While Pakistan's HDI of 0.504 (2011) ranks it among UNDP's low human development countries, its largest city Karachi's HDI of 0.7885 (2005) is closer to the group of nations given high human development rankings.
In a regional human development analysis for Pakistan done by Haroon Jamal and Amir Jahan Khan of the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi ranks at the top with HDI of 0.7885, followed by Jhelum district's 0.7698 and Haripur's 0.7339. Lahore has HDI score of 0.6882 and Rawalpindi 0.638.
Majority of the nations ranked as high human development are less populated than Karachi with its 15 million+ inhabitants, and none is experiencing the massive waves of poor rural migrants from some of the least developed areas of Pakistan which Karachi continues to absorb after each disaster in other parts of the country, natural or otherwise.
Karachi often makes news for its recurring episodes of violence which claim many innocent lives. Yet, the city continues to be a big draw for large numbers of rural migrants looking for better economic opportunities. In spite of the many problems they face, it's a fact that even the slums in Karachi offer them better access to education and health care--basic ingredients for human development.
When visitors see a squatter city in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, they observe overwhelming desperation: rickety shelters, little kids working or begging, absence of sanitation, filthy water and air. However, there are many benefits of rural to urban migration for migrants' lives, including reduction in abject poverty, empowerment of women, increased access to healthcare and education and other services. Historically, cities have been driving forces in economic and social development. As centers of industry and commerce, cities have long been centers of wealth and power. They also account for a disproportionate share of national income. The World Bank estimates that in the developing world, as much as 80 percent of future economic growth will occur in towns and cities. Nor are the benefits of urbanization solely economic. Urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. Other benefits of urban life are less tangible but no less real: access to information, diversity, creativity, and innovation.
In a 2009 interview published by Wired Magazine, Stewart Brand, "the pioneering environmentalist, technology thinker", and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog summed up the positive aspects of urban slums, and made a counterintuitive case that the booming slums and squatter cities in and around Mumbai, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro are net positives for poor people and the environment. Wired asked him to elaborate. Here are a few excerpts:
Wired: What makes squatter cities so important?
Stewart Brand: That's where vast numbers of humans—slum dwellers—are doing urban stuff in new and amazing ways. And hell's bells, there are a billion of them! People are trying desperately to get out of poverty, so there's a lot of creativity; they collaborate in ways that we've completely forgotten how to do in regular cities. And there's a transition: People come in from the countryside, enter the rickshaw economy, and work for almost nothing. But after a while, they move uptown, into the formal economy. The United Nations did extensive field research and flipped from seeing squatter cities as the world's great problem to realizing these slums are actually the world's great solution to poverty.
Wired: Why are they good for the environment?
Brand: Cities draw people away from subsistence farming, which is ecologically devastating, and they defuse the population bomb. In the villages, women spend their time doing agricultural stuff, for no pay, or having lots and lots of kids. When women move to town, it's better to have fewer kids, bear down, and get them some education, some economic opportunity. Women become important, powerful creatures in the slums. They're often the ones running the community-based organizations, and they're considered the most reliable recipients of microfinance loans.
Wired: How can governments help nurture these positives?
Brand: The suffering is great, and crime is rampant. We made the mistake of romanticizing villages, and we don't need to make that mistake again. But the main thing is not to bulldoze the slums. Treat the people as pioneers. Get them some grid electricity, water, sanitation, crime prevention. All that makes a huge difference.
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You may want to read a new book "Instant City -- Life and Death in Karachi" by Steve Inskeep.
I'm already half way through Inskeep's Instant City. It's quite interesting.
Riazbhai, that is good news and bad news. If Karachi and other districts have high HDI then other parts of the country are living in poor conditions because overall HDI is 0.504.
Is this a new kind of feudalism??
Umar: "that is good news and bad news. "
I see it as good news.
It raises the hope that, in spite of the short term pain, the current wave of rapid urbanization will lead to higher levels of human development for Pakistan in the long run.
There are many benefits of rural to urban migration for migrants' lives, including reduction in abject poverty, empowerment of women, increased access to healthcare and education and other services. Historically, cities have been driving forces in economic and social development. As centers of industry and commerce, cities have long been centers of wealth and power. They also account for a disproportionate share of national income. The World Bank estimates that in the developing world, as much as 80 percent of future economic growth will occur in towns and cities. Nor are the benefits of urbanization solely economic. Urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. Other benefits of urban life are less tangible but no less real: access to information, diversity, creativity, and innovation.
thanks for keeping statistical hope alive.
The numbers look OK on paper but how to make chaos of karachi stream line is going to be interesting.
so much talent wow in city of candle light.
Here's a NY Times blog by Huma Yusuf about Pakistan stalled census 2011:
Yet Population Year is drawing to a close and no census is in sight. There are many reasons: the precarious security situation, repeated flooding in many parts of the country, lack of resources to train the 225,000 census takers required to conduct the head count in time. But the main reason is politics. The major parties draw their power from rural constituencies, and by highlighting the extent of the country’s urbanization, a census would lead to the creation of new urban constituencies.
With an eye toward the national elections slated for 2013, many Pakistani politicians are doing everything in their power to circumvent or delay a count. The country’s largest parties, the governing Pakistan Peoples Party and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N, are particularly threatened by the prospect of reduced rural constituencies. Newcomers such as the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the founder of Tehreek-e-Insaf, which enjoys significant support in Punjabi cities, stand to gain.
Gerrymandering is not rare in boisterous democracies. But in Pakistan, it can be a matter of life and death. In Karachi, from where I have been reporting for eight years, many of the political parties are based on ethnic groups, and a revised count would lead to a revised political balance. Fears that this might happen are fanning ethnic violence. More than 2,100 people have been killed in Karachi in political assassinations over the past two years — a death toll not seen since 1995, a year of widespread ethnic and political violence. Muhammad Jalil, a community organizer in Lyari, one of the worst-affected slums of the city, told me in August that everyone — women, teenage footballers — is exposed to the violence. “Political activists and gangsters are not the only ones targeted. Entire communities are vulnerable.”
Since the 1980s, ethnic Pashtuns and the Urdu-speaking Mohajirs, migrants from northern India, have clashed over access to property and jobs in Karachi. Criminal gangs with ties to political parties — including the ruling P.P.P. — had been warring over smuggling rackets and extortion rings. But as election year approaches, it is Karachi’s shifting demographics that are driving much of the violence.
Until recently, the Mohajirs were the city’s clear majority, accounting for 48 percent of the population, according to the 1998 survey. But military operations against militant groups in northwestern Pakistan since 2007 have increased the flow of Pashto-speaking migrants into Karachi. By some estimates this group now represents 22 percent of the city’s population, up from about 12 percent in 1998. So now the M.Q.M., the Mohajirs’ representative party, fears that a census documenting the expansion of Karachi’s Pashtun population would lead to a redistricting that would favor its local rival, the A.N.P......
KARACHI: The German parliament has ratified the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed by Germany and Pakistan in the year 2009 and has sent it to the European Commission for its final approval, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany Shahid Kamal told PPI.
Under the Bilateral Investment Treaty, investors of both the countries will be given protection and there will be more German investment in Pakistan in next 3 to 5 years, Kamal added.
Pakistan’s exports to Germany during 2011 calendar years will be around $1.5 billion, with the balance of trade in favour of Pakistan, as against $700 million in the last year.
Quoting official German statistics, Kamal said the trade between the two countries from January to July 2011, was $800 million, 45 percent more than in 2010.
Germany - the largest economy in Europe - was the fifth largest investor in Pakistan in the years 2009 and 2010.
“We are trying to set up German Pakistan Chambers of Commerce, which will enhance connectivity between the private sectors of both the countries,” Kamal stated.
He spoke of immense prospects to export rice, fruits, and vegetables to Germany, where prices of these items were rising. He said Germany was supporting Pakistan for greater market access to EU member states.
He said under an agreement signed recently, German government will provide economic assistance of $58 million for training in electronics, mechanics to Pakistanis over five years.
Shahid Kamal said another $85 million worth of German economic cooperation was underway in renewable wind and solar energy, which will help overcome load shedding in the country. He also said that 340 PhD Pakistanis were working in German universities. German Consul General in Karachi Dr Tilo Klinner, who was also present during the discussion, said that under German economic cooperation program, people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces will get Pakistanis will get vocational training under the Public Private Partnership. Dr Klinner said German government will co-host an International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn on December 5, 2011.
Here's a NY Times report on Lancet study of child pneumonia home treatment by Pakistan's lady health workers:
Letting “lady health workers” in rural northern Pakistan treat children with severe pneumonia in their homes worked better than the established practice of telling parents to take them to a hospital, a new study has found.
The study, published in The Lancet this month, followed 1,857 children who were treated at home with oral amoxicillin for five days and 1,354 children in a control group who were given standard care: one dose of oral cotrimoxazole and instructions to go to the nearest hospital or clinic.
The home-treated group had only a 9 percent treatment-failure rate, while the control group children failed to improve 18 percent of the time.
Some parents could not afford to take their children to hospitals, which were often understaffed.
Researchers from Save the Children, the World Health Organization and Boston University did the study, which was financed by the United States Agency for International Development. Pneumonia is a major killer of infants and toddlers.
Pakistan’s network of 90,000 “lady health workers” was founded in 1994 by Benazir Bhutto, then the prime minister.
“It’s one of the best community-based health systems in the world,” said Dr. Donald Thea, a Boston University researcher who was one of the authors.
A Lancet editorial cautioned that not all local health workers are as well trained and supervised as Pakistan’s and that since northern Pakistan has a low AIDS rate, it would be wrong to assume that every country would do as well with such a system.
Online News: Half of Pakistan’s population may live in cities by 2030
ISLAMABAD: More than half of Pakistan’s population is estimated to be living in cities by the year 2030. Both natural increase and net migration are major contributory factors to urban growth.
These views were expressed by participants of a seminar on “Business and the Middle Class in Pakistan organized by the Planning Commission of Pakistan which was held here on Wednesday.
The seminar included speakers and discussants from some of the largest companies and businesses in Pakistan, coming together to discuss the importance of the evolving middle class in Pakistan.
The participants said that current urban growth rate was approximately 3.5 per cent as compare to 2 per cent nationally. More rural people are migrating to urban centers for higher-paying jobs. Upward social mobility creating and expanding the middle class.
Given the low median age, Pakistan’s middle class is unusually young as compared to developed economies, meaning that younger population will have the most disposable incomes.The expanding middle class consumers will aim for first world aspirations and greater focus will be on branded retail products. The middle class has been growing in number as well as in importance all over the world, which is why businesses strategize targeting this specific class.
The participants said that the middle class is conceptually defined as the class between the rich and the poor; however its boundaries are usually made arbitrarily. It is also important to note the multi-dimensionality of an adequate definition; a person belonging to the middle class needs to be evaluated not only on a monetary basis, other aspects of quality of life and available opportunities need to be encapsulated to arrive at a well rounded definition.
They said that studies show a positive relationship between the higher share of income for the middle class and economic growth as well as political aspects like democracy. Other studies indicate the emergence of entrepreneurs from the middle class. It is the middle class that was the driver of success in India and China.
They said that the biggest opportunity of the rising middle class, at present and future will be for companies selling mass-consumer goods and services. As incomes rise spending patterns will incorporate discretionary and small luxury items while proportionate expenditure on food, clothing and other necessities tend to shrink.
While the basics may decline as a share of consumption, in absolute terms they will continue to grow. Housing, healthcare and educational expenses are expected to register a greater share of the wallet – this spending will be driven by the strong link between education and higher salaries, as well as growing number of options for both higher and vocational education.
Rising per capita income and a growing, young population spending more time online and at Western movies are helping build a mass market in Pakistan, according to Businessweek:
One way to take a city’s economic pulse is to check out where locals shop. In Karachi, Pakistan, shoppers are flocking to Port Grand, which opened in May. Built as a promenade by the historic harbor for almost $23 million, the center caters to Pakistanis eager to indulge themselves. This city of 20 million has seen more than 1,500 deaths from political and sectarian violence from January to August. At Port Grand the only hint of the turmoil is the presence of security details and surveillance cameras. “The whole world is going through a new security environment,” says Shahid Firoz, 61, Port Grand’s developer. “We have to be very conscious of security just as any other significant facility anywhere in the world needs to be.”
Young people stroll the promenade eating burgers and fries and browsing through 60 stores and stalls that sell everything from high fashion to silver bracelets to ice cream. Ornate benches dot a landscaped area around a 150-year-old banyan tree. “Port Grand is something fresh for the city, very aesthetically pleasing and unique,” says Yasmine Ibrahim, a 25-year-old Lebanese American who is helping set up a student affairs office at a new university in Karachi.
One-third of Pakistan’s 170 million people are under the age of 15, which means the leisure business will continue to grow, says Naveed Vakil, head of research at AKD Securities. Per capita income has grown to $1,254 a year in June from $1,073 three years ago.
The appetite for things American is strong despite the rise in tensions between the two allies. Hardee’s opened its first Karachi outlet in September: In the first few days customers waited for hours. It plans to open 10 more restaurants in Pakistan in the next two and a half years, says franchisee Imran Ahmed Khan. U.S. movies are attracting crowds to the recently opened Atrium Cinemas, which would not be out of place in suburban Chicago. Current features include The Adventures of Tintin and the latest Twilight Saga installment. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol is coming soon. Operator Nadeem Mandviwalla says the cinema industry in Pakistan is growing 30 percent a year.
Exposure to Western lifestyles through cable television and the Internet is raising demand for these goods and services. Pakistan has 20 million Internet users, compared with 133,900 a decade ago, while 25 foreign channels, such as CNN (TWX) and BBC World News, are now available. And for many Pakistanis, reruns of the U.S. sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond are a regular treat.
The bottom line: With per capita income rising quickly, Pakistan is developing a mass market eager for Western goods.
The World Bank on Thursday said it would provide Pakistan with $5.5 billion in development aid over the next two years, according to AFP:
“The Bank has responded flexibly in the face of the tremendous challenges Pakistan has gone through over the past year or so,” said its Pakistan country director Rachid Benmessaoud.
“We will continue our strong support to Pakistan, while keeping a keen eye on implementation to ensure that these efforts translate into real results on the ground,” he said.
The bank’s progress report on its Pakistan program said its efforts had been disrupted over the past two years by the devastating floods of 2010-2011, ongoing security problems as well as “slow economic reform”.
“Shifting the focus and resources in response to the floods led to a delay in infrastructure investments,” it said.
It said Pakistan’s economic recovery from the floods and other problems remains slow, with growth of 3.9 percent expected next year.
“A range of governance, corruption and business environment indicators suggest that these areas remain a challenge,” it added.
The funds include $4 billion in development assistance and $1.5 billion from the bank’s International Finance Corporation, which helps private sector firms.
“We are committed to helping Pakistan realize its potential especially in key sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy and agribusiness,” said IFC Middle East director Mouayed Mahlouf
Here's an excerpt from a piece in Express Tribune:
...Karachi contains 62 per cent of Sindh’s urban population; 30 per cent of Sindh’s total population; and 22 per cent of Pakistan’s urban population. Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan, on the other hand, contains only 22 per cent of Punjab’s urban population; seven per cent of Punjab’s total population; and 12 per cent of Pakistan’s urban population. Individually, the other major cities are a very small fraction of Karachi and Lahore.
Karachi’s large-scale industrial sector employees make up 71.6 per cent of the total industrial labour force in Sindh; 74.8 per cent of the total industrial output of the province is produced in Karachi; and 78 per cent of formal private sector jobs of the province are located in Karachi.
Then there are powerful federal government interests as well, in the form of the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim, Customs, Railways, Civil Aviation Authority and the armed forces and their various industrial and real estate activities. The city contains 32 per cent of the total industrial establishment of the country; generates 15 per cent of the national GDP, 25 per cent of federal revenues and 62 per cent of income tax. Also, the most important health, education, recreation, entertainment and media-related institutions in the province, are located in the city and so are the provincial headquarters.
Provincial and state governments always have conflicts with powerful autonomous cities since the non-city population of the province or state feels that the city and its assets do not belong to them. Even in a relatively homogeneous country like Thailand, Bangkok was seen by the anti-government Red Shirt Movement as responsible for deprivation and inequity in the country.
The second issue is related to the changing demography of Sindh. There is a fear among the Sindhi-speaking population (in which I include Balochi, Seraiki and Brahvi speakers as well) that they are being converted into a minority in their province. Let us see how real this perception is.
Seventy-three per cent of Karachi’s population in 1941 said that their mother tongue consisted of one of the local provincial languages, 6.2 per cent said it was Urdu/Hindi, and 2.8 per cent said it was Punjabi. Pashtu at that time was nonexistent. In 1998, the local languages had declined to 14 per cent, Urdu increased to 48.52 per cent, Punjabi to 14 per cent and Pashtu stood at 11.42 per cent....
Here are some excerpts of an NPR Fresh Air interview of Katherine Boo, the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers:
.......Some inhabitants (of Mumbai slum Annawadi) lack any shelter and sleep outside. Rats commonly bite sleeping children, and barely a handful of the 3,000 residents have the security of full-time employment. Over the course of her time in Annawadi, Boo learned about the residents' social distinctions, their struggles to escape poverty, and conflicts that sometimes threw them into the clutches of corrupt government officials. Her book reads like a novel, but the characters are real.
BOO: Well, I'll describe it (the slum) this way. You come into the Mumbai International Airport, you make a turn, and you go past a lavish Hyatt and a beautiful hotel called the Grand Maratha. By the time you get to the Hyatt, which is about three minutes in your car, you've already gone past this place.
There's a rocky road that goes into it, and you turn in, and the first thing you notice when you get into this landscape of hand-built, makeshift, crooked huts is one of the borders of the slum - or it was I came in 2008 - was this vast lake of extremely noxious sewage and petrochemicals and things that the people modernizing the glamorous airport had dumped in the lake.
And so it was almost beachfront property on this foul, malarial lake, and all around it in this, the single open space in the slum were people cooking and bathing and fighting and flirting. And there were goats and water buffalo. There was a little brothel, and men would line up outside the little brothel. And there was a liquor still.
And mainly there were families and children who were trying their best to find a niche in the global market economy. Almost no one in Annawadi had permanent work. Six people out of 3,000 last I checked had permanent work.
DAVIES: One of the most remarkable things to read here was that you tell us in the book that no one in Annawadi was actually considered poor by traditional Indian benchmarks. Is that right? I mean, if they're not poor, who is poor?
BOO: Go to the village, and you'll see what poor is. No, so officially, the poverty lines in many countries, including India, are set so low that officially the people that I'm writing about look like part of the great success narrative of modern global capitalism. They look like the more than 100 million people who have been freed since liberalization in India in 1991 from poverty.
So usually in my work, I'm not looking to write about the poorest and abject. I'm not looking to make you feel sorry for people. I want readers to have a connection more blooded and complex than pity or revulsion. But really, the main point I have to say is that on the books, these men, women and children have succeeded in the global economy. They're the success stories.
But I hope what my book shows is that it's a little more complicated than that.
DAVIES: Well, I mean, so many of them are just on the edge of losing, you know, food and shelter for the day. I mean, are the truly poor, are they rural poor who sleep out in the open? I mean, who are the...?
BOO: Well, many people in Annawadi sleep out in the open, too, but when Asha(ph) - in the book, I follow Asha, the mother, who has used politics and corruption to try to give her daughter a college education, I follow her back home to Vidarbha, a very poor agricultural region.
And when Asha walks through the door, everybody can see on her face and the face of her children how good life is in the Mumbai slums. Asha's grandmother walks on all fours, she's so bent from agricultural labor. And when Asha walks in that door, she stands mast straight.,,,
Here's a report on the state of education in Sindh province:
Around 94 per cent of grade III students in Sindh cannot read sentences in English, Urdu or Sindhi after being taught in grade II, according to the Annual Status of Education Report 20ll (ASER) Sindh, which was launched on Monday.
The report highlighted the major differences between children, from five to 16 years, in 17 rural areas of Sindh with that of Karachi district.
For example, the enrolment rate of children, between three to five years, was found to be only 38% in rural Sindh while 69% in Karachi.
In the age group of six to 16 years, only 29% of the children were enrolled in schools in rural areas while in Karachi it was 71%.
Around 25% were not attending school at the right age – six to 10 years, in the rural areas. In Karachi, only five per cent did not attend school. In the 17 districts which were surveyed, around 90% attended government schools, 10% private schools and less than one per cent went to madrassahs. It was just the opposite for Karachi – 27% attended public-sector schools while the majority studied in private schools. Kashmore had the most alarming figures – around 45% children in the district did not go to school.
The report also surveyed the studying habits of children. It revealed that private-school students took more tuitions than those studying in public-sector. Around 18% children in rural Sindh, studying in private schools, took tuitions as compared to only 2.6% who went to government schools. The report also stated that there were more girls in government schools in Karachi (63%) while there were more boys in private schools (52%).
The good news
Not all of the facts in the report were alarming. According to it, Karachi had the highest literacy rate for mothers – 82%, as compared to Lahore and Peshawar.
The educationists present at the launch criticised the government vehemently for its ‘non-serious attitude.’ However, they put forward some recommendations about how to use the information in the ASER report to good use.
Dr Thomas Christie, the director of the Aga Khan University (AKU) Education Baord, said that the report should also have included the number of languages exposed to children and if they were multilingual.
The director of AKU Institutes for Education D4evelopment, Dr Muhammad Memon, said that questions like why were the head teachers not able to do their jobs effectively and why did they get benefits when they did not even go to schools, needed to be answered as well.
He suggested that the process by which the teachers were selected and how they were prepared should also be examined.
Economist and former advisor to the chief minister, Kaiser Bengali, said that he had presented a charter of school reforms to the chief minister but it never made it to the cabinet. He also shared some features of his proposal, saying that there were 49,000 schools in the province while there was a need for only 15,000. “The principals in government schools should have full authority and should take action against teachers who don’t turn up.” Bengali suggested that the teachers should be relived from election duties.
Here's a Nation newspaper report excerpt on Karachi's contribution to Pakistan's economy:
Economist A.B. Shahid said Karachi’s contribution to GDP amounted to around 16 billion rupees a day, and its daily tax revenues to two billion.
“Karachi is Pakistan’s economic engine, whenever it shuts, it affects the whole economy. Its taxes and industrial and services sectors feed the exchequer and its port being the gateway gives life to the rest of the country,” he told AFP.
“If one wants to cripple Pakistan’s economy, one should do nothing but to get Karachi paralysed.”
Market analysts say disturbances in Karachi are affecting foreign investment as well.
“Most multinationals are based in Karachi, and it has a negative impact when their bosses watch pitched battles on their TV screens in the streets of Karachi,” said Mohammad Sohail, the head of Topline Securities brokerage.
He said foreign investment in Pakistan stood at $5.4 billion four years ago, which shrank to $1.6 billion last year and is expected to further reduce to a maximum of $1 billion in the financial year ending on June 30.
Officials admit growing security concerns and targeted killings tarnish Karachi’s attraction for foreign investors and risk driving business away.
The American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad last May was another punishing blow to Pakistan’s depleted image, raising renewed questions about whether anyone in authority had colluded with Al-Qaeda.
“Local industrialists, mainly textile businessmen, are shifting their investments to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia because of law and order and energy shortages,” said a government minister on condition of anonymity.
The authorities say they are doing their best to tackle the rampant unrest, but admit they have limited means at their disposal. Sharfuddin Memon, spokesman for the home department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is capital, admitted there were not enough policemen in the city but said they punch above their weight in terms of foiling crime and attacks.
The decades since independence in 1947 have seen Karachi transformed into a patchwork of Pakistan’s different ethnic groups — Mohajirs, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Punjabis and Baloch — as migrants from all over the country have come in search of a better life.
Millions in the city rely on daily piece work to make a living, and every day lost to violence or shutdowns is a day without income.
Fruit seller Mohammad Haleem, 34, said the unrest was making it hard to make ends meet.
“I could not earn livelihood for my five kids for most of the last week as it was dangerous to go outside,” said Mohammad Haleem, 34, a fruit vendor.
“It is getting too difficult for me to take a loan to feed my kids as the lenders are themselves in distress.”
Here's Express Trib on additional water and railway projects for Karachi:
The Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme or K-IV will cost Rs29 billion to pump to the city an additional supply of 260 million gallons per day (mgd) from the Indus River.
The federal government had initially refused to finance the project, citing lack of funds. The bureaucrats sitting in the capital were of the view that since provincial autonomy had been granted after the 18th amendment, Sindh should fix its own water woes. Karachi wrung its hands in despair as it doesn’t even have enough money to pay garbage collectors.
But now, upon the intervention of President Asif Ali Zardari, the federal government has agreed to foot 33% of the bill in the first phase. The remaining funds will be arranged by the provincial and district governments. The project is expected to take four years.
The K-IV project has constantly hit snags since it was conceived in 2006 by then Karachi nazim Mustafa Kamal given the severe water shortage in Karachi. The city needs 1,000 mgd but the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board only provides around 600 mgd. Leaks and water theft are the biggest drains on the system.
In another major development, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) is likely to approve the Karachi Circular Railway project at its meeting to be held today (Thursday) in Islamabad.
The meeting will be presided over by Federal Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and attended by the chief secretaries and other officials from all provinces. PPP MPA Hasnain Mirza, the newly appointed member of Ecnec from Sindh, will represent the Sindh government along with senior bureaucrats of the province.
Official sources told The Express Tribune that Ecnec will take up the mega projects relating to energy, transpiration, water, industry and housing etc.
Around 14 schemes are from Sindh.
Other projects likely to be taken up at the meeting include connecting the Thar coal power transmission to national grid, the construction of Darawat Dam and Nai Gaaj Dam in Dadu district. These schemes were also presented in the last Ecnec meeting, but the government was asked to wait till next meeting.
Here's an APP report on proposed revival of Karachi Circular Railway:
The ECC which met here under the chairmanship of Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was informed that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already agreed to provide 93.5pc ($2.4 billion) of the estimated cost through soft loan at a markup of 0.2pc payable in 40 years including 10 years grace period. The remaining 6.5pc ($169.6 million) will be borne by the Ministry of Railway (60pc equity), Government of Sindh (25pc equity) and the City District Government Karachi (15pc equity); the stakeholders of KUTC as per their share.
The track of the KCR will be 86 km long with 27 stations to be built around the city.
This important project will be a milestone in improving the quality of life of the citizens.
The ECC also approved the summary with special appreciation for the Ministry of Railways, the Government of Sindh and Karachi City Government for their efforts to get approved the most economic and viable project of Circular Railway for Karachi.
The ECC also discussed various agenda items of national importance. The following decisions were taken in the meeting;
At the outset of the meeting the ECC members offered special prayers for departed soul of Senior Minister of the KPK Government Mr. Bashir Bilour who lost his life in a terrorist attack in Peshawar recently.
The ECC prayed to Almighty God for resting the departed soul in eternal peace and for granting courage to the bereaved family to bear this precious loss.
Ministry of Railways moved a summary seeking the approval of the ECC for waiver of on-lending charges to Karachi Urban Transport Corporation for the Project "Revival of Karachi Circular Railways as Modern Commuter System".
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already agreed to provide 93.5pc (US$2.4 billion) of the estimated cost through soft loan at a markup of 0.2pc payable in 40 years including 10 years grace period.
The remaining 6.5pc (US$169.6 million) will be borne by the Ministry of Railway (60pc equity), Government of Sindh (25pc equity) and the City District Government Karachi (15pc equity); the stakeholders of KUTC as per their share.
The track of the KCR will be 86 km long and 27 stations will be built around the city.
This important project will be a milestone in improving the quality of life of the citizens.
The ECC approved the summary with special appreciation for the Ministry of Railways, the Government of Sindh and Karachi City Government for their efforts to get approved the most economic and viable project of Circular Railway for Karachi.
The ECC also approved a summary by Ministry of Railways for changes in the composition of Business Express.
Ministry of Railways submitted a summary for ECC approval back in July 2012.
The latest 2012 IQ data published by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen puts mean IQ of Pakistanis at 84 and of Indians at 82.2, and Bangladeshis at 81.
Each country has big std deviations and large positive outliers.
The highest IQs are reported for East Asia (100+) and the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (just over 70).
Punjab fares much better than other provinces in human development
Lahore was the highest ranked city of Pakistan on the HDI with 0.877, followed by Islamabad and then Rawalpindi. Four out of six cities of Punjab feature on the list of high human development including Rawalpindi (0.871), Sialkot (0.834) and Jhelum *0.829).
Moreover, only one city from Sindh, Karachi, makes it to the high human development list with 0.854.
The high medium human development rankings include 18 cities from Punjab, four cities from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one city from Sindh (Hyderabad).
Eleven cities each from Punjab and KP make it to the list of medium human development, which also includes four cities from Sindh and one from Balochistan (Quetta).
Very low human development includes 14 cities from Balochistan, two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Tor Ghar and Kohistan)and one from Sindh (Tharparkar).
Pakistan itself ranks in the medium human development category of the global rankings.
'KP excels other provinces over next three years'
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter said the UNDP report exposed propaganda by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The report is an analysis of first 18 months of the incumbent government, the PTI KP chapter said in a statement, which it said was even less than first two years of the government.
"The stats of five years cannot encompass first two years," the statement said, adding that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has surpassed rest of the provinces in performance and human development over the next three years.
Over the next three years, 4 KP districts progressed in terms of human development, compared to 3 districts in Punjab, 2 in Balochistan and 1 in Sindh, it said.
The PTI KP chapter said that under the tenure of Pakistan Peoples Party-led government in Sindh, 6 out of 10 Sindh districts fell prey to worst governance in the province.
The PML-N, which came to power in Punjab six times, has been perplexed over the performance of PTI's first-ever government in KP, the statement added.
More than 150,000 people visited the 17th Karachi International Book Fair in just two days and organisers of the event expect at least 400,000 people to take the trip to the five-day expo that ends on December 12.
The Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association (PPBA) has organised the annual exhibition at the Karachi Expo Centre that is open from 9am to 10pm daily.
Some 40 foreign publishing houses from 17 countries and over 130 noted publishers from Pakistan are participating in the event by setting up 330 book stalls.
According to the event organisers, the annual exhibition serves as a platform to let book publishers and retailers around the world share with each other the latest trends, technological improvements, and innovations introduced to upgrade the publishing industry.
Sindh Education and Culture Minister, Syed Sardar Ali Shah, said such events provided the opportunity to teach the new generation to stay away from violent and gory video games played on smartphones and reconnect with their native culture that stands for peace and security for everyone.
He conceded that the number of book readers had sharply gone down over the last several years due to excessive reliance on digital means of communication but still books play an important role in the lives of coming generations.
He advised the PPBA to organise fairs in other cities including in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, and Larkana as the authorities would provide all help in this regard.
The provincial government aims to expand the network of public libraries to small towns and in the first phase the number of libraries was being increased in Karachi.
The retired bureaucrat and former lawmaker, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, said that the recent pandemic had provided an opportunity for many people in the world to reconnect with the hobby of book reading.
PPBA Chairman, Aziz Khalid, appealed to the government to lessen the duty on paper and also introduce incentives for local paper producers for promoting the Pakistani publishing industry which had been facing a challenging situation due to economic woes.
Haroon Aziz, a first-year college student, said it was an amazing sight for him that the Karachi Expo Centre, which just a month back had hosted an international arms expo was now exhibiting thousands of books under one roof.
He said the books displayed at the expo would be highly helpful in his studies in addition to encouraging him to adopt the reading habit in his leisure time.
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