Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MQM-RAW Connection; Pakistan Heatwave Deaths; Iran Pew Survey; Pak-Afghan Ties

Is leaked Interrogation of MQM finance chief Tariq Mir in London about RAW funds for his party authentic? How will it impact MQM's future with or without Altaf Husain? Will the party still remain popular with its base in Karachi?

Who or what is to blame for over 1000 heatwave deaths in Karachi, Sindh? Could these deaths have been prevented or reduced? What does Sindh government need to learn from this tragedy?

What does the latest Pew Poll of 40 countries on Iran say about the country's highest approval rating in Pakistan?

How will the Afghan parliament attack by the Taliban impact Pak-Afghan ties?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam (politicsinpakistan.com) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


MQM-RAW Connection; Pakistan Heatwave Deaths; Iran Pew Survey; Pak-Afghan Ties from WBT TV on Vimeo.



MQM-RAW Connection; Pakistan Heatwave Deaths... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Leaked Transcripts of MQM's Tariq Mir's Interrogation

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Proxy War Against Pakistan?

Pak-Afghan-China Ties

Climate Change and Heatwave in South Asia


Friday, June 26, 2015

Leaked London Police Transcripts of MQM Leaders' Interrogation on Indian RAW Funds

After the BBC report by Owen Bennett Jones on Indian RAW funding of Pakistan's Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) led by Altaf Hussain living in self-exile in London, some of the transcripts of the London Police interrogations of MQM leaders Tariq Meer and Mohammad Anwar have been leaked.

What began as murder investigation after the London killing of former MQM leader Imran Farooq later expanded to include money laundering after the discovery of several hundred thousand British Pounds in cash at MQM chief Altaf Husain's residence.  It was this turn of events that led to interrogation of Mr. Tariq Mir, the MQM party finance manager in the UK.

The leaked contents are about Tariq Mir's interrogation that occurred at Edgware Police Station in London  on May 30, 2012. It refers to a prior interview with Mohammad Anwar, a close confidant of MQM Chief Altaf Husain. Here are some of the key revelations made by Tariq Mir:

1. "Mr. H (Altaf Husain) was getting money from India, H (Altaf Husain) got his money from difference (sic) sources".

2. "The Indian government funded us because they though it was good to support us...I do not remember when I first met with Indians. I did meet them."

3. "First meeting (with the Indians) was in Vienna (Austria) or Rome (Italy). (Muhammad) Anwar and (Hussein?) were present. We had three or four meetings, one was definitely in Rome, one in Vienna, one in Zurich (Switzerland), one in a small city in Austria (Saltsburg); and a meeting in Prague".

4. "Meetings (with the Indians) were held whenever they wanted to meet; the purpose of the meetings was to get to know one another; I believe their names were not the real names, they never gave their identities and ranks. They were from the Indian Intelligence (RAW) as I understood. Research and Analysis Wing. The senior man was high up and had access to senior/prime minister level... I do not remember how much we asked for but I think about $1.5 million...I do not know how much they gave us but it went to Hussein. At some stage our expense (of the Secretariat) were about 100,000 pounds per month. I was aware of aware of a significant increase in funding as a result of the Indian connection "

5. "All the money used to go to Mr. H (Altaf Husain). Or a third thing (source of funds) may have been money or a cheque which is paid to Mr. H. (Altaf Husain). The money would either be transferred to Mr. H. by Hoowala(?). I do not know for sure who facilitated getting the money to Mr. H. It could have come via Mr. (Mohammad) Anwar, because apart from me, Anwar abd Dr. F. (Dr. Imran Farooq) and Anwar knew about the money. No one but the four of us knew about it. So as far as I know, no one else in the party, part from Mr. Anwar, had the money. No one but the four of us knew about it. We did not want it to come out that MQM was receiving (money) from Indians.  It was very secret."

6. "About 800, 000 British Pounds came to MQM" annually via couriers in tranches of less than 10,000 pounds to circumvent the 10,000 pounds cash limit.

7. MQM "sought money from all over. The Indians approached us --questions were asked about people without passports".

8. "In 1995-96, I (Tariq Mir) took over the finances from (Nadeem) Nusrat....that money was coming from India. Mr. (Altaf) Hussein knew about "

Here are some of the images with parts  expunged:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gangs of Karachi

Gangster Politicians of Karachi

Ex-Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Karachi Bus Attack Arrests; Axact Scandal; Zulfiqar Mirza Vs Zardari; RAW in Pakistan

Monday, June 22, 2015

Altaf-Zardari Predicament; Charleston Shooting; Pakistani Hindus

Why are PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and top MQM leader Altaf Husain lashing out at the Pakistan Army? What is it that they fear?  Will they face prosecution for alleged crimes? How will their reactions shape Pakistan's and Sindh's politics? Where will it lead the country?

Why did a young white male shot to death 9 Black worshippers at AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina? Is this a act of terrorism? What role did race play in this tragedy? Did lack of any gun control contribute to the scale of this massacre? Has racist terror in America claimed many times more lives than "Islamic" terror since 911? Will FBI now focus on it more vigorously than"Islamic" terror in America? Will it give impetus to renewed gun control efforts?

How is Pakistani Hindu population doing? Is it really declining rapidly as frequent headlines proclaim? Or is it increasing faster than the general population in Pakistan? What does the recent Pew survey show?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these and other questions with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com):


Viewpoint from Overseas June 20, 2015 from WBT TV on Vimeo.



Viewpoint from Overseas June 20, 2015 by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Anti-Corruption in Illinois and Pakistan

Zardari Corruption Conviction in Switzerland

We Hang Petty Thieves and Appoint Great Ones to High Offices

Gangster Politicians of Karachi

Gangs of Karachi 

FBI Entrapping Young Muslims

Gun Deaths in America

Pakistan's Hindu Population Growth

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Navy Modernization to Boost Pakistan Shipbuilding Industry

Pakistan is launching domestic construction of warships, submarines and missile boats as part of its ambitious naval modernization program in collaboration with China, according to media reports.

Karachi Shipyard 

Chinese media reports have described a building program involving six of eight S-20 AIP-equipped variants of the Type-039A/Type-041 submarine under negotiation; four "Improved F-22P" frigates equipped with enhanced sensors and weaponry (possibly including the HQ-17 surface-to-air missile developed from the Russian Tor 1/SA-N-9); and six Type-022 Houbei stealth catamaran missile boats, to be built by Pakistan's state-owned shipbuilder Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW), according to DefenseNews.

Pakistan is expanding and modernizing its underwater fleet with 8 additional AIP-equipped submarines jointly built with China.  Mansoor Ahmed of Quaid-e-Azam University told Defense News that AIP-equipped conventional submarines "provide reliable second strike platforms, [and] an assured capability resides with [nuclear-powered attack and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines], which are technically very complex and challenging to construct and operate compared to SSKs, and also very capital intensive."

Expansion of KSEW in Karachi includes a new foundry, fabrication facilities to cover all aspects of ship construction, berthing facilities, and two graving docks of 26,000 and 18,000 dead weight tons, spread over 71 acres. A 7,881-ton ship lift transfer system will be completed next year. KSEW will expand to occupy facilities vacated by the Navy as it transfers from Karachi to Ormara. The Pakistan Navy Dockyard, which is adjacent to KSEW, already has facilities upgraded by the French during construction of Agosta-90B submarines.

The Pakistan Navy modernization efforts further expands existing China-Pakistan military manufacturing collaboration at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) which has resulted in design and manufacturing of JF-17 fighter jets for Pakistan Air Force.

JF-17 Fighter Jet
In addition to designing and building military hardware together, Pakistan and China are also increasingly collaborating on manufacturing consumer appliances and products. The Pakistan-China economic corridor project includes setting up of several special economic zones for this purpose. A good example of this cooperation is Haier-Ruba special economic zone in Lahore.  Haier-Ruba joint venture in Pakistan has announced plans to start manufacturing laptops and smartphones in Lahore this year, according to the JV chairman Shah Faisal Afridi. The Haier-Ruba group is one of the largest manufacturers of polyester yarn and home appliances in the country.

The growth of both military and civilian manufacturing industries is helping to develop Pakistan's human capital and creating job opportunities for engineers, technicians and other workers.

Pakistan has taken a page from China's industrialization playbook which shows that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) led the nation's industrial growth, first with military hardware and then expanding into consumer and industrial product manufacturing.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan to Deploy AIP Subs For 2nd Strike

Pakistani Military Pushing Industrialization

IDEAS 2014: Pakistan's Arms Bazar

Pakistan-China Industrial Corridor to Boost FDI, Manufacturing and Exports

Haier Pakistan to Expand to Consumer Electronics

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Pakistan's Human Capital

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How Will Obama's TPP and TISA Trade Deals Help Pakistan?

US President Barak Obama is pushing legislation to gain fast track authority to negotiate Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) as part of his pivot to Asia. TISA faces stiff opposition from Obama's fellow Democrats and organized labor who fear significant loss of American service sector jobs to other TISA member nations. Pakistan is one of the countries that will likely benefit from these trade deals.  President Obama is expected to get the authority he seeks because TPP and TISA are both supported by the pro-business Republicans who now control both houses of  the US Congress.
Member Nations of Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

Trans Pacific Partnership is crucial for America's Pivot to Asia which is aimed at checking China's rise and maintaining America's continued relevance in Asia. It is part of America's answer to Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road fund to promote Chinese trade with Asia and Europe. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the first major piece of this Chinese plan. Pakistan's inclusion in TPP and TISA confirms America's continued interest in maintaining close ties with its old Cold War ally in South Asia.

Trade in Services Agreement is being negotiated among United States, European Union, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uruguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Pakistan and Paraguay. These countries make up about two-thirds of the global GDP.

Trade in service is being more and more important with rapid growth in services sector of the world economy. Services now account for nearly two-thirds (64%) of the world GDP with the rest coming from manufacturing (30%) and agriculture (6%). Services account for even higher percentages of GDP in US (80%) and EU (73%).

Service sector is also the largest and fastest growing sector of Pakistan's economy. Services account for nearly 60% of Pakistan's GDP while manufacturing and agriculture each contribute about 20%. It therefore makes sense for Pakistan to join multilateral trade in service deals like TISA.

A key TISA provision likely to benefit Pakistanis is ease of visa restrictions for “Movement of Natural Persons” among member nations which include the United States, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Canada. This section discusses commitments by the parties not to place undue burdens on visas and singles out face-to-face interviews as an example of “overly burdensome procedures.” Even before this agreement is in place, there has been a growing ravel from Pakistan to US with 78,000 Pakistanis traveling to the United States on various non-immigrant visas in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.

Other provisions of TISA would ease outsourcing of a variety of services from America and Europe to Pakistan. These include information technology services, back office services, medical, engineering, legal and accounting services. These outsourced services will help create job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of college grads pouring into the job market every year.

The US-China competition appears to be quite beneficial to Pakistan as both great powers continue to court the country through trade and investment deals. I hope Pakistani leaders will play their cards well to get the maximum help they can to build the country's human resources, infrastructure and economy.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Third Most Popular Destination For Online Outsourcing

How Will Robots Impact Late Industrializers?

Pakistan Ranks in the Middle For Infrastructure and Logistics in 2014

Pak-China Industrial Corridor

India-Pakistan Economic Comparison 2014

Pakistan's Infrastructure

State Bank Says Pakistan's Official GDP Under-estimated

Pakistan's Growing Middle Class

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

Fast Moving Consumer Goods Sector in Pakistan

3G-4G Roll-out in Pakistan

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pakistani Hindu Population Among Fastest Growing in the World

Contrary to the sensational media headlines about declining Hindu population in Pakistan, the fact is that Hindu birth rate is significantly higher than the country's national average. Although Hindus make up only 1.9% of Pakistan's population, it is among the worlds fastest growing Hindu communities today, growing faster than the Hindu populations in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Hindu Population in West Pakistan Source: Census Data

`Pakistan Census data. For 1931 and 1941, the figures are for West Pakistan in undivided India. For 1951 and 1961, the figures are for West Pakistan in undivided Pakistan. Data for 1971 could not be accessed.

Hindu population of the areas that now constitute Pakistan was 15% in 1931 India Census. It declined to 14% in 1941 India Census. Then first Pakistan Census in 1951 showed it was 1.3% after the massive cross-border migration of both Hindus and Muslims in 1947. During the partition, 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India from what became Pakistan, while 6.5 million Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. Since 1951, the Hindu population of what is now Pakistan has grown from 1.3% to 1.9% now.     

Top Countries With Hindu Populations Source: Pew Research Center
Fastest Growing Religions By Countries
Sindhi Hindu Woman

Hindu fertility rate (TFR) of 3.2 children per woman in Pakistan is much higher than national fertility rate of 2.86.  With 3.33 million Hindus, Pakistan is currently home to the world's 5th largest Hindu population. By 2050, Pakistan will rank 4th with 5.6 million Hindus, surpassing Indonesia which is currently ranked 4th largest Hindu country, according to Pew Research.

While it is true that some Pakistani Hindus have been targets of religious bigotry and intolerance by some in the majority Muslim community, there are also many many examples of mutual tolerance and respect between Hindus and Muslims in the country.  In the city of Mithi in Sindh's Tharparkar district, for example,  Muslims do not slaughter cows out of respect for their fellow citizens of Hindu faith, and Hindus, out of respect for Muslim rites do not  have marriage celebrations during the month of Muharram. Hassan Raza, a student journalist, quoted a resident of a village near Mithi as saying:

"In our village, Hindus and Muslims have been living together for decades and there has not been a single day, when I have seen a religious conflict. No loud speaker is used for Azaan at the time when Hindus are worshiping in their temple, and no bells are rung when it is time for namaz. Nobody eats in public when it is Ramazan and Holi is played by every member of the village."

Diwali Celebration in Mithi, Pakistan

Another example is Rohiri in Sindh where a visiting Canadian-Indian Hindu diplomat saw a thriving Hindu community. Here's an except of how he describes his visit to Rohiri:

"One of the most interesting elements of the trip was visiting my father’s town, Rohiri, his birthplace. I found there was still a sizeable Hindu community there. That totally took me by surprise. We still think there was a massive religious cleansing in Pakistan and there were no Hindus left. Then I came across this family of shopkeepers who said, “Don’t worry about anything. Stay with us.” They gave me lunch and dinner and put me on the night train to Lahore. Talking to this family in the neighbourhood where my father grew up and was married was fascinating. The question that came to mind was why did my father’s family leave Pakistan and why are these people still here? Official figures suggest 14 million people were displaced after partition and that half a million to a million people were killed. And yet 60 years later these Hindu people in Rohiri are still there. They felt connected to the place where they were born. In the three towns I passed through I kept meeting Hindus — traders, professionals. Their numbers were small, 300 or 400 families in each of these towns. They have their own places of worship. I dared to ask: “Are you happy here?” and they said, “Yes, this is the land where we were born.”"

Pakistani Fashion Designer Deepak Perwani in Karachi

A successful Karachi-based Hindu Pakistani fashion designer Deepak Perwani said the following while talking to Indian media in 2012:

"People keep asking me, 'Oh you guys didn't migrate?', 'How are you treated there?' and so on. The questions show a lack of awareness." Perwani is part of Karachi's flourishing Hindu community, which is small but visible and influential even today. One lakh of Karachi's 1.3 crore population is Hindu.

As Perwani puts it, a lot of what people say about Pakistani Hindus shows "a lack of awareness".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Textbooks Acknowledge Minorities' Contributions

Rising Tide of Intolerance Threatens Pakistan

Akhand Bharat Part of Indian Textbooks

Hindutva Distortions in Indian Textbooks

Fighting Agents of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslim Scholars Must Fight Hate in Pakistan

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Pakistan Must Defeat Agents of Intolerance 

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who's India's Real Enemy? Pakistan? China?

First came "boli nahi, goli"  (Bullets, not talks). Then came "chappan inch ki chhaati" (56 inch chest, 44 actual according to Modi's tailor). It seems that India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's soaring rhetoric against Pakistan continues to soar ever higher.

Modi's rising rhetoric is now being emulated by his lieutenants including Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and most recently Information Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore. Rathore is reported to have claimed that Indian forces have struck deep inside Myanmar and this Indian action has sent a "message" to Pakistan.  Indian military and Myanmar have both denied there was any cross-border attack into Myanmar.

World's Dirtiest Cities Source: WHO Via Quartz India

As I was reading the news of Hindu Nationalists' saber-rattling,  I started to wonder who is India's real enemy? Is it Pakistan? Or China? Or is it India's domestic problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, lack of  clear air and access to clean water and basic hygiene that result in tens of millions of deaths each year? Do the Indian leaders not know that their country is home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates? Did recent heatwave deaths of over 2000 Indians not remind of India's extreme vulnerability to climate change?

Is it not true that more than half of India lacks access to clean water and toilets? Are they not aware that 13 of the top 20 most polluted cities are in India and 3 in Pakistan?  Do they not know that New Delhi is the dirtiest city in the world? Have they not seen data showing hopelessness is driving 30 to 40 Indian youths per 100,000  to suicide, among the highest rates in the world?

As these thoughts were running through my mind, I came upon a recent New York Times report  titled "Holding Your Breath in India" filed by the newspaper's New Delhi correspondent Gardener Harris who has been living in the Indian capital for several years.  Here are some of his observations:

1. We gradually learned that Delhi’s true menace came from its air, water, food and flies. These perils sicken, disable and kill millions in India annually, making for one of the worst public health disasters in the world. Delhi, we discovered, is quietly suffering from a dire pediatric respiratory crisis, with a recent study showing that nearly half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have irreversible lung damage from the poisonous air.

2. The city’s air is more than twice as polluted as Beijing’s, according to the World Health Organization. (India, in fact, has 13 of the world’s 25 most polluted cities, while Lanzhou is the only Chinese city among the worst 50; Beijing ranks 79th.)

3. For much of the year, the Yamuna River would have almost no flow through Delhi if not for raw sewage. Add in the packs of stray dogs, monkeys and cattle even in urban areas, and fresh excretions are nearly ubiquitous. Insects alight on these excretions and then on people or their food, sickening them.

4. Very high levels of air pollution hurt children the most. But it's not just children.  Many adults suffer near-constant headaches, sore throats, coughs and fatigue. Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, had to leave the city for 10 days in March to cure a chronic cough.

5. It’s not just the air that inflicts harm. At least 600 million Indians, half the total population, defecate outdoors, and most of the effluent, even from toilets, is dumped untreated into rivers and streams. Still, I never thought this would come home to my family quite as dramatically as it did.

6. Most piped water here is contaminated. Poor sanitation may be a crucial reason nearly half of India’s children are stunted.

7. So many of our friends have decided to leave that the American Embassy School — this city’s great expat institution — is facing a steep drop in admissions next fall. My pastor, who ministers to a largely expat parish here, told me he feared he would lose 60 percent of his congregants this summer.

Hindu Nationalists led by Narendra Modi need to recognize that their biggest enemy is widespread deep domestic deprivation of their people. They need to join hands with Pakistan and other neighbors to focus their energies and resources to provide decent living standards to their people. They need to understand that there will be no winners in any war they launch against Pakistan. Instead, all of the people of South Asia region will be big losers.  The sooner they realize these facts the better it is for the people of South Asia.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Why Are Indians Less Happy Than Pakistanis?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

World Happiness Index: Why Are Indians Less Happy Than Pakistanis?

The World Happiness Report 2015 ranks Pakistan at 81, well ahead of India ranked at 117 among 158 countries surveyed.  Not surprisingly,  Switzerland is home to the happiest people in the world. The top 10 on the list are rich industrialized countries of the world.

Pakistan happiness index score has declined by 0.312 since 2008, the year Pakistan became a "democracy" after 8 years of "military rule" by President Pervez Musharraf.

The World Happiness Report bases each country’s ranking on six variables: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.

The prevalence of depression is among the key factors determining a country's happiness. The report notes that Pakistan has made significant efforts in treating rural women's depression. Here's an excerpt from the report:

"Community health workers (Lady Health Workers) were trained to identify and treat maternal depression, using a CBT-based ( intervention (the Thinking Healthy Program). The initiative used 16 home-based individual sessions and included active listening, collaboration with the family, guided discovery and homework (Cognitive Behavioral Therapists) is, trying things out between sessions, practicing what was learned). Forty local areas were assigned to either intervention or routine care, with about 450 mothers in each group. At follow-up sessions (after six months) the experimental group included 23% still depressed, compared with 53% in the control group. In another study, psychoeducation is being offered to all mothers."

A Lancet paper describes the mental health intervention as follows:

"Lady Health Workers (LHWs) were trained to deliver a Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) based intervention to depressed women, beginning in the last trimester of pregnancy and ending at 10 months postpartum. The intervention is based in a psychosocial model and not presented as a ‘treatment’ for a ‘mental health problem’ but rather as way to improve positive and healthy thinking around the mother and the baby. The actual delivery of the intervention was integrated into the routine work of the existing community health worker – called Lady Health Worker (LHW) and delivered at the women’s’ home. LHWs are mainly responsible for maternal and child health care".

The Lady Health Workers (LHW) program in Pakistan has been described as “one of the best community-based health systems in the world” by Dr. Donald Thea, a Boston University researcher and one of the authors of a recent Lancet study on child pneumonia treatment in Pakistan. He talked with the New York Times about the study.

Pakistan's relatively lower levels of depression and suicides (less than 3 per 100,000) in South Asia are reflected in the region's suicide statistics. A 2013 scientific paper titled "Mental Depression of Indian Women" published in "Anthropology"  described the situation in India as follows: "Suicidal rate in India is higher comparing to other countries in the world. In each year over a half million people put their own lives down globally, of them 20% are Indians (17% of world population). However, during last two decades the rate of suicide has increased from 7.9 to 10.3 per 100,000".

India's youth suicide rate of 30-40 per 100,000 is among the highest in the world, according to a Lancet study. In addition, Indian farmers' suicides are continuing unabated at a rate of one every 30 minutes for the last two decades.

The problem of suicides appears to be at least in part due to the fact that India's value added agriculture continues be among the lowest in the world. Unlike India, Pakistan managed to significantly raise agriculture productivity and rural incomes in 1980s through a livestock revolution. Economic activity in dairy, meat and poultry sectors now accounts for just over 50% of the nation's total agricultural output. The result is that per capita value added to agriculture in Pakistan is almost twice as much as that in Bangladesh and India.

The key to improving happiness in developing countries like India and Pakistan is to focus on meeting basic needs such as education, nutrition and hygiene, in addition to addressing issues of health, including mental health.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Lady Health Workers Best in the World

Farmer Suicides in India

Agriculture Value Addition in Pakistan

Pakistan Ranks High on Happy Planet Index

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

India and Pakistan Off-Track Off-Target on Toilets

Pakistani Democracy's Education Report Card

President Musharraf Gained Legitimacy By Good Governance

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pakistani Democracy's Disappointing Report Card On Education

Data and graphs presented in Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15 show that the country has fallen considerably short of achieving UN Millennium Development Goals 2015 (MDG 2015), a set of goals agreed by UN member nations in the year 2000. Key MDG 2015 goals included: halving extreme poverty and hunger from 1990 levels, reducing by two-thirds the child-mortality rate and slashing maternal mortality by three-quarters and achieving universal primary education.

Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15 Education Report also shows that the country was poised to achieve MDG goals in years 2001-2008 during President Musharraf's rule. Then came "democracy" in 2008 and human development progress dramatically slowed down.

Primary Enrollment Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan

Youth Literacy Rate Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan

Human development index reports on Pakistan released by UNDP confirm the ESP 2015 human development trends.Pakistan’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.537— which is in the low human development category—positioning the country at 146 out of 187 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2013, Pakistan’s HDI value increased from 0.356 to 0.537, an increase of 50.7 percent or an average annual increase of about 1.25.

Pakistan HDI Components Trend 1980-2013 Source: Human Development Report 2014

Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.
South Asia HDI Trends 1980-2013 Source: Human Development Report 2014

Who's to blame for this dramatic slowdown in the nation's human development? Who gave it a low priority? Zardari? Peoples' Party? Sharif brothers? PML (N)? PML (Q)? Awami National Party? Muttahida Qaumi Movement? The answer is: All of them. They were all part of the government. In fact, the biggest share of the blame must be assigned to PML (N). Sharif brothers weren't part of the ruling coalition at the center. So why should the PML (N) share the blame for falling growth in the nation's HDI? They must accept a large part of the blame because education and health, the biggest contributors to human development, are both provincial subjects and PML(N) was responsible for education and health care of more than half of Pakistan's population.

Why is it that "democratic" governments fail to deliver on human development? Is it just a matter of allocating insufficient funds? Or is it poor governance? Corruption? The answer is "all of the above". Ghost schools that exist only on paper are quite common, especially in Sindh, according to multiple credible reports. The funds allocated for building and staff salaries of these ghost schools are siphoned off by politicians and bureaucrats. Where school buildings do exist, the teachers draw salaries but are often absent. Such teaching positions are filled by untrained people in return for bribes. Many of these allegations against predecessors have been confirmed by by Sindh Education Minister Nisar Kuhro.

Actions of Pakistani politicians of all parties are discrediting democracy and endangering Pakistan's future. They are their own and the country's worst enemies. They must find a way to deliver on socio-economic development to restore ordinary Pakistanis' faith in democracy before it's too late.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Lost Decades

Saving Pakistan's Education, Airline and Railway

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Pakistan Democracy: Neither Democracy Nor Development

Challenges of Indian Democracy

Pakistan's Economic History

Comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan

Economic and Human Development in Musharraf Years

India's Share of World;s Poor Up from 22% to 33%

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Musharraf Era Higher Education Reforms in Pakistan

Comparing 30-Year Dictatorships in Indonesia and Pakistan

Democracy vs. Dictatorship in Pakistan

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pakistan Economic Review; KP Elections Aftermath; India Heatwave Deaths

How is Pakistan's economy performing after two years of Nawaz Sharif's government in power? What are its accomplishments and failures as laid out in the latest 2014-15 Economic Survey of Pakistan? Has there been any progress in resolving fundamental structural issues relating to taxation and  budget and current account deficits under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif? Will the new budget for 2015-16 help grow the economy and improve macroeconomic indicators?

Are allegations against PTI-led government of rigging in KP local elections politically motivated? Are PTI opponents justified in their demand for resignation of KP government and holding of fresh local elections?

Is the current intense heatwave in India caused by South Asia's high vulnerability to climate change? With over 2000 people Indians dead in the current heatwave, should India's Modi government pay more attention to issues of climate change?

Viewpoint from Overseas host Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer.com) discusses these issues and more with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com) and Misbah Azam (politicsinpakistan.com) on Velayat TV USA.


Viewpoint from Overseas June 6, 2015 from WBT TV on Vimeo.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Heatwave Deaths in India

Pakistan 2.0

PTI Dharna in Islamabad

Pakistan Economic History

Viewpoint From Overseas Dailymotion Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How Will Robots Impact Late Industrializers Like India and Pakistan?

Export oriented manufacturing industries have helped a succession of newly industrialized countries like Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong,  Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and China create more and better jobs and rise from low-cost manufacturing base to more advanced, high-end exports.  

As a country's labor gets too expensive to be used to produce low-value products, some poorer country takes over and starts the climb to prosperity.  Will this formula help create more and better jobs in late industrializing countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan? Will programs like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" help create more and better manufacturing jobs to bring prosperity to his country? To answer this question, let's look at a recent World Bank report. 

World Bank Report:

A 2015 World Bank report titled "Manufacturing Conundrum" says this formula of creating more manufacturing jobs for greater prosperity is unlikely to continue to work in the future. Here are two reasons it offers:

1. Labor productivity has risen faster in manufacturing than in the wider economy. Higher levels of manufacturing output are now compatible with lower levels of manufacturing employment. the following figure confirms this, showing that peak manufacturing employment shares have fallen over time. Peak output shares have not.

2. Manufacturing activity is now more apt to leave for other countries as labor costs rise. Therefore deindustrialization kicks in at lower income levels. Moreover, this premature deindustrialization is more apparent in employment than in output data. Output can be sustained in the face of rising labor costs by replacing workers with machinery. (Arvind Subramaniam and Amrit Amirapu show similar trends in industrial (manufacturing plus mining, utilities and construction) employment using repeated cross-sections of countries.)

Rise of the Robots:

A key factor this report does not fully acknowledge is the dramatic advance in artificial intelligence (AI) leading to the rise of much more capable robots.

To put this in perspective, let's understand that the industrial revolution in the West moved a lot of jobs and people from farms to factories beginning in the 18th century.  As a lot of low-cost, low-value manufacturing has moved to cheaper locations in the developing countries,  there has been a major transition from manufacturing jobs to service sector jobs in the industrialized nations. Now the application of robots on the factory floors is putting pressure on manufacturing jobs everywhere---in developed as well as developing nations.

Low-Cost Manufacturing Jobs:

Even low-cost manufacturing jobs in garment industry are being challenged by highly capable sewing robots from companies like SoftWear Automation, a textile-equipment manufacturer based in Atlanta in the American state of Georgia. Here's how Economist Magazine describes it: "The company is developing machines which tackle the problems of automated sewing in a number of ways. They use cameras linked to a computer to track the stitching. Researchers have tried using machine vision before, for instance by having cameras detect the edge of a piece of fabric to work out where to stitch".

Service Sector Jobs:

Even the service sector jobs are now threatened with increasing capacity of the robots. Following are examples of robots intended to replace service sector workers that have been described Martin Ford in a recent NPR interview to promote his book "Rise of the Robots":

Loading-Unloading Robot:

There's a company in Silicon Valley called Industrial Perception which is focused specifically on loading and unloading boxes and moving boxes around. This is a job that up until recently would've been beyond the robots because it relies on visual perception often in varied environments where the lighting may not be perfect and so forth, and where the boxes may be stacked haphazardly instead of precisely and it has been very, very difficult for a robot to take that on. But they've actually built a robot that's very sophisticated and may eventually be able to move boxes about one per second and that would compare with about one per every six seconds for a particularly efficient person. So it's dramatically faster and, of course, a robot that moves boxes is never going to get tired. It's never going to get injured. It's never going to file a workers' compensation claim.

Hamburger Making Robot:

Essentially, it's a machine that produces very, very high quality hamburgers. It can produce about 350 to 400 per hour; they come out fully configured on a conveyor belt ready to serve to the customer. ... It's all fresh vegetables and freshly ground meat and so forth; it's not frozen patties like you might find at a fast food joint. These are actually much higher quality hamburgers than you'd find at a typical fast food restaurant. ... They're building a machine that's actually quite compact that could potentially be used not just in fast food restaurants but in convenience stories and also maybe in vending machines.

News Writing Robot:

Essentially it looks at the raw data that's provided from some source, in this case from the baseball game, and it translates that into a real narrative. It's quite sophisticated. It doesn't simply take numbers and fill in the blanks in a formulaic report. It has the ability to actually analyze the data and figure out what things are important, what things are most interesting, and then it can actually weave that into a very compelling narrative. ... They're generating thousands and thousands of stories. In fact, the number I heard was about one story every 30 seconds is being generated automatically and that they appear on a number of websites and in the news media. Forbes is one that we know about. Many of the others that use this particular service aren't eager to disclose that. ... Right now it tends to be focused on those areas that you might consider to be a bit more formulaic, for example sports reporting and also financial reporting — things like earnings reports for companies and so forth.

What's Next:

Farm and factory jobs have dramatically declined forcing workers to move into the service sector. So what will happen when the service sector jobs decline? What will people do? Here are some possible answers:

Peer-to-peer economy: In a return to the era of barter economy, people will share what they have for a price. It could be a car, a room, a meal, a basic chore etc. Examples include AirBnB.com, Getaround, Etsy, Lyft, TaskRabbit

Shorter work-week: A shorter work week will alllow more people to be gainfully employed. Example: 35-hour work-week in France

Basic income guaranteed for all: First proposed by Richard Nixon in 1969 as “Family Assistance Plan”. Government will collect taxes and distribute basic assistance to allow people to subsist. If they choose to work, they can earn more money to have a higher standard of living.


People have moved from agriculture to manufacturing to service jobs over the last two centuries. Now highly-capable robots are threatening to replace workers in all sectors. Major disruptions are likely to occur to build a new economic order that offers everyone a dignified existence in future. Such an order could be a combination of peer-to-peer economy, work-sharing through shorter work weeks and basic guaranteed income for all.  French philosopher Voltaire said: “Work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and the need”. Basic guaranteed income only takes care of “the need”, not “boredom, vice”.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Robotics in Pakistan

Pakistan-China Industrial Corridor

Industrial Revolution Triggered Major Power Shift From East to West

Pakistan Led South Asian Job Growth 2001-2010

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Pakistan 2.0: Technology Driving Productivity

3D Printing Revolution Comes to Pakistan

Is Modi's Honeymoon Over?