2012.

Explaining the reason for this anomaly, Shaheen said: “Even though the Pakistani diaspora living in the West is more prosperous than the majority of working class doing menial jobs in Saudi Arabia, UAE and the Gulf region, the former invest more in the countries they are residing in as they acquire citizenship there whereas the latter are unable to acquire foreign citizenship and therefore, they send back more money to their relatives and families in Pakistan.”

He added: “The rising remittances, which are the second major source of foreign exchange earnings after exports, has helped sustain Pakistan’s economy despite the extreme political instability, high oil prices and costly imports.

He praised the Pakistani community residing abroad who have always played an important role in the country’s foreign exchange reserves and credited the sharp increase to a crackdown on the illegal hundi and hawala money transfer system in general and to easier methods of transferring money though banks.


He said: “NBP is one of the largest players in the remittance market of Pakistan and partnerships with Western Union and other international exchanges will only consolidate the Pakistan Remittances Initiative (PRI), which has increased worker remittances coming through the banking channel considerably and this ultimately has spillover effects for the entire economy.”

According to the World Bank data, Pakistan has become the fifth largest remittances recipient developing country in 2011 after India ($58 billion), China ($57 billion), Mexico ($24 billion), and the Philippines ($23 billion).

The World Bank has estimated that the remittance flows are expected to continue growing, with global remittances expected to exceed $593 billion by 2014, of which $441 billion will flow to developing countries.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-131948-Saudi-Arabia-becomes-largest-remittance-provider-to-Pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Nation's story on allocating parliamentary seats for Pakistan diaspora:

In the wake of disqualification of lawmakers holding dual nationalities by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran has called for amendments in the constitution, enabling overseas Pakistanis to be elected for parliament through reserved seats, as remittances from abroad proved a lifeline for Pakistan’s economy.The APAT urged the government as well as the opposition parties to allocate at least 10 per cent reserved seats for overseas Pakistanis in the parliament. The government will have to amend the constitution with the support of all opposition parties to facilitate those Pakistanis having dual nationality, living abroad, he said. In this way, their interest in affairs of their motherland will further increase, as remittances have been playing a key role in the economic performance of Pakistan, it observed.Continuous rise in remittances in the last few years has saved Pakistan from serious economic problems including default on debt repayments, stated general secretary Naeem Mir.He said that presently, several countries including all the seven states of South Asia, counting India as well, and Pakistan’s share has been phenomenal during 2011-12 when overseas Pakistanis sent home record $13.21 billion that eclipsed all the receipts of several decades. Pakistan has now become among top five countries of the world which are receiving big remittances from overseas workers, majority of them might have dual nationality, he added.“This goes without saying that remittances from abroad proved a lifeline for Pakistan’s economy at a time when energy shortages, high inflation and missing revenue collection targets have hurt gross domestic product (GDP) growth.” He appreciated the right of vote for the overseas, calling for their representation too in parliament, as in this way, they will turned to be the ambassadors of Pakistan. They will not only remit their income but also pursue foreign investors to make investment in Pakistan. He said that if more incentives are introduced for sending money home in easier way by overseas Pakistanis, they might send more than $20 billion remittances as experts expect. He said that except for September ($890.42 million) and November ($924.92 million) in last fiscal, Pakistanis remitted $1 billion or more in each of the remaining 10 months of 2011-12.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/business/22-Sep-2012/10-per-cent-seats-be-reserved-for-expats-in-na-for-more-remittances

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Express Trib on Pakistani Norwegian as culture minister:

A 29-year-old woman of Pakistani origin has earned a position in Norway’s cabinet, Express News reported Monday.

Hadia Tajik, the first Muslim member of the Norwegian cabinet, has been named as the culture minister.

Tajik is also the youngest in the cabinet.

The newly elected minister said that in future, multicultural values will become a part of Norway’s everyday life.

Tajik, of Pakistani origin, was elected as a member of the Norwegian parliament in 2009.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/441623/pakistan-origin-woman-named-norways-culture-minister/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of an interesting Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry paper regarding Indian diaspora:

In the theatre of development, the competitiveness and growth of an economy is determined by its capacity to acquire and apply new knowledge. In a rapidly globalizing world, learning new ways of doing things depends in no small measure on the ability to integrate with the larger world outside. We live in a world in which the free movement of goods and capital across borders is seen as a virtue. Arguably, it is seen to reinforce the principle of competitive advantage and help spur savings, investment and demand. What is less recognised is that International migration of human capital: the movement of knowledge, talent and skills across borders is central to learning and development.

The emergence of significant Diasporas has in recent years brought into sharp focus two key facts. First, there is a large expatriate population of skilled people from emerging economies in the developed world. Second, overseas communities can constitute a significant resource for the development of the countries of origin. The movement of the high skilled and low skilled workers from less to more developed economies and back opens several new opportunities for development. To view the Diaspora only through the looking glass of remittances and financial flows is to take a myopic view. Not all expatriates need to be investors and their development impact measured only in terms of financial contributions to the home country.


An overseas community can and does serve as an important 'bridge' to access knowledge, expertise, resources and markets for the development of the country of origin. The success of this bridge is often predicated upon two conditions: the ability of the Diaspora to develop and project a coherent, intrinsically motivated and progressive identity and the capacity of the home country to establish conditions and institutions for sustainable, symbiotic and mutually rewarding engagement. Home countries are now beginning to recognise the need to pursue and promote the dynamic of the Diaspora and development.


http://moia.gov.in/writereaddata/pdf/Strategic_Plan.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Those who keep raising BOP crisis alarm should read the following from Business Recorder:

ABU DHABI: Pakistan expects that strong double-digit growth in remittances from Gulf region will help achieve its overall target of $15 billion in the current fiscal year 2012-13.

Remittances from Gulf Cooperation Council GCC states to Pakistan may hit $10 billion in current fiscal year as the government is confident of having positive results from fresh measures it announced to boost inflows from UAE and Saudi Arabia. Overseas Pakistanis residing in GCC countries sent home a record $8 billion in remittances in financial year 2011-12, reflecting 60.77% share in total remittances of $13.18 billion. About four million overseas Pakistanis residing in Gulf States remitted $6.573 billion in fiscal year 2010-11.
The remittances inflow from Gulf states rose about 21.71% in last fiscal year. Remittances from GCC may reach between $9.5 billion and $10 billion in current fiscal year amid hopes that same growth trend will continue. Remittances from GCC states rose to $730.56 million in July 2012 compared to $677.60 million in same month last year. Total remittances also climbed 9.89% to $1.20 billion last month, indicating a strong growth for rest of the year.
"Pakistan has been witnessing a growing surge in remittances since present democratic government took over in 2008. From mere $6.4 billion remittances in 2008, fiscal year 2011-12 saw record remittances of $13.18 billion. Hopefully, we expect to achieve $15 billion remittances target for the year 2012-13," Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan told Khaleej Times.
Saudi Arabia remained a leading source of remittances for Pakistan in Gulf region with a leading share of $349.66 million in July. The remittances inflow from UAE stood at $240.54 million and other GCC states contributed $140.36 million last month.
---
Remittances witnessed 17.67% annual growth in last fiscal year inviting attention of economic managers to exploit opportunity for enhancing remittances to the maximum.
--------
Analysts say rising foreign remittances has not only brought stability to value of Pakistani rupee, but also played key role in narrowing down gap between foreign payments and receipts. The rising remittances, second major source of foreign exchange earnings after exports, practically helped the country with record foreign exchange reserves despite high oil prices and costly imports.
According to World Bank data, Pakistan has become fifth largest remittances recipient developing country in 2011 after India ($58 billion), China ($57 billion), Mexico ($24 billion), and the Philippines ($23 billion). World Bank estimated that remittance flows are expected to continue growing, with global remittances expected to exceed $593 billion by 2014, of which $441 billion will flow to developing countries.


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-front-top-news/75569-pakistan-expects-to-achieve-overall-target-of-15bn-remittances-in-fiscal-year-2012-13.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on rise in worker remittances to developing world:

Developing countries are expected to receive $406 billion in remittances in 2012, which is 6.5% higher than the remittances they received in 2011, according to a recent World Bank report.

The World Bank projects that remittances to developing countries will grow by 7.9%, 10.1% and 10.7% in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, to reach $534 billion in 2015.

While the international economic downturn has adversely affected remittance flows to Europe and some other regions, South Asia is expected to fare much better than previously estimated, the report says. Remittance flows to South Asia are expected to clock in at around $109 billion in 2012, up by 12.5% over 2011, it said.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country received remittances of $13.2 billion in fiscal 2012, which were 17.7% higher than the preceding fiscal year.

Similarly, in the first four months of the current fiscal year, remittances to Pakistan stood at $4.9 billion, higher by 15% compared to remittances received in the corresponding four-month period last fiscal year.

“Regions and countries with large numbers of migrants in oil-exporting countries continue to see robust growth in inward remittance flows, compared with those whose migrant workers are largely concentrated in the advanced economies, especially Western Europe,” the World Bank report says.

According to the Bureau of Emigration’s Assistant Director Farrukh Jamal, more than 80% of the manpower that Pakistan has exported resides in Saudi Arabia. “Almost 90% of recent emigrants from Pakistan currently work in the Middle East,” he told The Express Tribune in an interview two weeks ago.

The largest single-country chunk of remittances that Pakistan received in fiscal 2012 – amounting to $1.1 billion – was from Saudi Arabia. It was followed closely by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with $963.1 million remitted from the country in the same period. The United States ($795.3 million) was the third biggest source of remittances during fiscal 2012...


http://tribune.com.pk/story/471300/expatriate-workers-increasingly-help-float-domestic-economy/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on PIA scrutiny by Pak Supreme Court:

Another notorious entity landed into court this week, probably because of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry himself. According to a report, “Already in the headlines for all wrong reasons, PIA again came under the flak on Monday when counsel Khalid Anwar requested the court to take a suo motu notice of the pathetic state of affairs in the airline. The request was made against the backdrop of Sunday’s incident when an Islamabad-bound PIA aircraft developed fault in one of its engines and was stuck at the Karachi airport for hours. The chief justice and some federal ministers were among the passengers.”

The report says, “The Pakistan International Airlines bemoaned in the Supreme Court on Monday that the unilateral grant of liberal traffic rights to foreign airlines was one of the reasons for the national flag carrier’s decline. It said Pakistan had become a lifeline for foreign carriers, mainly from the Gulf region, which were sucking away the resources of Pakistan (Pakistani passengers). The report regretted that foreign airlines had been increasing their capacity on Pakistan routes because of the facility of liberal traffic rights. Successive governments have allowed foreign airlines to fly to and out of the country without offering any reciprocal rights to PIA to fly to their countries.” Is PIA justified in blaming its substandard performance on foreign competition which it can’t seem to come to terms with? What about the unrelenting decline of customer services, which is a major part of the business that is being questioned by the court?

Another recent analysis states, “Pakistan recently allowed five international airlines to begin direct passenger and cargo flights from Sialkot International Airport. Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Etihad Airways and Emirates would start their operations from Sialkot soon. The number of international flights to various foreign destinations from the industrial city will reportedly rise to 45 from the existing 21 in a month.

The business community was thrilled. “The transport costs and the ability to respond to demand swiftly in a fast changing, competitive international market makes or breaks a business. Better connectivity will save local businesses time and money. Siakot will return favour by investing in modernisation of the airport and jacking up efforts to outperform their competitors in the international trade”, Mohammad Azam, a businessman from Sialkot commented.

“Sialkot is a big commercial centre with a motivated business community. The decision is a step in the right direction”, Zubair Motiwala, a known business leader said when reached over telephone.

The ministry that authenticated the government’s decision, however, did not share the euphoria. The ministry of defence, responsible for the aviation industry, detested the move that, it said, was forced on it. It believed the decision compromised national interests.

“People will still be happier if you allow them to travel free but would you do that?” a senior officer in the ministry asked when contacted in Islamabad for comments. “The sound economic decisions are not necessarily popular”, he answered without waiting for a reply. Why is the ministry not inclined to favour ‘sound economic decisions’? Why is fair and productive competition being regarded as detrimental? Could the fact that a self-absorbed ministry (that has too much on its plate in the first place) been given control of the aviation industry is proving out to be a disastrous decision?

With only three Pakistani airlines in the market, that seem are ever ready to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, what possible options are left for improvements in Pakistan’s aviation industry


http://dawn.com/2012/12/04/pakistans-aviation-industry-failing-to-fly/

Riaz Haq said...

n his piece for The Nation newspaper, author Kamal Monnoo worries about future declines in overseas remittances to Pakistan from Pak diaspora.

The author is focusing too much on the cyclical economic factors and not enough on the longer term demographic trends.

Western nations are going to need more, not fewer, workers from developing nations like Pakistan because the populations in the OECD nations are aging and shrinking.

Kerala example is not relevant either because Kerala itself has sub-replacement TFR of just 1.7 which is worse than some of the European nations.

Pakistan, with its total fertility rate of 3.5, has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/10/pakistans-expected-demographic-dividend.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on Thai Airways increasing flights to-from Pakistan:

LAHORE: Thai Airways International has increased its flight frequencies on various destination of Pakistan including Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Accordingly, flights from Lahore have been increased to 6 days a week. There will be five flighs from Karachi and four from Lahore.Thai Airways has been operating in Pakistan for about 37 year’s nonstop, so we have long association with our Pakistani customers. The airlines is one of the pioneers of facilitating 100 certified Halal Food on board to flights BKK TO Pakistan V.V. Passengers don’t have to request for Halal food or Muslim food en-routing to flight from /to Bangkok–Pakistan.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\02\01\story_1-2-2013_pg10_3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Bloomberg report on remittances helping the poor and keeping Pak economy afloat:

Living in poverty in a mud shack in Pakistan, Mazhar Ali dropped out of school, sold the family’s two buffalo and bought a visa to work in Dubai. The money he sends home is paying for a new house.

“We’re going to build three rooms with bricks and cement, plus a courtyard and a washroom,” said his younger brother Azhar in Larkana, home town of the ruling People’s Party about 300 kilometers north of Karachi. “We will then start marrying one by one, starting with Mazhar sometime this year.”

The family’s change in fortunes reflects a rising trend of rich nations with aging workers tapping poorer ones for labor -- total remittances to developing economies will rise 7.9 percent this year, and reach $534 billion by 2015, the World Bank says. For Pakistan, the income offers a source of stability, with the country poised for its first civilian handover of government in May even amid power shortages, bombings and a Taliban insurgency.

“This is our savior for keeping Pakistan out of the oxygen tent,” Farooq Sattar, former Minister for Overseas Pakistanis said in an interview in Karachi last month before his party quit the government alliance. “It has kept us from a complete economic collapse.”

Almost 10 million Pakistanis work overseas and the sum they’ve sent home has doubled in the four years through June, to a record $13 billion.

The rising tide of funds from overseas contrasts with a struggle by President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration to raise enough revenue to fund programs that would boost domestic growth. Pakistan owes the IMF $7.5 billion by 2015 and is evaluating a possible further loan from the fund as a buffer against shocks, Saleem H. Mandviwalla said in December as Finance Minister.
Falling Rupee

The local currency has fallen on concern loan repayments will erode foreign-exchange reserves, which fell to $7.5 billion in January from $11.8 billion a year earlier, according to the central bank. The rupee traded yesterday at 98.35 per dollar, near a record low, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Pakistan was among the 15 lowest revenue-gathering nations in the world as a percentage of GDP, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book 2012. The South Asian nation recorded the highest budget deficit in two decades in the fiscal year through June as it missed its tax target.

The nation’s fiscal deficit may be 7.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, wider than the government’s target of 4.7 percent, the IMF said in January.

Among the biggest challenges for the government is the need to add almost 4,000 megawatts of power generation to end a shortage that’s causing blackouts for as long as 18 hours a day, idling factories and swelling unemployment. The government said energy shortages cut economic growth last year by as much as 4 percentage points.

Keeping Afloat

“Extreme poverty has not risen as much as it would have without remittances,” Rashid Amjad, a professor at the Lahore School of Economics said in an e-mail. “Most of the remittances are flowing into consumption, real estate, housing and the stock market, and have played a critical role in keeping Pakistan’s economy afloat.”

Pakistan will hold parliamentary elections on May 11, after the outgoing government, led by Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party, became the first democratically elected administration in 65 years of independence to complete its term.
--------
Remittances that fuel a thriving underground economy may rise further in the next few years as more Pakistanis seek employment overseas, said G.M. Arif, an economist at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in Islamabad.

---

Some Pakistanis also use the system to avoid paying tax..
...


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-25/pakistan-s-army-of-overseas-workers-keeps-economy-from-collapse.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Gulf News report on new tech training center in FATA's Bajaur agency in Pakistan:

Islamabad: In keeping with the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to provide assistance to the people of Pakistan and to support technical and vocational educational there, the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (UPAP) has announced completion of the project to build a technical college at Bajaur in Pakistan at a total cost of $3.4 million (Dh12.4 million). The project was delivered to the local government in Bajaur following completion.

The official inauguration of the college was attended by Chief of Pakistan Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Eisa Abdullah Al Basha Al Nuaimi, Abdullah Khalifa Al Gafli, Director of the UPAP, and senior Pakistani officials.

The college is built on a 34,000 square foot area. It will provide diploma-level technical education for up to 450 students in various disciplines of engineering such as electrical, mechanical, civil and mining.


http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/government/emirati-charity-project-in-pakistan-completed-1.1172873

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on Pak students participating in international robotics competition:

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Robotics team will leave for United States of America on April 23 to take part in First Lego League (FLL) international robotics competition to be held on April 24 in United States of America (USA).

According to details, the National Robotics Champions Team would be the first-ever Pakistani team to take part in World Festival. Pakistani team, out of 20 teams, won the regional championship title earlier in qualifying round held for the International competition.



It was also the winner team in the national robotics championship as it defeated 13 other teams.



It may be noted that out of 20,000 teams which took part in the competition worldwide, only 85 teams were declared successful as they cleared the national qualifying rounds. Now they would take part in the FLL World Festival to be held from April 24 to April 27 in Saint Louis, Missouri.



Three-member team comprising Vice Captain Muhammad Rafay Arshad, Abdullah Gulraiz and Umar Khalique along with coach Saeed Akhtar will leave on Tuesday.



The team members have expressed the hope that they will win the international title for Pakistan.



Earlier, the team comprised 7 members but now only three team members will participate in world festival along with their coach, said a statement. (PPI)


http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-97782-Pakistan-robotics-team-to-compete-in-international-event

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Australia's first Pakistani female in a state legislature:

AUSTRALIA: A Pakistan-born migrant Mehreen Faruqi became the first Muslim woman to enter the Australian state parliament as she was selected by the New South Wales Greens to fill a position in the upper house of the state legislature, Voice of America (VOA) reported on Wednesday.

Faruqi was selected by a postal ballot of party members, from a field of seven in a contest in which only women could run.

She is all set to become part of Australia’s first and oldest parliament in New South Wales in July as the first female Muslim in any of Australia’s state, territory or federal parliaments.

While Muslim groups worry that Faruqi will face problem in merging the teachings of Islam and Greens policies, she believes that faith should have no bearing on Australian politics.

“I see no role that religion plays in government and nor should it. I am not a spokesperson, you know, for religious Islam. There are many other MPs who are Christians and likewise they are not spokespeople for the church,” she stated.

“And, like I said earlier, I joined the Greens because of a really strong position on sustainability, social justice, human rights [and] multiculturalism.”

“She would support things such as gay marriage and that is directly in conflict with the teachings of Islam. I do not know whether she is going to stick to that, how she is going to harmonize between the two,” Keysar Trad, the founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia said.

Faruqi studied environmental engineering after she migrated from Pakistan with her family in 1992 and is a professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales.

As the ethnic diversity increases in Australia, analysts expect more participation from minorities in the political arena.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/539848/pakistan-born-first-muslim-female-to-enter-australian-parliament/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts of a UN report on population released today:

World population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 with most
growth in developing regions, especially Africa – says UN
India expected to become world’s largest country, passing China around 2028,
while Nigeria could surpass the United States by 2050
New York, 13 June—The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to
increase by almost one billion people within the next twelve years, reaching 8.1
billion in 2025 and 9.6 billion in 2050, according to a new United Nations report,
World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, launched today.
Most of the population growth will occur in developing regions, which are projected
to increase from 5.9 billion in 2013 to 8.2 billion in 2050...
--------
At the country level, much of the overall increase between now and 2050 is projected
to take place in high-fertility countries, mainly in Africa, as well as countries with
large populations such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United
States.
-----
For example,
the population of India is expected to surpass that of China around 2028, when both
countries will have populations of around 1.45 billion. Thereafter, India’s population
will continue to grow for several decades to around 1.6 billion and then decline
slowly to 1.5 billion in 2100. The population of China, on the other hand, is expected
to start decreasing after 2030, possibly reaching 1.1 billion in 2100.
Nigeria’s population is expected to surpass that of the United States before the middle
of the century. By the end of the century, Nigeria could start to rival China as the
second most populous country in the world. By 2100 there could be several other
countries with populations over 200 million, namely Indonesia, the United Republic
of Tanzania, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda and
Niger.
---
...Europe’s population projected to decline by
14 per cent. Fertility in almost all European countries is now below the level required
for full replacement of the population in the long run (around 2.1 children per woman
on average). Fertility for Europe, as a whole, is projected to increase from 1.5 children
per woman in 2005-2010 to 1.8 in 2045-2050, and to 1.9 by 2095-2100. Despite this
increase, childbearing in low-fertility countries is expected to remain below the
replacement level, leading to a likely contraction of total population size.
Longer lives around the world
Life expectancy is projected to increase in developed and developing countries in
future years, according to the report. ----
---------
At the global level, it is projected to reach 76 years in 2045-2050 and 82 years in
2095-2100. By the end of the century, people in developed countries could live on
average around 89 years, compared to about 81 years in developing regions.
--------
In terms of annual averages, the major net receivers of international migrants during 2010-2050 are
projected to be the United States of America (1,000,000 annually), Canada (205,000), the United
Kingdom (172,500), Australia (150,000), Italy (131,250), the Russian Federation (127,500), France
(106,250) and Spain (102,500). The major countries of net emigration are projected to be
Bangladesh (-331,000 annually), China (-300,000), India (-284,000), Mexico (-210,000), Pakistan
(-170,000), Indonesia (-140,000) and the Philippines (-92,500). Economic and demographic
asymmetries across countries that may persist are likely to remain powerful generators of
international migration within the medium-term future.
...


http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Documentation/pdf/WPP2012_Press_Release.pdf

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Documentation/pdf/WPP2012_%20KEY%20FINDINGS.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from Dawn Op Ed on foreign remittances holding up reserves:

AT a time when the rupee is under constant pressure because of rapidly falling foreign exchange reserves, the increase in the amount of money sent home by overseas Pakistanis is good news. Remittances have grown 9pc in the first quarter of the present fiscal to $3.9bn — equal to the liquid reserves of the central bank. Although foreign currency earnings of overseas Pakistanis have been feeding the country’s reserves and propping up the rupee for some time now, the importance of remittances has increased recently as exports stagnate and foreign official and private flows dry up. Even an IMF loan has failed to shore up the reserves or revive public confidence in the rupee. In recent days, the latter was hit hard by a weakening exchange rate and capital flight. Most people like to park their savings in dollars rather than in rupees as indicated by the rising volume of foreign currency accounts of commercial banks to $5.17bn — an amount that is substantially higher than that of the official liquid reserves.

http://dawn.com/news/1049075/relying-on-remittances-reserves-situation

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pakistani-German correspondent's piece on Pakistan for Der Spiegel:

"The initial plan was for me to move to Delhi, India, where I would work as SPIEGEL's South Asia correspondent. I had reported from India before, but when I sought accreditation for the post, India refused without giving any explanation. For the first time, I personally felt what it means to have Pakistani roots. It becomes your defining aspect.

So Islamabad became the choice. And what a place: It was a city that had been planned and then not allowed to grow out of control -- lush and green, with beautiful hills and Bauhaus architecture. I soon realized I could mingle with people without them immediately recognizing that I was a foreigner. I could travel to places usually closed to Westerners. And once I polished the Urdu I learned in my childhood, I could also talk to people."
------------
It's also often a one-sided argument. Yes, it is very unfortunate that quite a number of journalists are sure to include the words "Taliban" and "terror" in their pieces on Pakistan, even if the subject of their reporting is cricket, literature or butterflies in Gilgit-Baltistan. To write about Pakistan without the Taliban and terror seems to be unthinkable for many reporters -- and what they often end up delivering is a black-and-white image of a very colorful and complex country.
--------
"As a Pakistani-German, I have roots in the country. I like Pakistan. I brought my German wife there, and my child spent the first years of his life in Islamabad. If I hadn't liked Pakistan, I wouldn't have stayed on for four years. Still, things are heading in the wrong direction in the country. Rather than pointing fingers at others and blaming them for the country's ailing image abroad, people should be focused on seeking real solutions. The first step is to be critical and to honestly identify the country's problems. The second is to address them.

It will only be after that happens that Pakistani-Germans might be proud enough to call their establishments Pakistani restaurants."


http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/pakistani-german-spiegel-correspondent-on-reporting-from-islamabad-a-928051.html

Riaz Haq said...

The fifth edition of the ICC World T20 which commenced in Dhaka on Sunday, features at least 36 Pakistan born players playing for various teams including Pakistan.

The Green Shirts’ 15 member squad led by Muhammad Hafeez will launch their campaign on March 21st when they take on arch-rivals India.

The remaining 21 Pakistan born players are representing six teams.

Hong Kong has the most number of Pakistan born players, after Pakistan’s squad. Gujrat born Tanvir Afzal and Munir Dar, Babar Hayyat and Ehsan Nawaz of Attock, Haseeb Amjad and Waqas Barkat of Rawalpindi along with Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed and Nizakat Khan – all will be representing Hong Kong in ICC World T20 2014.

The United Arab Emirates has seven Pakistan born players in their squad and they’re Khurram Khan, Amjad Ali, Faizan Asif, Rohan Mustafa, Shaiman Anwar, Sharif Asadullah & Kamran Shahzad.

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and the Netherlands have one Pakistan born player each in their squads.

Pakistan born Imran Tahir will be representing South Africa, Mudassar Bukhari will be playing for the Netherlands, Sikandar Raza is selected in Zimbabwe’s squad while Gulbadin Naib will be wearing Afghanistan’s jersey in the event.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-141316-Thirty-Six-Pakistan-born-players-playing-in-World-T20