Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pakistan: Warrior State? Conspicuous Failure?

The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World by Canada's McGill University Professor Thazha Varkey Paul, a graduate of India's Jawaharlal Nehru University, describes Pakistan as a "warrior state" and a "conspicuous failure". It is among a slew of recently published anti-Pakistan books by mainly Indian and western authors which paint Pakistan as a rogue state which deserves to be condemned, isolated and sanctioned by the international community.

As Pakistanis celebrate 74th anniversary of the 1940 Lahore Resolution calling for the partition of India, it is important to examine TV Paul's narrative about Pakistan and fact-check the assertions underlying his narrative.

Here's a point-by-point response to Paul's narrative:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pakistan is no more a warrior state that many others in the world. It spends no more than 3% of its GDP on defense, lower than most of the nations of the world.

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

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

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

Pakistan Defense Spending as % of GDP Source: World Indicators

Comparing Defense Expenditures in Absolute and GDP Terms

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Looking Back at 1940 Lahore Resolution

Pakistan's Economic History

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity

Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

Musharraf Accelerated Growth of Pakistan's Financial and Human Capital

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Pakistan on Goldman Sachs' BRIC+N11 Growth Map


Rita said...

Whenever anything negative is said about Pakistan it is imbalanced or just wrong. However, when Riaz Haq portrays India negatively that is from the gospel! Yup. Got it.

Riaz Haq said...

Rita: "However, when Riaz Haq portrays India negatively that is from the gospel! Yup. Got it."

You are welcome to fact-check what I write, just as I have fact-checked TV Paul's assertions.

Rizwan said...

What do you think of this guy?

His Excellency Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States

Last year marked a milestone for Pakistani democracy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif became the beneficiary of the first orderly civilian transfer of power. Yet in this era of political “calm,” violence is soaring to new levels, with militants unleashing waves of deadly attacks throughout the country. Strains between the army and the civilian government are intensifying. Of the 186 million citizens, 35% are aged 15 or under; poverty, poor education, and bleak prospects are not helping the security situation. Many believe this country, with the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal, is at a critical moment. Can Islamabad’s leadership address its national priorities?

His Excellency Husain Haqqani served as ambassador of Pakistan to the United States from 2008 to 2011, and to Sri Lanka from 1992 to 1993. He is presently director of the Center of International Relations and professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University. Haqqani is also senior fellow and director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute where he coedits the journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. He has been an advisor to three Pakistani prime ministers including the late Benazir Bhutto. Haqqani is the author of Pakistan between Mosque and Military and contributes to numerous international publications and news outlets. He received his BA and MA from the University of Karachi. @husainhaqqani

His latest book, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, will be available for purchase and signing.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Standard story on US confidence in Pakistan's nuclear security:

The US today said it has "great confidence" in Pakistan's nuclear security as global leaders from across the world met in The Hague to discuss the issue of non-proliferation of atomic weapons.

"We affirmed recently and we reaffirm that we have great confidence in Pakistan's nuclear security," Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters after a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of Third International Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.

The West has feared that Pakistan's nuclear assets were in danger of falling into the hands of terrorists if terrorism was not controlled in the country.

The Taliban attack in August 2012 on the Kamra military air base in Pakistan reignited concerns about the threat that terrorists could pose to the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

"They (Pakistanis) have really done an enormous amount of work. I know the Prime Minister (Sharif) will probably talk about that here at the summit. But we do have important issues of cooperation with respect to the extremism, terror, counterterrorism, and Afghanistan," Kerry said.

The Secretary of State referred to the recent series of meetings between the top leaders of the two countries including the Obama-Sharif meeting at White House last October and his own visit to Islamabad last summer.

Kerry said the two countries are working together to root-out terrorism from the region and deal with the energy crisis.

"We - Pakistan and the US -have enormous mutual interests. We are both striving to combat extremism, terrorism, deal with the challenge of global energy, as well as to provide for the prosperity of our people and deal with nuclear security. And it's nuclear security that particularly brings us here to The Hague," he said.

"But we are working very, very closely together. I visited the Prime Minister in August of last year. We began a strategic dialogue again. We have worked together with our Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation Working Group," he said.

Kerry said Pakistan-US working group on nuclear proliferation is working and strategic dialogue between the two countries are continuing.

"That group is engaged in dealing with issues of nuclear security as well as other challenges. And in addition, we met recently in Washington. Dr (Satraj) Aziz and I engaged in our strategic dialogue."

Kerry said he looks forward to welcoming the Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar who will visit Washington for discussions.

"There are a lot of challenges - we are meeting these challenges in Pakistan. We have been in office for almost about nine months and we've had very constructive discussions with our American friends," Sharif said.

"I had a very good meeting with President Obama a few months ago in Washington, and we are now following up all that we have discussed and agreed," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Rizwan:"What do you think of this guy?"

He was known as the "most undiplomatic diplomat" who was least concerned about representing Pakistan's position in Washington. But he is a liberals' darling in Pakistan these days.

Here are a couple of posts I wrote about him:

Here's Michael Krepon on Husain Haqqani in

Husain Haqqani has many detractors in Pakistan due to his shifting political allegiances and book publications. The thesis of Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military (2005) is about a longstanding alliance of convenience between the Army and Pakistan’s religious parties “to seek strategic depth in Afghanistan and to put pressure on India,” which cemented the Army’s domestic dominance and policies with dire consequences. Husain treads lightly on the failings of Pakistan’s political class, which bid for the Army’s favors while accumulating wealth. Washington comes in for heavy criticism for backing military strongmen and for not making assistance conditional on behavioral change. Pakistan comes across as a “rentier state” – one that “lives off the rents of its strategic location” — yet another reason why this book did not receive rave reviews in Rawalpindi.

Payback came when Husain was forced out of his post as President Asif Zadari’s emissary to Washington. After the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, an orchestrated media campaign charged him of conspiring with a Pakistani-American living in Monaco to seek the Obama administration’s help to prevent an imaginary military coup attempt. Pakistan’s judicial system, which has difficulty prosecuting the perpetrators of mass-casualty attacks, quickly found sufficient evidence to launch judicial proceedings of treasonous behavior.

Husain is now back in the United States writing books. His latest, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, will add Pakistan’s diplomatic corps to his list of detractors. He has burned another bridge, this time with a historical narrative of Pakistan’s play book to secure US economic and military assistance. “Since 1947,” he argues, “dependence, deception, and defiance have characterized US-Pakistan relations. We sought US aid in return for promises we did not keep.” His sources – US archival material providing direct quotes and summaries of high-level exchanges, as well as personal recollections – are too detailed to be dismissed as anti-Pakistan propaganda.

Husain’s bottom line: “Pakistan and the United States have few shared interests and very different political needs… If $40 billion in US aid has not won Pakistani hearts and minds, billions more will not do the trick… The US-Pakistan alliance is only a mirage.” Not exactly your standard, dispassionate diplomatic history....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Pakistan's participation in Nuclear Security Summit 2014 in The Hague:

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appealed on Monday for international cooperation and assistance that will give his country access to nuclear technology for a civilian energy programme — the lynchpin of its strategy to overcome chronic energy shortages.
“Energy deficit is one of the most serious crises facing Pakistan,” PM Nawaz told delegates at the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. “As we revive our economy, we look forward to international cooperation and assistance for nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards,” he said.
Leaders from 53 countries, US, EU, International Atomic Energy Agency and Interpol are attending the nuclear summit.
The prime minister also called for Pakistan’s inclusion in all international export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group. International treaties and forums, according to him, should supplement national actions to fortify nuclear security.
At the same time he reiterated “the highest importance” that his country attached to nuclear security. because it was directly linked to the country’s national security.
“Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapons state and pursues a policy of nuclear restraint, as well as credible minimum deterrence,” he said.
“Our region needs peace and stability for economic development that benefits its people. That is why, I strongly advocate nuclear restraint, balance in conventional forces and ways to resolve conflicts,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister paid tribute to US President Barack Obama for launching the nuclear security summit process four years ago. Pakistan has been running a safe, secure and safeguarded civil nuclear programme for more than 40 years and the country has the expertise, manpower and infrastructure to produce civil nuclear energy.
He said Pakistan’s nuclear materials, facilities and assets were safe and secure and the country’s nuclear security regime was anchored in the principle of multi-layered defence for the entire spectrum – insider, outsider or cyber threat.
Islamabad has established a centre of excellence that conducts intense specialised courses in nuclear security, physical protection and personnel reliability, he said, adding that Pakistan was ready to share its best practices and training facilities with other interested states in the region and beyond.
Dealing with radiological threats
He said his country had also deployed radiation detection mechanisms at several exit and entry points to prevent illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials.
Similarly, he said, all countries should continue to take measures to secure their nuclear facilities and materials and prevent any perceived nuclear terrorist threat. “We all need radioactive sources for hospitals, industry and research; but should be vigilant about radiological threats,” he added.

Rita said...

Unfortunately, there are three facts the world knows and remembers about Pakistan:


No matter how many problems India has, Pakistan has the notoriety of making the world a little more dangerous. Not everyone is an analyst like yourself. The common person who reads the daily morning news has no time for these details except for the bold headlines like the THREE FACTS ABOVE!

CanadianBoy said...

The birth place of taliban is afghanistan, check any westren newspaper.
The birth place of A Q Khan is Bhopal,check any Indian newspaper.

Worry about the 1/4 of your country under Maoist control for the past three decades:

Riaz Haq said...

Retired US career diplomat Mark Fitzpatrick proposes giving Pakistan a civil nuclear deal similar to US-India deal. Here he's talking about his new book "Overcoming Pakistan's Nuclear Dangers" on Pakistani nukes:

I am eagerly awaiting the first runs of my new book, ‘Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers’. Publication comes one year and three-quarters after conception. They’ve been laborious months.

The book was inspired by fellow Londoner Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, who asked in a June 2012 column why the West was so obsessed with stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons when, ‘by any sensible measure, Pakistani nukes are much more worrying’. I suppose I was one of those who seemed obsessed with Iran, so Rachman’s words hit home. Let’s take a look at Pakistan, I decided.

Successive chapters of my book examine in detail the dangers Rachman ticked off, plus a few more. I concluded that some of the concerns about Pakistan are exaggerated. While the prospect for nuclear terrorism cannot be dismissed, the government’s efforts to ensure the security of its nuclear programme garner too little attention, and compare favourably with India’s nuclear security management. In the ten years since the leakage of the nation’s nuclear secrets masterminded by A.Q. Khan, lessons have been learnt and reforms adopted.

Other concerns get too little attention. As a nuclear wonk, I cannot help but fixate on Pakistan’s veto over negotiations to ban fissile material production and the nation’s move away from signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The most worrisome danger, though, is the prospect for nuclear war in the subcontinent.

One cannot write about Pakistan’s nuclear programme without examining the ways that it is motivated by India’s actions, and perceptions thereof. Therefore, the manuscript is about more than Pakistan. One key chapter assesses the South Asian arms race. Although it pales in comparison with the nuclear excesses of the Cold War, the strategic competition in South Asia is potentially destabilising.

In the conclusions, I offer a policy suggestion for the West that will be controversial. Pakistan, I argue, should be offered a path to normalising its nuclear programme. This recommendation did not sit well with one of the statesmen who, before reading it, had agreed to write a back-cover blurb commending my book. Having vehemently opposed making an exception for India, allowing it to benefit from nuclear cooperation while outside the confines of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he had to back out because he objected to the idea of creating a second such hole in the NPT for Pakistan.

His is a respectable opinion. It had also been my view when I started the book project. If there is one tenet I have taken to heart at the IISS, however, it is that analysis should guide one’s research direction. I reached my conclusion with more surprise than enthusiasm.

I am looking forward to explaining more about my analysis in upcoming book launches in Washington, London, Geneva, Vienna and Islamabad.

pacman said...

If this blog was being run by an Indian, Rita 's comments would have been removed by the author. This speaks volume of the high mindedness of the author vis a vis , Indians.

Riaz Haq said...

The narrative in a number of recent books by authors like TV Paul, Carlotta Gall and Husain Haqqani needs to be challenged through Q&As.

Here's what the narrative says:

1. Pakistan has been lying to the United States to get aid since its inception in 1947.

2. The US has provided massive aid but Pakistan has not delivered anything substantial in return.

3. The duplicitous Pakistan game continues to this day.

If you really analyse this narrative, you have to conclude that Pakistanis are uniquely clever in deceiving the superpower US and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride by Pakistanis for over 6 decades.


1. If the standard western narrative is correct, why have successive US administrations been so gullible as to be duped by Pakistan's politicians and generals for such a long period of time? Is it an indictment of all US administrations from Truman to Obama?

2. What role did Pakistan play in the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union?

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

Please read the following posts on my blog:

1. "Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four and a half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done." Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates June 2011

2. "The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009

Bottom Line: Alliance never means's true of all US allies. US and its closest allies in Europe and elsewhere interests do not always converge on all issues.

Riaz Haq said...

India (score 25.6) ranks at 19, higher than Pakistan (score 21.9)at 28 on world misery index rankings compiled by Washington's Cato Inst.

According to a analysis published by the Cato Institute, Venezuela holds the disreputable top spot as the most miserable nation in the world.
The 90 countries listed in the misery index were selected based on data from the Economist Intelligence Unit and calculations from Steve Hanke, a professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University.

The formula used to compile the list involves inflation, lending rates, and unemployment rates minus year-on-year per capita GDP growth.

Venezuela's much higher misery score of 79.4 is much higher than every other country except Iran (61.6), and the top 22 countries are above 25 on the index.

Inflation is the major contributing factor plaguing three of the top four nations listed. The other countries are either hampered by high unemployment or interest rates.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Op Ed piece in The News by columnist Farrukh Saleem:

Myth 1: The allocation for defence is the single largest component in our budget. Not true. The single largest allocation in Budget 2013-14 went to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The second largest allocation in Budget 2013-14 went to servicing the national debt. The third largest government expenditure, including off the budget allocations, are the losses at public-sector enterprises (PSEs). Yes, the fourth largest government expenditure goes into defence.

Myth 2: The defence budget eats up a large percentage of the total outlay. Not true. In Budget 2013-14, a total of 15.74 percent of the total outlay was allocated for defence. PSDP and debt servicing were 30 percent each. What that means is that more than 84 percent of all government expenditures are non-defence related.

Myth 3: The defence budget has been increasing at an increasing rate. Not true. In 2001-02, we spent 4.6 percent of our GDP on defence. In 2013-14, twelve years later, our defence spending has gone down to 2.7 percent of GDP.

Myth 4: We end up spending a very high percentage of our GDP on defence. Not true. There are at least four dozen countries that spend a higher percentage of their GDP on defence.

They include: India, Egypt, Sri Lanka, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Eritrea, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Liberia, Brunei, Syria, Kuwait, Yemen, Angola, Singapore, Greece, Iran, Bahrain, Djibouti, Morocco, Chile, Lebanon, Russia, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Namibia, Guinea, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Serbia and Montenegro, Armenia, Botswana, Ukraine, Uganda, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Lesotho and Sudan.

Myth 5: The Pakistan Army consumes the bulk of the defence budget. Not true. In the 1970s, the Pakistan Army’s share in the defence budget had shot up to 80 percent. In 2012-13, the Pakistan Army’s share in the defence budget stood at 48 percent.

Now some facts:

Fact 1: The Pakistan Army’s budget as a percentage of our national budget now hovers around eight percent.

Fact 2: Losses incurred at public-sector enterprises can pay for 100 percent of our defence budget.

Fact 3: Pakistan’s armed forces are the sixth largest but our expenses per soldier are the lowest. America spends nearly $400,000 per soldier, India $25,000 and Pakistan $10,000.

Fact 4: Of all the armies in the world, Pak Army has received the highest number of UN medals. Of all the armies in the world, Pak Army is the largest contributor of troops to the UN peacekeeping missions.

Mark Twain once remarked, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pak defense allocation is less than one-sixth of the current budget. It's the 4th largest part of the budget after development, interest on debt, and subsidies to money-losing public sector units like PEPCO, PIA and steel mills.

Myth 1: The allocation for defence is the single largest component in our budget. Not true. The single largest allocation in Budget 2013-14 went to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The second largest allocation in Budget 2013-14 went to servicing the national debt. The third largest government expenditure, including off the budget allocations, are the losses at public-sector enterprises (PSEs). Yes, the fourth largest government expenditure goes into defence.

Myth 2: The defence budget eats up a large percentage of the total outlay. Not true. In Budget 2013-14, a total of 15.74 percent of the total outlay was allocated for defence. PSDP and debt servicing were 30 percent each. What that means is that more than 84 percent of all government expenditures are non-defence related.

Myth 3: The defence budget has been increasing at an increasing rate. Not true. In 2001-02, we spent 4.6 percent of our GDP on defence. In 2013-14, twelve years later, our defence spending has gone down to 2.7 percent of GDP.

Myth 4: We end up spending a very high percentage of our GDP on defence. Not true. There are at least four dozen countries that spend a higher percentage of their GDP on defence.

They include: India, Egypt, Sri Lanka, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Eritrea, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Liberia, Brunei, Syria, Kuwait, Yemen, Angola, Singapore, Greece, Iran, Bahrain, Djibouti, Morocco, Chile, Lebanon, Russia, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Namibia, Guinea, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Serbia and Montenegro, Armenia, Botswana, Ukraine, Uganda, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Lesotho and Sudan.

Myth 5: The Pakistan Army consumes the bulk of the defence budget. Not true. In the 1970s, the Pakistan Army’s share in the defence budget had shot up to 80 percent. In 2012-13, the Pakistan Army’s share in the defence budget stood at 48 percent.

Now some facts:

Fact 1: The Pakistan Army’s budget as a percentage of our national budget now hovers around eight percent.

Fact 2: Losses incurred at public-sector enterprises can pay for 100 percent of our defence budget.

Fact 3: Pakistan’s armed forces are the sixth largest but our expenses per soldier are the lowest. America spends nearly $400,000 per soldier, India $25,000 and Pakistan $10,000.

Fact 4: Of all the armies in the world, Pak Army has received the highest number of UN medals. Of all the armies in the world, Pak Army is the largest contributor of troops to the UN peacekeeping missions.

Mark Twain once remarked, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

Riaz Haq said...


Nuclear weapons and the debate over the necessity for such weapons have persisted for several years. As opinions against nuclear weapons increase, so too do more and more countries yearn to possess these weapons and demonstrate their power. This means that we have to discover those benefits which are of such significance that a country prefers to divert a huge portion of its finances from public sector to become a nuclear capable state.

The rational for Pakistan to develop a nuclear weapon was so that the country could have the self-reliance to ensure its security. After the hefty losses in the wars of 1948 and 1965, and the debacle of 1971, Pakistani leadership understood that none of the great powers were going to support Pakistan in times of crisis against any Indian aggression. Therefore self-reliance was the crucial idea of Pakistan’s policy makers to make sure that only Pakistan should be responsible for defending their country against any Indian offensive. In this regard, we must understand that being a nuclear power is crucial for Pakistan’s survival and sovereignty. Preserving and improving national security is vital to the national interest, and expenses from the state budget in support of this objective are permissible.

For a country like Pakistan, having nuclear weapons means that it has the ultimate strategic defense. Wars are bad for the economy and nuclear deterrence is a best tool to avoid wars. A short conventional war between India and Pakistan would cost Islamabad U.S. $ 350 million per day. Now one can easily estimate the economic deprivation if Pakistan had to face another 1971 debacle without having any nuclear weapons. In contrast, to conventional warfare, nuclear deterrence has made wars between nuclear states rationally non-viable.

In this regard, the possession of nuclear weapons serves not only military and political purposes, but also economic functions. The acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to be associated with the long-term decline in conventional military spending. This is acutely accurate in the case of Pakistan. Pakistan’s conventional military expenditure has been constantly on decline since the nuclear tests. Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Pakistan was measured at 5.3 % in 1998, according to the World Bank. In 2012 that expenditure was 3.13 %. This is a clear instance where nuclear capability served as a major cause to diminish military expenditure in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Is Pakistan the most exciting place to live in the 21st century? It’s almost as if someone has unleashed good news for the country on all fronts; economic, political and security. Over $40 billion in Chinese investment are on their way but more importantly a bet by the world’s next superpower to tie its regional ambitions to Pakistan’s prosperity. This is a game-changing Marshall plan of sorts that appears too good to be true. On security, the army, civilian leadership and civil society are steadily taking the battle to religious extremists instead of indulging in in-fighting and appearing like sitting ducks. On politics, a stunning election took place in Karachi last month, on the hottest of seats, but the result was respected by all parties as the polls were largely free and fair. Rewind a few months back when the country was about to unravel on rigging allegations. Who are you and what have you done to my country that it couldn’t get anything right?

As a wise man once said, abhi tau party shuru hui hai. Fuel and electricity prices have steadily declined in Pakistan over the last few months and we sit on the cusp of a consumer spending bonanza that will fuel the informal economy. Both consumers and producers will see their bottomlines improving behind lower fuel prices and subdued inflation. More importantly, this isn’t a cheap credit-driven bubble that will burst anytime soon (unless fuel prices rise abruptly). There is another geo-political prize in the making. Iran and America are flirting with the idea of becoming friends. If this happens, sanctions could be lifted and Pakistan could finally get cheap gas from Iran to overcome domestic shortages. A big, hungry market may also open up next door and we could potentially import cheaper oil too. If this isn’t enough, international cricket is returning to Pakistan, too. Who are you and what have you done to the country that was destined to become a failed state?

Before you dismiss me as someone in denial about the gravity of Pakistan’s real problems, let me clarify that the purpose of this article isn’t to argue that Pakistan doesn’t have serious problems. The purpose of this article is to argue that Pakistan is more than the sum of its problems. Several bright spots are beginning to emerge in the country but no one is connecting the dots. When it comes to declaring Pakistan a failed state, the mainstream media is quick to connect the dots and focus hysterically on doomsday scenarios that drive ratings. But no one wants to talk about a confluence of positive economic, geo-political, security and political factors that are setting up Pakistan for success by firmly nudging us in the right direction. How dare you, Pakistan? Who are you and what have you done to the country where hopelessness had defeated hope itself?

Pakistan may not be the richest country to live in the 21st century. It may not be the safest country to live in the 21st century. But it may just be the most interesting country to live in the 21st century. Consider this: the Pakistani people are frontline warriors in the greatest ideological battles of the 21st century, including the battle against religious extremism.

Riaz Haq said...

the figures unveiled Friday showed 781 billion rupees (nearly US $7.7 billion) for "'Defence Affairs and Services," an approximately 11 percent increase over the previous year's budget, according to the Associated Press.

Regardless, much of any increase will be to finance the ongoing operation against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), Operation Zarb-e-Azab.

Furthermore, though the economy is in reasonable shape and the government hopes for a 5.5 percent growth in GDP in the upcoming fiscal year, analysts do not expect the essentially stalled Armed Forces Development Plan, which was put in place modernize the military with new capabilities and equipment, to be restarted on wide scale.

Speaking about the latest increase, Brian Cloughley, former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, said, "I'm not at all surprised. The operating costs of Zarb-e-Azb have been enormous. Provision and transportation of fuel are major items in the budget, and air support is vastly expensive."

"And of course there can be no mention of the nuclear program, which must soak up an enormous amount, too," he added in highlighting that this would not be responsible for all the additional expenditure.
Pakistani defense budgets also consistently rise with Indian budgets, something which Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has previously highlighted.

The true size of the defense budget is thought to be somewhat higher, and some reports indicate 26 percent of taxes raised in fiscal 2015-16 will be allocated to defense in some form or another.

However, despite some improvement in the economy, Cloughley says the "AFDP seems to be stuck in the mud – but there's still a lot of procurement."

Much of this present procurement is from China, and Claude Rakisits, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, believes this will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

"The Pakistan military will continue to depend on Chinese loans to buy their big ticket items, as is the case of the 8 conventional, diesel-powered submarines that Pakistan is going to buy from China for $6 billion as part of the $46 billion [Pakistan-China Economic Corridor] deal," he said.

Pakistan has a long list of requirements when it comes to new equipment for all three branches of the armed forces, however, much of it from China, and analyst Haris Khan of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank says this includes tanks such as the VT-4, which will be called 'Haider' in Pakistani service; the VN-1 8x8 wheeled APC, surface to air missiles such as the FM-90, HQ-17, and HQ-9 to establish an integrated air defense system, plus submarines and frigates.

Though this amounts to a considerable amount of very expensive equipment, Khan highlights moves made by China that will streamline funding their acquisition for Pakistan.

"Since China has established Export-Import Bank of China is one of three institutional banks in China chartered to implement the state policies in industry, foreign trade, diplomacy, economy, and provide policy financial support, these procurements from China would become more manageable for Pakistan. The Chinese EximBank is based on the American EXIM for granting financial help, this new Chinese financial institutions has generated a lot of negative blow back from the Obama administration," he said.

Though he highlights there are other acquisition programs that also include the US, and that evaluation efforts are ongoing.

"On the other hand the sale of 15 AH-1Z has been approved and the deal will be paid by Pakistani funds via Foreign Military Financing. Pakistan is still looking for surplus or even new F-16.Serbia has sent one of its APC and SPA systems for evaluation along with China supplying three of its most advance attack-helicopter WZ-10 for real time evaluation," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#India biggest recipient of #America's economic aid over 66-year period: USAID; #Israel 2nd. #Pakistan 5th.

The data, which is inflation adjusted, shows India received approximately $65.1bn in economic assistance from 1946 until 2012, followed closely by Israel, which was given $65bn.

With $44.4bn received as economic assistance from the US, Pakistan is also among the top five countries to receive economic assistance out of a total of 200 countries and regions.

Top 10 countries receiving US economic assistance from 1946-2012

India: $65.1bn
Israel: $65bn
United Kingdom: $63.6bn
Egypt: $59.6bn
Pakistan: $44.4bn
Vietnam: $41bn
Iraq: $39.7bn
South Korea: $36.5bn
Germany: $33.3bn
France: $31bn
Indian economic aid is spread out over various sectors and programs, including child survival and health, development assistance, HIV/AIDS initiatives, migration and refugee assistance, food aid, and narcotics control. The bulk of this aid ($26bn) is provided to various USAID programmes.

A majority of Israel's $65bn economic assistance was given to its Economic Support Fund and Security Support Assistance, with $56.5bn alone attributed to these programmes.

In comparison, of the $44.4bn provided to Pakistan in economic assistance, $13.8bn is given to USAID programmes, while $13.7bn is attributed to the Economic Support Fund and Security Support Assistance.

Israel received $134bn in military assistance over 1946-2012 ─ a figure which far outnumbers military assistance provided to the the second entrant on the list, Vietnam, at $77.9bn.

Read: Pakistan 3rd biggest recipients of US aid

Top 10 countries receiving US military assistance from 1946-2012

Israel: $134bn
Vietnam: $77.9bn
Egypt: $62bn
Afghanistan: $48.3bn
Turkey: $42.2bn
South Korea: $41.1bn
France: $33bn
Greece: $29.5bn
China: $26.3bn
Iraq: $24.7bn
Pakistan just misses being on the top 10 list, coming in at twelfth place with $12.9bn in military assistance from the US. India, however, is placed at 47 out of a list of 193 countries, receiving $897 million in military assistance.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan received most of the military assistance from the US during the superpower's involvement in Afghanistan during the 1980s and then after 2001.

The US non-military aid to Pakistan for the period 1991-2001 averaged just $75 million per year, while the total military aid during the eleven-year period was a paltry $7 million.

Riaz Haq said...

There are over 3 million students enrolled in grades 13 through 16 in Pakistan's 1,086 degree colleges and 161 universities, according to Pakistan Higher Education Commission report for 2013-14. The 3 million enrollment is 15% of the 20 million Pakistanis in the eligible age group of 18-24 years. In addition, there are over 255,000 Pakistanis enrolled in vocational training schools, according to Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million graduates every year since 2010, according to HEC data. The number of university graduates in Pakistan increased from 380,773 in 2005-6 to 493,993 in 2008-09. This figure is growing with rising enrollment and contributing to Pakistan's growing human capital.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of Aqil Shah on TV Paul's book "Warrior State" and Christine Fair's "Fighting to the End":

" in The Warrior State are contestable on several grounds.
One, both South Korea and Taiwan enjoyed varying degrees of external
security guarantees from the United States, so they had a better chance of
prioritizing economics over warfare. Two, and unlike ethnically divided
Pakistan, both South Korea and Taiwan were also homogenous societies,
which ultimately facilitated their transitions to democracy by insulating
them from the potential challenge of peacefully accommodating ethnic
diversity. Finally, neither Turkey nor Indonesia was even half as insecure
as Pakistan, and their main security threats were internal. Hence, as Paul
himself concedes, neither had the need to overspend on defense or develop
the tools, such as the use of nonstate actors, needed to fight a much stronger
external enemy (p. 165).
Second, he attributes Pakistan’s thwarted development to its geographic
location, which has put a “geostrategic curse” on the country (pp. 3, 15,
21–22, 33). According to the book, this strategic curse works much like the well-known curse of natural resources. In return for serving (and at
times undermining) U.S. security interests, Pakistan’s elites have enjoyed
access to strategic rents, which has discouraged them from expanding the
state’s extractive capacity to achieve the economic strength required for
maintaining the security competition with India (pp. 18–23).
This “rentier” thesis has much going for it but leaves one question
unanswered: why did Pakistan not reform itself when the strategic rents
dried up—for example, in 1965–80 and 1990–2001? Paul alludes to the
path-dependent nature of ideas (p. 23), so it is reasonable to infer that even
in the absence of U.S. military aid, Pakistani elites continued to harbor their
hyper-realpolitik strategic assumptions. However, it is not clear where these
assumptions come from, or how they stick. On closer analysis, it appears
more plausible that once Pakistan’s founding fathers adopted a warrior state
strategy in response to structural insecurity at the outset of independence,
these Hobbesian beliefs developed a life of their own, especially because the
powerful military institution internalized them. "

"Fair seems to discount the role of political learning on elite
attitudes and behavior. As the case of Brazil and other Latin American
countries demonstrates, the experience of authoritarian government can
unite political elite against military praetorianism and electoral competition
can create incentives for them to erode the military’s undue political and
strategic influence. Pakistan’s most recent transition from authoritarian rule
in 2007–8 has revealed that major political parties like the Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have learned
their lessons from exile, incarceration, and repression under authoritarian
rule and appear strongly committed to the democratic process. In May 2013,
Pakistan broke its seemingly permanent curse of zero democratic turnover
of power from one full-term elected government to another when the PPP
government completed its five-year tenure and Nawaz Sharif’s opposition
PML-N won the parliamentary elections to form a new government. As Fair
herself admits, this successful transition was made possible in good part by
Sharif’s ability to resist the temptation of knocking on the garrison’s door
to unseat the PPP government (p. 265). "

Riaz Haq said...

IAEA chief Amano praises #Pakistan’s ‘impressive’ nuclear security record …

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukia Amano praised on Sunday Pakistan’s ‘impressive’ nuclear security record.

In a meeting with Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry on the sidelines of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in Nrw York, the IAEA chief said the agency is ready to help Pakistan and other countries achieve sustainable development goals.

“The IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme with Pakistan was one of its largest in the world,” Amano said, while appreciating the country’s excellent cooperation with the agency.

Amano expressed his complete satisfaction at the implementation of the IAEA safeguard measures in Pakistan.

Thanking the IAEA chief for mutually beneficial cooperation which Pakistan has enjoyed with the authority as one of its founding members since 1957, the foreign secretary said, “Pakistan deeply values the role played by IAEA in the development of peaceful use of nuclear technology.”

“Pakistan attaches the highest priority to nuclear safety and security as a national responsibility,” Chaudhry added. Further, he said the country’s nuclear power plants and research reactors were under the IAEA safeguards and Pakistan was abiding by the necessary obligations in this regard.

Riaz Haq said...

Comparing #Pakistan econ growth rate (5% 1970-2008, about same as India's) with other nations. Via Washington Post

It might seem odd that having more money would not help a poor country. Yet economists have long observed that countries that have an abundance of wealth from natural resources, like oil or diamonds, tend to be more unequal, less developed and more impoverished, as the chart below shows. Countries at the left-hand side of the chart have fewer fuels, ores and metals and higher growth, while those at the right-hand side have more natural resource wealth, yet slower growth. Economists postulate that this "natural resource curse" happens for a variety of reasons, but one is that such wealth can strengthen and corrupt a government.

Like revenue from oil or diamonds, wealth from foreign aid can be a corrupting influence on weak governments, “turning what should be beneficial political institutions into toxic ones,” Deaton writes in his book “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality.” This wealth can make governments more despotic, and it can also increase the risk of civil war, since there is less power sharing, as well as a lucrative prize worth fighting for.

Deaton and his supporters offer dozens of examples of humanitarian aid being used to support despotic regimes and compounding misery, including in Zaire, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Biafra, and the Khmer Rouge on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Citing Africa researcher Alex de Waal, Deaton writes that “aid can only reach the victims of war by paying off the warlords, and sometimes extending the war.”

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s casual approach to guarding its #nuclear sites ranks it 23 among 25. Only #Iran #NorthKorea worse. #safety …

They said that India’s security practices have repeatedly ranked lower in these assessments than those of Pakistan and Russia, two countries with shortcomings that have provoked better-known Western anxieties.

In all the categories of interest to the U.S. intelligence experts making the rankings—the vetting and monitoring of key security personnel, the tracking of explosives’ quantities and whereabouts, and the use of sensitive detectors at nuclear facilities and their portals—the Indians “have got issues,” a senior official said. (He spoke on condition that he not be named, due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.)

Cautioning that Washington probably does not know everything that India has done to protect its facilities because of its obsessive nuclear secrecy, the official said that according to “what we can see people doing...they should be doing a lot more.”

He added that it is “pretty clear [they] are not as far along as the Pakistanis,” explaining that, as with the Russians, Indians’ confidence in being able to manage security challenges by themselves has repeatedly closed them off to foreign advice not only about the gravity of the threats they face but also about how to deal with them.

When U.S. officials made their first visit to the restricted Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in Mumbai, a complex where India makes plutonium for its nuclear weapons, their observations about its security practices were not reassuring. “Security at the site was moderate,” a cable from November 2008, approved by embassy ChargĂ© d’Affaires Stephen White, told officials in Washington.

Identification checks at the front gate were “quick but not thorough,” and visitor badges lacked photographs, meaning they were easy to replicate or pass around. A security unit at the center’s main gate appeared to be armed with shotguns or semi-automatic Russian-style rifles, the cable noted, but as the U.S. delegation moved toward the Dhruva reactor, where the nuclear explosive material is actually produced, there were no “visible external security systems.”

White’s cable noted that a secondary building where engineering equipment was stored also had “very little security.” While there was a sentry post at a nuclear Waste Immobilization Plant that processes radioactive water, no guards were present, and visitors’ bags were not inspected. No security cameras were seen inside, White added. The cable was disclosed by WikiLeaks in 2011.

A U.S. nuclear safety official, also on the visit, who still works in the field and was not authorized to discuss it told the CPI in an interview that “laborers wandered in and out of the complex, and none of them wore identification.” He said that “the setup was extraordinarily low-key, considering the sensitivity,” explaining that guards could not see camera footage from other locations. There is little evidence that conditions have changed much since then, officials say.

U.S. and Indian officials also have privately expressed worry about the security surrounding India’s movement of sensitive nuclear materials and weaponry.

For example, an industrialist who provides regular private advice to the current prime minister about domestic and foreign strategic issues said in an interview that due to India’s poor roads and rail links, “our nuclear sector is especially vulnerable. How can we safely transport anything, when we cannot say for certain that it will get to where it should, when it should.”

Riaz Haq said...

#defense spending 2015: #India ($51.1b) ahead of #France ($50.9b), #Germany ($47b), #Japan ($46b). #Pakistan ($9b)

India's share was 3.1 per cent, ahead of France (3 per cent), Japan (2.4 per cent) and Israel (1 per cent). Incidentally, India is in talks with all three countries for acquiring new military platforms running into billions of dollars.

"The headline estimate for total world military spending for 2015 amounts to $1.676 billion, or about 2.3 per cent of total world gross domestic product ( GDP)-- often referred to as the 'military burden'. It is a sum that many people would consider to be ..

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

11% hike in defence budget maintained

Pakistan has raised its defence spending by around 11% for the coming financial year as it sought to sustain the recent gains against terrorism and to counter external threats, mainly from India.

Interestingly, India also increased its defence budget by around 10% in March, although its size is six times bigger than Pakistan’s total defence outlay.

For year 2016-17, the government allocated Rs860.1 billion compared with Rs775. 8 billion spent by the three armed forces in the outgoing fiscal year, showing an increase of Rs85 billion.

Out of the whole defence budget, Pakistan Army gets 47%, 20% goes to Pakistan Air Force, while Pakistan Navy’s share is around 10%, according to defence ministry officials.

The budget document reveals that out of the Rs860.1 billion, Rs327 billion have been set aside for employees-related expenses, Rs216.1 billion for operating expenses and Rs211.7 billion have been earmarked for physical assets.

However, the figures do not include Rs177.6 billion allocated for pensions of retired military personnel that would be given from the civilian budget and a separate allocation for the security-related expenses.

Additionally, military would also be given Rs192 billion under the contingent liability and Rs100 billion out 170 billion under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF).

For the past four years, defence spending has shown an average annual increase of 11%. Military officials defended the increase insisting that Pakistan military’s expanses are lowest in the region given the volatile security environment.

The officials explained that army’s share in the defence budget is around Rs390 billion, which according to him, is less than 8% of the total national budget outlay.

They also claimed that despite the war on terror, Pakistan’s defence budget actually declined in terms of expansion of the national budget.

Since 2001, India’s defence budget has been jacked up from $11.8 billion to $52.2 billion in 2016-17 making it a leading defence spender in the world.

The military officials also argued that last year the maximum budget allocated for the army was spent on non-development expenses such as pay and allowances. Only 6% was left for development schemes.

Giving comparison of various countries on defence spending per soldier/annum, the military officials claimed that Pakistan spends $8,077 per solider annually, while India allocates $17,554, Turkey $31,184, Saudi Arabia $269,060 and the USA spends $426,814 per soldier annually.

Riaz Haq said...

Thomas Hobbes’s mythic Leviathan was a metaphor for the role of the state
in an anarchic context—the great power to overawe all others and create the
peace necessary for the development of an ordered civil society. Without effective
government, Hobbes suggests, we could not sleep at night

Royal Netherlands Army

This paper draws upon the European experiences with terrorism in order to draw
lessons for today’s strategic environment. The central thesis is that the current
approach to terrorism is flawed. The West has developed a myopic view and has lost
sight of wider strategic interests. Terrorism has replaced the wider security framework
wholesale and plays an overly dominant role in policy formulation. The continued pursuit
of terrorists by primarily military means will lead to a Hobbesian state of nature which is
not in the interest of the Western World. A return to a broader view of the strategic
environment, with a more constrained use of state violence, is recommended.

Starting with the run up to the present situation in the War on Terror, the paper
describes some of the experiences with the German Red Army Faction (RAF) in the
1970s. It draws lessons from this episode and applies them to the War on Terror. The
central thesis is that the current approach to terrorism is flawed. The West has
developed a myopic view on terrorism and has lost sight of wider strategic interests.
The sole issue of terrorism has replaced the wider security framework wholesale and
therefore plays too dominant a role in policy making. Furthermore, the War on Terror
instigated the invasion of Iraq which has discredited the West in a major way. Although
justifiably started as a military operation, the continued pursuit of terrorism by primarily
military means will lead to a Hobbesian state of nature, which is not in the interest of the
Western world.


Granting a leading role to the military element of power in
the struggles against an age old phenomenon will lead to a perpetual state of war,
thereby realizing a Hobbesian state of nature, but – in absence of an authoritarian world
government – without a Leviathan “to keep them all in awe.”36 John Locke, in contrast,
attributed man with “calm reason and conscience,” which would constrain the use of
violence.37 This philosophy seems better befitting Western leaders in the return to a
policy where the use of force is truly a last resort


Riaz Haq said...

A rare, more nuanced view of Pakistan, very different from the apocalyptic portrayal of the country common in the books and media published in the West

In Matthew’s own words: “Why do I describe Pakistan as ‘unjustly maligned’? Simply because, it is. The public perception of Pakistan is one of unremitting violence and injustice and this perception simply does not correlate with the facts. It is not representative, and it is not fair. If a cameraman followed me for a day filming everything I did and said and then edited out all of the good things, leaving only the bad – the time I shouted at the kids, the time I swore at a foolish motorist, the time I ignored a beggar by the side of the road – the resulting image would be accurate in parts, but I hope broadly unrepresentative. I would resent being depicted in this way, and yet this is precisely what we are doing to Pakistan. The positive aspects of life here are mostly unknown by people in the West.

The public image of Pakistan is wholly negative but the hidden face of Pakistan is, far more often than not, beautiful, kind, welcoming, gentle and filled with hope. When I stop to think of this hidden face of Pakistan, hundreds of memories come to mind: the files of smartly-dressed children wending their way to school in the morning, the crowds of intelligent young people thronging the Lahore Literary Festival in the hope of catching a glimpse of their favourite authors, the unfailing warmth of the hospitality, the taxi drivers who regularly refuse my money on the grounds that I am a guest, the sight of the elegant minarets of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore or the soaring mountains of the Kaghan Valley or a squadron of emerald-green parakeets screeching over the pine-clad hills of Murree. This side of Pakistani life, while well known to Pakistanis themselves, is rarely, if ever, documented by people in the West, and yet it is far more representative of normal Pakistani life than the negative narratives of the media. Pakistan is by no means perfect, but after living here for four years the phrase.“This Sacred Land” seems less and less incongruous to me with every passing day.”

While Matthew is also concerned about problems that Pakistan faces e.g. eight hours of power cuts a day except during religious festivals, widespread poverty, violence and religious extremism, on book shelves where books related to Pakistan have apocalyptic titles, this book will be a good read – something positive and new!

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan announces $9.6 billion defense budget

The defense budget for the next fiscal year is up 10.22 percent
India and China are among the world’s top five spenders on defense, with the former spending $45 billion
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government has announced a defense budget of 1.1 trillion rupees ($9.6 billion) for the 2018-19 fiscal year, up 10.22 percent.

Defense expenditure is 21 percent of the total budget of 5.932 trillion rupees for the next fiscal year, and 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail lauded the military’s sacrifices while presenting the budget in the National Assembly on Friday.

“Our military and paramilitary apparatus has fought hard and laid their precious lives for our country,” he said.

“The last hideouts of militants in North Waziristan have been eliminated through operation Zarb-e-Azb.”

Defense and security analysts link the increased defense budget to the devaluation of the rupee in recent months and subsequent inflation.

Defense analyst Amjad Shoaib said the increase is insufficient given the government’s claim that Pakistan is fighting militants without foreign assistance.

The military requires extra funds for border fencing and establishing forts along the border with Afghanistan, he added.

The defense budget does not include allocations for major planned military hardware acquisitions from the international market. It also does not mention expenditure on Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs.

On Jan. 4, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US was suspending its entire security assistance to Pakistan until it proves its commitment to fighting all terrorist groups operating in the region.

The US has withheld $350 million to Pakistan in security assistance, known as the Coalition Support Fund.

Retired Air Marshal Shahid Lateef said military expenses have increased manifold due to multiple engagements along the borders and within the country.

“Our military is faced with fifth-generation warfare, and it needs billions of rupees other than the defense allocations to deal with the threat,” he told Arab News.

Pakistan’s neighbors India and China are among world’s top five defense spenders, with New Delhi allocating $45 billion this year.

Riaz Haq said...

India is world's no-1 recipient of foreign aid money.

Top 10 Recipients of Foreign Aid From DAC Members
India: $4.21 billion
Turkey: $4.10 billion
Afghanistan: $2.95 billion
Syria: $2.77 billion
Ethiopia: $1.94 billion
Bangladesh: $1.81 billion
Morocco: $1.74 billion
Vietnam: $1.61 billion
Iraq: $1.60 billion
Indonesia: $1.48 billion