Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Kulbhushan Yadav: Can ISPR Compete Against India's Spin Machine?

The recent release of a 6-minute video confession of Indian intelligence officer arrested by Pakistan has been met by a furious disinformation campaign by the Indian government and Indian media. Their aim is to obfuscate the damning confession and discredit ISPR's fact-based claims. What ISPR and Pakistan government need to understand is that having facts on your side is not sufficient to make your case; it requires the use of all modern PR techniques to have any chance of success in influencing world opinion, particularly western opinion, in your favor.

So What Can Pakistan Do? 

I think the ISPR is in way over its head in this effort to persuade the world to believe Pakistan's case in the face of the well-honed Indian spin machine. Pakistan needs serious professionals for this job, the kind of professionals who have experience in orchestrating a campaign that includes news stories, TV analysts' commentaries, newspaper columns and magazine Op-Eds, think tank reports and speeches by the pro-Pakistan Caucus in the US Congress.

India's Spin Machine:

The Indian spin machine was recently in full gear when it tried unsuccessfully to stop the sale by the United States government of just 8 F-16s to Pakistan. The campaign orchestrated by the Indian government included placement of favorable news stories, TV analysts' commentaries, newspaper columns and magazine Op-Eds (including one by Husain Haqqani), think tank reports and speeches by the members of the India Caucus in the US Congress.  They all blatantly toed the Indian line that these 8 F-16s would be used against India, not in Pakistan's ongoing counter-insurgency operations. The biased nature of all of these efforts can be gauged by the following facts that were completely ignored by them:

1. There is a huge imbalance in the conventional defense capabilities between India and Pakistan as laid out by It ranks India at number 4 in the world while Pakistan is way down at number 17 in 2016.

2. India is world's largest importer of sophisticated weapons, including fighter aircraft, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Here's what it says about the import of weapons between 2011 and 2015: India (14 per cent of global arms imports), China (4.7 per cent), Australia (3.6 per cent), Pakistan (3.3 per cent), Viet Nam (2.9 per cent) and South Korea (2.6 per cent).

3. Pakistan, like the United States elsewhere, has been using F-16s in Operation Zarb e Azb against militants hiding out in Pakistan tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan.

I did not see a single piece in the US media supporting Pakistani position in this battle.  It was completely one-sided. They succeeded in forcing a US Senate vote to block the sale. Luckily for Pakistan, Obama administration barely succeeded in overcoming this Indian campaign to do something as trivial as selling just a few F-16s to Pakistan this time.

Kulbushan Yadav Arrest:

The facts about India's sponsorship of terror in Pakistan clearly favor ISPR.  The confession video shows a very relaxed Kulbhushan, caught on Pakistani territory using a false Muslim identity as Husain Mubarak Patel, talking to the interrogators and revealing details of his work. He appears to be under no stress. However, I do not think that facts alone can help. Why?

The Obama administration and the western governments and analysts already know what India has been doing to hurt Pakistan.   Ex US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has confirmed based on US intelligence reports that "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan".   

Back in 2009, after visiting Indian consulates in Zahedan, Jalalabad and Kandahar,  the pro-Indian analyst Christine Fair acknowledged that "they are not issuing visas as the main activity!" She futher said: "Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan". 

Kulbhushan Yadav's arrest is further confirmation of the fact that India is using development projects such as Chahbahar Port Project in Iran and various infrastructure projects in Afghanistan as cover for Indian intelligence agencies to sponsor terror in Pakistan. 

Successful PR Campaign:

Pakistan needs to learn from prior successful PR campaigns used by other countries. For example,  Pakistani government needs to look at the Kuwaiti government funded effort that involved as many as 20 PR, law and lobby firms in its campaign to mobilize US opinion to use force against Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War. Hill & Knowlton, then the world's largest PR firm, served as the mastermind for the Kuwaiti campaign. Its activities alone would have constituted the largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating American public opinion at the time.


Pakistan can take heart from the fact that India's spin machine does not always succeed. However, it still needs to employ modern PR techniques to match India's to make the case that it is a victim of terror sponsored, at least in part, by India's intelligence agency.  The end goal needs to be to show the world that there is a proxy war being waged in Pakistan. This war needs to end to begin serious diplomacy to bring peace to South Asia.

Let me quote US analyst Stephen Cohen to conclude this: "The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Releases Confessional Video of India Agent 

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?

Ex India Spy Documents Successful RAW Ops in Pakistan

London Police Document Confirms MQM-RAW Connection Testimony

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ajit Doval Lecture on "How to Tackle Pakistan" 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pakistan Releases Indian RAW Agent Kulbushan Yadav's Confessional Video

Pakistan has released a confessional video in which an arrested Indian spy is heard admitting to New Delhi's involvement in terrorist activities in the Pakistan's province of Balochistan and the megacity of Karachi.

Kulbushan Yadav's Fake ID as Hussein Mubarak Patel 
Serving Indian Navy commander Kulbushan Yadav says in the video that he had been directing various Indian intelligence operations in Karachi and Balochistan "at the behest of RAW", the Indian intelligence agency, and that he was still with the Indian Navy. It should be noted that India is on record as strongly opposing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project.

Yadav added that he had played a key role in inciting chaos and terror in Karachi. In interrogations done by the London Police, some top MQM leaders have confirmed receiving support from India's RAW for their criminal activities in Karachi.

Scotland Yard Police Document on MQM-RAW Link

Pakistani law enforcement agencies arrested Yadav in an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan's Chaman near the border with Afghanistan last week. Before writing and promoting an anti-Pakistan book in India, American analyst and author Christine Fair said this in 2009: "Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan". 

 The video was released at a press conference attended by Pakistan Army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa of ISPR (Inter-Services Press Relations) and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid.

Calling Yadav's arrest a "big achievement", Bajwa said Yadav was directly in contact with top RAW officials. "His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar port as a special target," Bajwa said. "This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism... There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan."

Yadav is heard saying in the video that he was still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and would be due for retirement in 2022.

"By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. "As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004. Having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end," Yadav said.

Yadav said his purpose was to remain in direct contact with Baloch insurgents and carry out "activities with their collaboration".

He held a valid Indian passport and Iranian visa. India has denied Yadav was an intelligence operative and said he was formerly from the navy. New Delhi has also demanded consular access to Yadav, which has been denied.

 Yadav was moved to Islamabad for interrogation, during which an unnamed official said the spy revealed he had bought boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar to attack Karachi and Gwadar ports, Dawn reported.

India's intelligence agency RAW has a long history of sponsoring covert wars in Pakistan. Ex Indian spy R.K. Yadav has documented some of RAW's past successes in Pakistan stretching back to 1960s.

Ex US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has confirmed based on US intelligence reports that "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan".   

Since 2013, India's current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has been talking about "Pakistan's vulnerabilities" to terrorism and India's ability to take advantage of it.  The latest arrest of Indian agent Kulbhushan Yadav is confirmation of the Doval Doctrine against Pakistan in action. 

Here's Yadav's Confessional video:

Indian RAW agent Kulbhushan Yadav's confession by khalidkhan787

Here's a discussion on the subject:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?

Ex India Spy Documents Successful RAW Ops in Pakistan

London Police Document Confirms MQM-RAW Connection Testimony

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ajit Doval Lecture on "How to Tackle Pakistan" 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Indian Spy Arrest in Balochistan; Rouhani in Pakistan; Brussels Attacks

What was an Indian RAW agent doing in Balochistan, Pakistan? How did he enter Pakistan? Was he facilitated by Iran? Why does India have a big consulate in Zahedan where few visas are issued? How will this arrest impact India-Pakistan dialog? Will Pakistan insist on ending the ongoing India-Pakistan proxy war, aka terrorism, at the NSA-level talks between Nasser Janjua and Ajit Doval?

Why is Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani visiting Pakistan? What’s on the agenda? Energy? Trade? Security? Will Pakistan and Iran have a frank dialog at the highest level on India’s use of Iranian territory to foment terror by Baloch insurgents and sectarian militants in Pakistan? What will Iran demand in exchange?

Why is home-grown terror rising in Europe? Why are young Muslims born, raised and educated in Belgium, France and elsewhere in Europe so prone to recruitment by ISIS for violence in their own lands of birth? Are the European leaders introspecting about the causes? How will they end the anger and alienation felt by European Muslim youth? What lessons can the US learn from Europe to prevent similar situation?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Indian Spy Arrest in Balochistan; Rouhani in... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Indian Spy Arrest in Balochistan; Rouhani in Pakistan; Brussels Attacks from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Proxy War Against Pakistan

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successful Ops in Pakistan

Iran-Saudi Relations

Tarek Fatah vs Riaz Haq on India, Pakistan and Muslims

I am not Charlie!

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Can Saudi Arabia Change Peacefully?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Creation of Pakistan: A Great Blessing for Muslims of Sindh & Punjab

As Pakistanis celebrate their national day commemorating the Lahore Resolution of 23 March, 1940, let's look at how the Muslims of Sindh and Punjab, Pakistan's two largest provinces, have fared in the nation founded by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on August 14, 1947.

In 1947, most of the agricultural land in the largely agrarian provinces of Sindh and Punjab was owned by non-Muslims.  The urban elites of the major cities of Karachi and Lahore were almost entirely non-Muslims. Muslims were in majority in both provinces but they were mostly poor peasants.

Punjabi Muslims:

In Punjab, two-thirds of the land-holdings and 99% of bank deposits of Rs. 100 crore in Lahore were held by Hindus and Sikhs, according to the British archives researched by Dr. Kirpal Singh, author of "PARTITION of PUNJAB", published in 1972.

Only 3 out of 16 colleges in Lahore were run by Muslims. Of the 15 professional colleges, excluding 3 run by the government, all were run by non-Muslims. All 12 hospitals were operated by non-Muslims. Muslims in undivided Punjab had very low standards of living relative to Hindus and Sikhs, they were poor and backward, and there was no Muslim professional or business class in Lahore of 1947.

Sindhi Muslims: 

In Sindh province, about 60% of the agricultural land was owned by Hindus. The rest of the land was owned by big and small Muslim landowners but they were almost always in debt to Hindu moneylenders who exacted over 100% interest on the money they lent, according to The Imperial Gazeteer of India by W.W. Hunter. These massive debt burdens on Sindhi Muslims were removed when most of the Hindu moneylenders fled to India at the time of the partition in 1947.

Education and health care in Sindh were entirely controlled by non-Muslims, mainly Hindu Sindhis, according to The Imperial Gazeteer of India by W.W. Hunter and Nandita Bhavnani, author of "THE MAKING OF EXILE: SINDHI HINDUS AND THE PARTITION OF INDIA", published in 2014.  The educated elite, including the professional and business classes, were mostly Hindus and a few Parsees.

The partition in 1947 has been tremendous boon for both Sindhi and Punjabi Muslims of Pakistan. They have reaped great benefits from:

1. The departure of powerful non-Muslims landowners and moneylenders to India in 1947.

2.  Massive investments made by Pakistani government in major irrigation projects to create the world's largest contiguous irrigation system for farming since 1947.

3. Large investments in education, health care and urban development that have helped raise standards of living significantly as seen in various health (life expectancy) and wealth (per capita incomes)  indicators after 1947.


Mohajirs, the native Urdu speakers who migrated mainly from UP and Bihar to East & West Pakistan around 1947, and their relatives who stayed in India, have paid the biggest price for the partition. Many were killed during migration as detailed by Nisid Hajari in his recent book "MIDNIGHT FURIES".

 Mohajirs made up the backbone of the professionals, the businessmen, the industrialists and the civil servants Pakistan needed to function as an independent state in its early years after the partition.  Those left in East Pakistan after the creation of Bangladesh continue to languish to this day in camps for the "stateless persons". The Muslim relatives they left behind have now become the new untouchables in "Secular" India. Fortunately, Mohajirs and their children in Pakistan are able to help their Muslim relatives in India with remittances that added up to nearly $5 billion last year.


The partition of 1947 has been a great blessing for the Muslims of Sindh & Punjab in terms of education and incomes. Both have enjoyed rising standards of living in Pakistan after the departure of powerful non-Muslim landlords who controlled most of the resources in 1947. Mohajirs have paid the biggest price but, fortunately, they are now in a position to help their poor Muslim relatives in India with billions of dollars in remittances every year.

Note: Balochistan and NWFP (KPK) are not discussed here because there was no Hindu domination in these provinces. Both were and are overwhelmingly Muslim.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Lahore Resolution of 1940

Midnight Furies of 1947

Pakistanis Remitted $5 billion to Relatives in India

Muslims: The New Untouchables in India

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hindu Holidays in Pakistan; MQM Defections; Trump Victories

Will Pakistan government declare Hindu and Christian Holidays as recently passed by the parliament? Will it advance the rights of minorities in the country? Will the government pursue other measures, including curriculum reform to acknowledge minorities contribution to Pakistan?

Will there be more defections from MQM beyond Mustafa Kamal, Anees Qaimkhani, Saghir Ahmed and Raza Haroon? Who else is waiting in the wings to jump on the bandwagon started by Mustafa Kamal? Khushbakht Shujaat? Haider Abbas Rizvi? Faisal Subzwari? Ishrat ul Ibad? Will ex President Pervez Musharraf be drafted to lead the new party?

Source: Pakistan Census

Will more Trump victories in multiple US states help him gain enough delegates to win the GOP nomination for president on the first ballot at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio? What if the party denies him the nomination on the 2nd ballot? Will there be riots across the country as Donald Trump has warned? How will such events hurt Trump and the Republican party? Will GOP lose majority in both houses, House of Reps and the Senate, in Washington?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Hindu Holidays in Pakistan; MQM Defections... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Hindu Holidays in Pakistan; MQM Defections; Trump Victories from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Hindu Population Among World's Fastest Growing

Pakistan Textbooks to Acknowledge Minorities Contribution


Trump's Phenomenon

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

Friday, March 18, 2016

Obama’s Challenge to Muslim Americans Begins at Home

Guest Post By Athar Javaid

“Right now, many Muslim Americans are worried because threats and harassment against their community are on the rise,” President Obama recently wrote in a commentary for Religion News Service. “We’ve seen Muslim Americans assaulted, children bullied and mosques vandalized, and we’ve heard shameful political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country.” The president’s words recognize higher levels of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence in America, the intensification of an Islamophobia that spiked after 9/11. What is going on?

President Mosque Meeting American Muslims at the Islamic Center of Baltimore, Maryland

On one hand, American society is conflating Islam with the group that calls itself the Islamic State and reacting to Muslims in a way reminiscent of its 1940s internment of ethnic Japanese. On the other hand, there is concern that acts of radical Islamic fundamentalists present a threat to the nation. A non-exhaustive list of such events might start in 2009, when 13 people were killed and 30 were wounded by a lone gunman at Fort Hood, Texas. In May 2010, a car bomb was poised to go off in New York’s Times Square. Recently, two shooters killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. — the latest tragedy among a number far too large. There is fair and growing angst within American society about the behavior and treatment of Muslims. But the greater concern should be the emergence of a vicious cycle arcing from fear, to grievance, to violence.

Are we already spiraling? While the 9/11 hijackers were foreign nationals, those behind more recent attacks are often American-born or naturalized citizens. Many grew up in this country and even earned college degrees by virtue of their U.S. citizenship.

To prevent similar events in the future, we may be inclined to ask of past perpetrators: “Were you motivated entirely by religious radicalization, or was your anger sparked by mistreatment and disenfranchisement?” Whatever the answer, the required response will involve the Muslim community, a part of which has shown little inclination to address the problem of the radicalized within it.

We’re seeing now that events like those since 2009 make victims of survivors as well as the deceased. Muslim communities in North America and around the globe mourn alongside the bereaved, but with their grief there is also the fear that all who practice Islam will come to be perceived as terrorists. The natural reaction is to turn inward, and as current events show, it is reasonable for Muslims to be fearful.

But it is also reasonable to believe that homegrown terrorist attacks can be prevented, and if we are learning anything, it’s that the best opportunity — and the responsibility — to do so begins at home — first with immediate family members and then friends, co-workers, community members and religious leaders. It ends with law enforcement authorities.

What can Muslims do to break the cycle of violence and Islamophobia?

Work within Muslim communities to identify extremism and radicalization before it culminates in violence. Uniting a community under a common goal can turn strangers into friends and make the communities warmer, more vigilant and safer for everyone. Neighborhood and community watches do this already and are organized for the same purposes — safety and crime prevention. A well-run program can achieve greater socialization, spot early signs of concern and effectively prevent crime without abandoning personal privacy.

American society is made stronger and more resilient when it is a community of overlapping communities and when responsibilities are shared.

“You are not Muslim or American. You are Muslim and American,” Obama said in his RNS commentary, echoing a recent speech at a Maryland mosque. It is as much a statement of fact as it is a challenge, and in both cases, it begins at home.

Note: Author Athar Javaid is President of INDUS — Mobilizing People’s Power, a Washington, D.C.-registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt think tank and advocacy group dedicated to a progressive and politically stable Pakistan, strong U.S.-Pakistan relations and community integration and civic promotion in the United States. INDUS has no political affiliations in the United States or political ambitions in Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Obama Lampooned as Flag-Burning Muslim Terrorist

Why Obama Shies Away From Muslims?

Unreasonable Men: From Martin Luther King to Barack Husain Obama

Powell: So What if Obama is Muslim

Obama Speaks to the Muslim World From Cairo

Obama, Islam & Science

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bangalore & Mumbai Cheaper Than Karachi

It costs less to live in Bangalore, India's high-tech capital, and Bombay, India's financial capital, than to live in Pakistan's megacity of Karachi, according to the 2016 Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report. The survey says Karachi's cost of living index is 44 while Bangalore's is 42 and Mumbai's 43. The survey bases it on New York City's cost of living set at 100. Lusaka, Zambia, is the cheapest with cost of living index measured at 41.

World's Cheapest Cities Source: EIU. Courtesy: Metro

In fact, there are four Indian cities and just one Pakistani city among the cheapest cities in the world, according to the latest EIU survey. The complete list of the World's Cheapest Cities is as follows:

1. Lusaka, Zambia
2. Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
3. Mumbai (Bombay), India
4. Almaty, Kazakhstan
5. Algiers, Algeria
6. Chennai (Madras), India
7. Karachi, Pakistan
8. New Delhi, India
9. Damascus, Syria
10. Caracas, Venezuela

Seven of the world's cheapest cities are in Asia, one in South America and two in Africa.

The EIU surveyed 133 cities and measured the cost of 160 items. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.

The survey allows for city-to-city comparisons, but for the purpose of this report all cities are compared to a base city of New York, which has an index set at 100. The survey has been carried out for more than 30 years.

EIU ranks Singapore (index 116) as the world's most expensive city. It's followed by Zurich (114), Hong Kong (114), Geneva (108), Paris (107), London (101), New York (100), Seoul (99), Copenhagen (99) and Los Angeles (99). Three of the top 10 most expensive cities are in Asia, 5 in Europe and 2 in the United States, and none in Africa.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Live Large for Less in Delhi, Dhaka, Karachi and Mumbai 

Karachi is the World's Fastest Growing Megacity

Eleven Days in Karachi

Indian Visitors Share "Eye Opener" Stories About Pakistan 

Gangs of Karachi

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trump Rally Violence; US F-16s for Pakistan; Obama on Saudi Ties; Mustafa Kamal Bandwagon; Shahbaz Taseer Release

Why is there increasing violence at rallies held by US Republican presidential front-runner Donald J. Trump? Who’s inciting it? Is it Trump himself egging on his angry supporters to hurt protesters? How will this affect the holding of peaceful elections in 2016? Will it hurt the US image in the international community?

Why did the Obama administration and the US Senate ignore efforts by Indian lobby, including Husain Haqqani and Tarek Fatah, to block the $700 million deal to sell F-16s and other related equipment to Pakistan? Why did the US-Pakistan joint declaration after strategic dialogue in Washington refer to the importance of Kashmir resolution? Is the US willing to anger New Delhi to maintain close ties with its arch-rival Pakistan?

Is Mustafa Kamal bandwagon gathering momentum with more MQM leaders joining the ex mayor of Karachi? How many more will jump on this bandwagon to try and isolate the all-powerful Altaf Husain and his London-based Rabita Committee? Why did Obama not acknowledge “close ties” with America’s “ally” Saudi Arabia? Why did he say “Saudi Arabia must share region with Iran”? Is Obama putting Iran and Saudi Arabia on the same footing now?

What led to the welcome release of Gov Salman Taseer’s son Shahbaz Taseer soon after Mumtaz Qadri execution? Was he recovered by use of Pak military force or by ransom paid to kidnappers by his family?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Trump Rally Violence; US F-16s; Obama on Saudi Ties; Mustafa Kamal; Shahbaz Taseer Release from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Trump Rally Violence; US F-16s; Obama on Saudi... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

The Trump Phenomenon

US-Pakistan Ties

MQM-RAW Connections

Iran-Saudi Proxy War

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pakistan FDI Soaring With CPEC Energy & Infrastructure Projects

Pakistan is seeing soaring foreign direct investment (FDI) with improving security and the start of several major energy and infrastructure projects as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), according to the UK's Financial Times business newspaper.

A New High in FDI:

The year 2015 was a bumper year for foreign investment  pouring into Pakistan, says the Financial Times. The country saw 39 greenfield investments adding up to an estimated $18.9 billion last year, according to fDi Markets, an FT data service. This is a big jump from 28 projects for $7.6 billion started in 2014, and marks a new high for greenfield capital investment into the country since fDi began collecting data in 2003.

Pakistan FDI Source:

The number of projects in 2015 is the largest since Pakistan attracted 57 greenfield projects back in 2005 on President Musharraf's watch.  China is now the top source country for investment into the country, surpassing the second-ranked United Arab Emirates, primarily due to its investments in power.

Top 10 Destinations of Chinese FDI 2012-14. Source: UNESCAP

Major CPEC Projects: 

China's Shanghai Electric, a power generation and electrical equipment manufacturing company, announced plans last year to establish a 1,320 megawatt coal-based power project in Thar desert using domestic coal, scheduled to launch in 2017 or 2018. Traditional energy and power projects made up two-thirds of last year’s total greenfield investment into Pakistan at $12.9 billion with alternative energy bringing in a further $1.8 billion.

CPEC Projects

Among the more notable projects, UAE-based Metal Investment Holding Corporation announced plans to partner with Power China E & M International to invest $5 billion to build three coal-fired plants at Karachi’s Port Qasim. In addition, the transportation sector is also showing promise, with 12 projects totaling $3 billion being announced or initiated last year.

Special Economic Zones:

Beyond the initial phase of power and road projects, there are plans to establish special economic zones in the Corridor where Chinese companies will locate factories. Extensive manufacturing collaboration between the two neighbors will include a wide range of products from cheap toys and textiles to consumer electronics and supersonic fighter planes.

The basic idea of an industrial corridor is to develop a sound industrial base, served by competitive infrastructure as a prerequisite for attracting investments into export oriented industries and manufacturing. Such industries have helped a succession of countries like Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong,  Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, China and now even Vietnam rise from low-cost manufacturing base to more advanced, high-end exports.  As a country's labour gets too expensive to be used to produce low-value products, some poorer country takes over and starts the climb to prosperity.

Once completed, the Pak-China industrial corridor with a sound industrial base and competitive infrastructure combined with low labor costs is expected to draw growing FDI from manufacturers in many other countries looking for a low-cost location to build products for exports to rich OECD nations.

Key Challenges:

While the commitment is there on both sides to make the corridor a reality, there are many challenges that need to be overcome. The key ones are  maintaining security and political stability, ensuring transparency, good governance and quality of execution. These challenges are not unsurmountable but overcoming them does require serious effort on the part of both sides but particularly on the Pakistani side. Let's hope Pakistani leaders are up to these challenges.


Pak-China economic corridor is a very ambitious effort by the two countries that will lead to greater investment and rapid industrialization of Pakistan. Successful implementation of it will be a game-changer for the people of Pakistan in terms of new economic opportunities leading to higher incomes and significant improvements in the living standards for ordinary Pakistanis. It will be in the best interest of all of them to set their differences aside and work for its successful implementation.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Chinese to Set New FDI Record For Pakistan

Pak Army Completes Half of CPEC Western Route

IPPs Enjoy Record Profits While Pakistan Suffers 

Can Pakistan Say No to US Aid?

Pak-China Defense Industry Collaboration Irks West

President Musharraf Accelerated Human & Financial Capital Growth in Pakistan

China's Investment and Trade in South Asia

China Signs Power Plant Deals with Pakistan

Soaring Imports from China Worry India

China's Checkbook Diplomacy

Yuan to Replace Dollar in World Trade?

China Sees Opportunities Where Others See Risk

Chinese Do Good and Do Well in Developing World

Monday, March 7, 2016

Vrindavan: City of Widows Symbolizes Shameful Treatment of South Asian Women

Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has earned two Oscars by bringing world's attention to women's abuse in Pakistan. She has shamed Pakistani politicians and society at large into a series of actions to put an end to violence against women. Alas, there appears to be little attention paid to women's abuse in Pakistan's neighbor India.
Widows of Vrindavan

Indian women's suffering begins at birth and continues through their entire lives. Girls are highly undervalued, there are 35 million fewer females than males, presumed dead, killed by midwife or parent or starved to death. Unltrasound technology is used mainly to find and destroy female fetuses. Ultrasound and abortion are available even in the smallest villages with no electricity or clean water.

The girls lucky enough not to be aborted face inequality and cruelty at every turn because of low social status of Indian women, according to SuperFreakonomics, a book by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner that documents status of women in India.

Vrindavan, also called the city of widows, is the most shameful symbol of women's suffering.  Satti, the immolation of surviving widows on a husband's funeral pyre,  may have been banned in India, but life for many widows in India is still tragic as they are shunned by their communities and abandoned by their families, even their own children, according to a recent Aljazeera  report.

The widows often live in severe poverty and are ostracized by society due to various superstitions - even the shadow of a widow can wreak havoc and bring bad luck, many Indians believe. Lack of education and any source of income forces them to beg on streets and many turn to prostitution for survival, according to the report.

The last time the issue of abandoned and ostracized widows got much attention in India was in 2005 when a Deepa Mehta film "Water" was released.  The film Water features Chuyia , a 7-year-old child bride, whose 40-year-old husband dies. Chuyia's head is shaved and she is dressed in a coarse white sari. She is then taken to a Hindu temple to spend the rest of her life there.  The film shows that several young widows are prostituted to clients to raise funds for the temple.

The irony is that the film Water's only acclaim came from audiences thousands of miles from India.  Deepa Mehta was forced to finish making the film abroad after receiving death threats for "insulting" Hindu culture. It was nominated for an Academy award but it did not win. It, however, did win several other prestigious international awards.

More recently, Naatak, a  Silicon Valley based theater company,  did "Vrindavan" as a musical production.  It takes a closer look at the politics and social ills behind the city of Vrindavan. It's directed by a Silicon Valley engineer Sujit Saraf who heads the theater company.

While all of South Asia needs to change the way women are treated, it's only Pakistan that appears to be willing to confront the issues of gender bias. Similar courage is needed in all of South Asia, particularly India, to do more to alleviate the suffering of women.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mumtaz Qadri Execution; Mustafa Kamal on MQM-RAW Links; Trump vs GOP

What do Mumtaz Qadri’s execution and Punjab women protection bill say about Pakistan’s determination to fight religious extremism? Can the Pakistani state deal with the street power of the religious parties? How will this struggle for the soul of Pakistan play out?

What does the return of ex Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal mean for Karachi, for MQM’s London leadership and for Pakistan’s national politics? With mounting evidence of MQM-Indian intelligence connections and crimes of MQM’s militant wing, will MQM restructure and reform from within? Will Karachi and Pakistan will be better served by it after reform?

London Met Police Document Linking MQM With RAW

Why has the GOP establishment turned against its own leading presidential candidate Donald J. Trump? Will there be a contested GOP convention this year? Would the Republican establishment rather lose the 2016 November general election than help Trump win the White House?

Viewpoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these question with Pakistan’s Dawn News TV anchor Amir Abbas, MQM USA’s Wasim Zaidi and regular panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Mumtaz Qadri Execution; Mustafa Kamal on MQM... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Mumtaz Qadri Execution; Mustafa Kamal on MQM-RAW Links; Trump vs GOP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Obama Honors Pakistani-American With Nation's Top Technology Medal

President Obama has honored Dr. Mark Salman Humayun of Pakistani origin with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a White House ceremony recently, according to a USC Eye Institute press release.

Dr. Humayun's "bionic eye" offers a solution for those who have the inherited retinal degenerative disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Known as the Argus II, it uses a camera mounted on special glasses that sends a signal to an electronic receiver with electrodes that are implanted in and around the eye. The electrodes send signals to the retina that stimulate the retina and then these retinal impulses travel through the optic nerve to the brain where they are interpreted as images.

Dr. Humayun's "bionic eye" received approval from the FDA in the U.S. in 2013 and since then the USC Eye Institute has been one of the centers of excellence for patients receiving this implant. Dr. Humayun has trained ophthalmologic surgeons worldwide in implanting the Argus device that has been in use in Europe since 2011 and was also recently approved for implantation in Australia, according to USC Keck Institute.

Born in Pakistan, Dr. Mark Salman Humayun is grandson of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's personal physician Dr. Ilahi Bakhsh, according to a story by Anjum Niaz of Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.  Dr. Humayun now leads the USC Eye Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he is Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering. The Humayun family came to America in 1972. Dr. Humayun received his MD degree from Duke University, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of North Carolina followed by clinical training in ophthalmology at Duke Medical Center as well as the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Humayun with President Obama at White House Award Ceremony

The news of Dr. Humayun's achievement comes on the heels of another Pakistani-American Dr. Nergis Mavalwala's contribution to discovery of gravitational waves that has been widely recognized. Mavalvala and her colleagues are credited with developing an ultrasensitive telescope designed to catch glimpses of gravitational waves. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these ripples in spacetime nearly a century ago, but they haven’t been observed directly yet, according to the Science Magazine. Theoretically a consequence of violent cosmic events—the collisions of black holes, the explosive deaths of stars, or even the big bang—gravitational waves could provide a brand new lens for studying the universe, according to the magazine.

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