Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pakistan Scores Better Than India in Translating GDP Growth to Well-Being

Pakistan does better than India and China in translating GDP growth to citizens' well-being, according to a 2016 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report titled "From Wealth to Well Being".

One particular metric BCG uses is growth-to-well-being coefficient on which Pakistan scores 0.87, higher than India's 0.77 and China's 0.75. Among South Asian nations, Bangladesh scores much higher at 1.03. The top ten countries in “current well-being” remain in Western Europe.

The BCG report quotes American economist Simon Kuznets, the creator of the concept of GDP in 1934, who said: "The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from  measurement of national income".  It uses SEDA (sustainable economic development assessment) to score and rank countries.

The report uses 5 years worth of GDP growth data up to  2014 and compares it with improvements in citizens' well-being in the same period.

On the question of the ability to translate GDP growth to citizens' well-being,  Colin Hunter, Center for Research on Globalization, has written the following:

"India is home to over 340 million destitute people and is the second poorest country in South Asia after war-torn Afghanistan...In South Asia, Afghanistan has the highest level of destitution at 38%. This is followed by India at 28.5%. Bangladesh (17.2%) and Pakistan (20.7%) have much lower levels"

GDP growth and increases in per capita income and human development index are often used as indicators to represent improvements in the lives of ordinary people in developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Both of these have significant limitations which are addressed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI)'s MPI, multi-dimensional poverty index.

The MPI brings together 10 indicators, with equal weighting for education, health and living standards (see table). If you tick a third or more of the boxes, you are counted as poor.

Source: Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative

Eradicating poverty in South Asia requires every person having access to safe drinking water, sanitation, housing, nutrition, health and education.

According to the MPI, out of its 1.2 billion-plus population, India alone is home to over 340 million destitute people and is the second poorest country in South Asia after war-torn Afghanistan, according to Colin Hunter of Canada-based Global Research.

Some 640 million poor people live in India (40% of the world’s poor), mostly in rural areas, meaning an individual is deprived in one-third or more of the ten indicators mentioned above (malnutrition, child deaths, defecating in the open).

 In South Asia, Afghanistan has the highest level of destitution at 38%. This is followed by India at 28.5%. Bangladesh and Pakistan have much lower levels. The study placed Afghanistan as the poorest country in South Asia, followed by India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, according to Hunter.

Afghanistan is the poorest country in South Asia in terms of multi-dimensional poverty with 66% of its people being poor, followed by India with 54%, Bangladesh with 51%, Pakistan and Nepal at 44%, Bhutan at 27%, and Sri Lanka and the Maldives at 5%, according to Oxford researchers. Among 104 countries ranked by OPHI,  Nepal ranks 82, India 74, Bangladesh 73,  Pakistan 70, Sri Lanka 32 in MPI poverty.

Why has India lagged  behind its neighbors in spite of rapid economic growth in recent years? Here's how Hunter explains it: "The ratio between the top and bottom 10% of wage distribution has doubled since the early 1990s, when India opened up it economy. According to the 2011 Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development report ‘Divided we stand’, this has made India one of the worst performers in the category of emerging economies. The poverty alleviation rate is no higher than it was 25 years ago. Up to 300,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1997 due to economic distress and many more have quit farming."

What Colin Hunter hasn't clearly articulated is the fact that India remains home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates who lack even basic sanitation 67 years after the nation's independence from British colonial rule.

As the new Hindu Nationalist government under Narendra Modi begins its anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan campaigns so soon after inauguration, an Indian journalist  Pankaj Mishra reminds Indians  in a recent New York Times Op Ed that that "India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars — from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri — have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture".

It's time for Mr. Modi to shun his bellicose rhetoric (boli nahee goli--India's guns will do the talking) against Pakistan and focus on much more important issues of deep deprivation of his people.

Here's a video on Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India:

Haq's Musings Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India by faizanmaqsood1010

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Sees Robust Growth in Energy, Autos, Cement and Steel

Depth of Deprivation in India

India Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates

Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes

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

India Teaching Young Students Akhand Bharat 

Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi

Monday, July 25, 2016

India-Occupied Kashmir Uprising; Azad Kashmir Polls; RNC Convention; Qandeel Baloch

Why are Kashmir’s young men and women in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) leading a massive uprising against Indian occupation of their land? Is Pakistan inciting them? Can this new generation of tech-savvy freedom-fighters be suppressed by 700,000 Indian soldiers deployed in IOK making it the world’s most heavily militarized occupation? Will Modi’s India finally listen to the voices of reason from within India to deal with the alienation of Kashmiri youths? Is it time to revive the Musharraf Formula that brought India and Pakistan very close to a deal in 2007?

Why did the ruling AJK PPP get wiped out in Azad Kashmir elections? And why did Imran Khan’s PTI fail to get much traction? How did Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN manage to sweep the polls there?

How did the Republican National Convention go in Cleveland Ohio? Did the RNC achieve its goals of uniting the party and reaching out to independents and Democrats? Did Donald Trump’s  "Messianic" convention speech help or hurt him?

Could Qandeel Baloch, also known as Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian, even be imagined in conservative Pakistan just a few years ago? Doesn’t the fact that she existed is in itself a sign of a social revolution sweeping Pakistan today? How will Pakistan protect its young women who are leading this social revolution?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discuses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

The Trump Phenomenon

Qandeel Baloch Leading Social Revolution

Kashmir in Context

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pakistan Sees Robust Growth in Demand For Energy, Autos, Cement & Steel

Pakistan's energy consumption grew by 5.7% in 2015, faster than the 5.2% increase in neighboring India that claims significantly faster GDP growth. Primary energy consumption growth in a country is often seen as a strong indicator of its GDP growth. Ever since the advent of the industrial age, energy has become increasingly important as a driver of farms, factories, communication, transportation, construction, retail and other sectors of the economy.   In addition to energy, other important economic indicators include cement and steel consumption, auto sales and air travel which are also growing significantly faster in Pakistan than in India.

Pakistan Primary Energy Consumption Trend (Source: British Petroleum)

Primary Energy Consumption:

According to British Petroleum Statistical Review of World Energy released in June 2016,  the primary energy consumption in Pakistan rose to 78.2 million ton oil equivalent (MTOE) in 2015, compared with 73.2 MTOE in 2014 confirming greater economic activity. It was the third fastest growth in energy consumption in Asia. Only the Philippines (9.7%), Vietnam (9.6%) and Bangladesh (8.7%) saw faster growth than Pakistan's.

Domestic Cement Demand:

All-Pakistan Cement Manufacturers’ Association reported cement industry sold 33 million tons in domestic market in fiscal year 2015-16, posting a robust growth of 17.01 per cent compared to the 28.2 million tons sales during the same period in 2015.

Local Auto Production:

Domestic auto production in Pakistan jumped by 21.57 percent (vs 2.58% growth in India) in fiscal 2016 compared to fiscal 2015, according to data from Pakistan Automobile Manufacturers Association. The data collected by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) noted that as many as 168,363 jeeps and cars were manufactured during July-May (2015-16) while 138,490 units were produced last year(July-May 2014-15).

Rising Steel Demand:

Pakistan is experiencing 30% growth in steel imports, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. Local steel production is about 6 million tons. In addition, Pakistani imports of steel this year could surpass $2 billion as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC-related projects ramp up.

Air Travel Growth:

Pakistan air travel market is among the fastest growing in the world.  IATA (International Air Transport Association) forecasts Pakistan domestic air travel will grow at least 9.5% per year, more than 2X faster than the world average annual growth rate of 4.1% over the next 20 years. The Indian and Brazilian domestic markets will grow at 6.9% and 5.4% respectively.

Pakistan saw 23% growth in airline passengers in 2015, according to Anna Aero publication. Several new airports began operations or expanded and each saw double digit growth in passengers. However,  Gwadar Airport growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan.

The top 12 airports all saw large double digit increases. Multan  grew 64%, Quetta 62% and Faisalabad +61% all climbing one place as a result of all of them seeing a growth of over 60%. Turbat Airport in Balochistan is the newest airport to reach the top 12 in terms of traffic.

Mobile Broadband Uptake:

Mobile broadband subscriptions have rocketed from zero to over 30 million in just two years since 3G/4G service rollout in Pakistan. Rapid growth is continuing with over 1 million new subscribers are signing up for 3G and 4G services every month. An equal or larger number of smartphones are are being sold.


A whole series of indicators from auto and steel to manufacturing and construction and telecom services are confirming that economic growth is accelerating in Pakistan. Among the reasons for this growth are significantly improved security situation, political stability and soaring Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in CPEC related energy and infrastructure projects.  These indicators are attracting investors who have already made Pakistan Stock Exchange the hottest shares market in Asia.  KSE-100, Pakistan's main shares index, is up 18% year-to-date compared to 6% increase in India's BSE-30 index. The challenge for Pakistan is to continue to improve security and political stability to reassure investors of superior returns from their investments in the country.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Politcal Stability Returns to Pakistan

Auto and Cement Demand Growth in Pakistan

Pakistan's Red Hot Air Travel Market

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor FDI

Mobile Broadband Subscriptions and Smartphone Sales

Pakistan in MSCI Emerging Market Index

Monday, July 18, 2016

Qandeel Baloch: Leading Social Revolution in Pakistan?

Could Qandeel Baloch, also known as Pakistan's Kim Kardashian, even be imagined in conservative Pakistan just a few years ago? Doesn't the fact that she existed is in itself a sign of a social revolution sweeping Pakistan today?

Tragic honor killing of Pakistani social media phenomenon Qandeel Baloch by her own brother in the city of Multan in highly conservative Seraiki region has received global media coverage. It's being offered as yet another example to support their convenient narrative of unspeakable brutality against women in Muslim Pakistan.

Fauzia Azeem AKA Qandeel Baloch
Unanswered Questions:

What is missing from the news reports, op-ed pieces and editorials about these incidents, however, is any serious research and analysis to answer the following:

A. Why are such events happening with increasing frequency?

B. Is it because Pakistanis' sense of "honor" has suddenly become more acute?

C. Or, is it because Pakistani girls are defying old traditions in much larger numbers than ever before?

Going by Karachi-based architect and sociologist Arif Hasan's insight into Pakistani society, the answer is C. As he said in a 2015 interview with The News: "Media projects a lot of injustices against women, but they do not project the changes taking place, nor are they projecting the role models who are challenging these traditional barriers. Role models, too, are just individual cases, like Malala."

Enabling Environment:

What is the enabling environment for these social changes?

There are a number of enabling factors ranging from increasing rural-to-urban migration to greater access to education and technology and growing opportunities for communication and self-expression via the new social media like Facebook. Here are a few them:

1. Pakistani women and girls in rural areas and small towns are better educated than ever before. Since 2000, over twenty universities have been established in small towns of Pakistan where men and women from small towns and villages are enrolling and graduating.

2. Young men and women are questioning conservative traditional values with rapidly growing access to television, cell phones and social media.

3. Nearly a quarter of Pakistani females over the age of 10 now work, up from 14 percent a decade ago, according to government data. Women now hold 78 of the 342 seats in the National Assembly.  Women now make up 4.6% of board members of Pakistani companies, a tad lower than the 4.7% average in emerging Asia, but higher than 1% in South Korea, 4.1% in India and Indonesia, and 4.2% in Malaysia, according to a February 2011 report on women in the boardrooms.

4. Court marriages that were rare just a decade ago have increased dramatically. Girls and boys are defying their parents by rejecting arranged marriages.

Causes of Violence Against Women: 

Whether it was the bloody Civil War to abolish slavery in America or the Meiji Restoration that transformed feudal Japan into an industrial giant, history tells us that violent conflict has been an integral part of the process of social change.  Pakistan, too, is experiencing a similar violent social revolution. It started well before the terrorist attacks  of 911 and the subsequent US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.  It has only intensified after these events.

The "peace of the dead" has ended with the continuing "eclipse of feudalism" in Pakistan.  A significant part of  the what the world media, politicians and pundits call terrorism is in fact  an "unplanned revolution" in the words of a Pakistani sociologist, a revolution that could transform Pakistani society for the better in the long run.

 Violence is being used by the defenders of  a range of old feudal and tribal values in Pakistan. Some of the traditionalists are fighting to keep girls at home and out of schools and workplaces while others are insisting on continuing traditional arranged and sometimes forced marriages within their clans. Such violence is being met with brave defiance, particularly by the younger generation.

Sociologist Arif Hasan's Insights:

Media coverage of the attempt on Swat schoolgirl Malala Yosufzai's life by the Taliban has brought attention to what the tribal traditionalists see as a serious threat to their old feudal-tribal ways. In an October 2012 speech at a social scientists conference in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, Arif Hasan recalled what a village elder in Sindh told him about the reasons for the increase in honor killings. He said: “The young people, they’ve gone to the city, and they’ve done all the wrong things. The girls have learned how to read and write, they’ve gone to school, some of them have gone to university as well. They have no morals left, so this is bound to happen.”

When Hasan asked the village elder as to when will the honor killings stop? He replied: “The honor killings will stop when everyone becomes shameless, then it will end.” Then he added, “But I hope that I die before that day.”  Hasan says "he was a man of the old, feudal rural culture, with its own pattern of behavior and way of thinking. He was part of it, and it was dying, so he wished to die with it."

There was a news story this morning about young Pakistanis engaging in Internet dating and marriages. In 1992, the applications for court marriages in Karachi amounted to about 10 or 15, mainly applications from couples who were seeking the protection of the court for wedlock without familial consent, according to Arif Hasan. By 2006, it increased to more than 250 applications for court marriages per day in Karachi. Significantly, more than half of the couples seeking court recognition of their betrothal came from rural areas of Sindh. This is yet another indication of how the entire feudal system and its values are in rapid collapse.

Rapid urbanization , rising economic mobility  and media and telecom revolutions have been the key contributors to the process of social change in the country.   New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise described the rise of Pakistan's middle class in a story from Pakistani town of Muzaffargarh in the following words:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power. 
Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”

As early as 1998 when the last census was held, researcher Reza Ali  found that Pakistan was almost half urban and half rural, using a  more useful definitions of ‘urban’, and not the outdated definition  of the Census Organization which excludes the huge informal settlements in the peri-urban areas of the cities which are very often not part of the metropolitan areas.

A 2012 study of 22 nations conducted by Prof Miles Corak for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that upward economic mobility to be greater in Pakistan than the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, China and 5 other countries. The study's findings were presented by the author in testimony to the US Senate Finance Committee on July 6, 2012.

 Pakistan's media and telecom revolution that began during the Musharaf years is continuing unabated. In addition to financial services, the two key service sectors with explosive growth in last decade (1999-2009) in Pakistan include media and telecom, both of which have helped create jobs and empowered women. The current media revolution sweeping the nation began ten years ago when Pakistan had just one television channel, according to the UK's Prospect Magazine. Today it has over 100.  Pakistan is among the five most dynamic economies of developing Asia in terms of increased penetration of mobile phones, internet and broadband, according to the Information Economy Report,  2009 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). Among the five countries in terms of mobile penetration in South Asia, Pakistan is placed at number three followed by Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Iran and Maldives are ranked above Pakistan.

Here's how Arif Hasan concluded his Kathmandu speech:

 Pakistani society continues in its state of flux, and the Afghan war has escalated this. The normal evolution of society has been stopped by the militancy in Pakistan linked to the war in Afghanistan. If you remove these militants – which you won’t, by the way – then a whole new world emerges in Pakistan, a transformation in a society trying to define itself. The recent shooting of Malala Yusufzhai has shown what Pakistani society really feels and how it thinks on issues. For the first time the Pakistani establishment – the army as well as the three major political parties – have all condemned the Taliban for the shooting. The people have spoken in the huge rallies, in Karachi and elsewhere. Earlier, this never happened because people were scared of being shot, kidnapped, and having bombs thrown at them. This is the first time that there has been such a huge public outpouring.

But even as people find a voice, we do need the inculcation of new societal values. The problem is, how do you promote these values and through whom? It is too much to ask media, and academia is busy in consultancies for the donor institutions. The literature is all about the struggle between fundamentalism and liberalism, but that is not where the problem lies. The challenge is for Pakistani society to consolidate itself in the post-feudal era. The society has freed itself from the shackles of feudalism, but our values still remain very much the same. There are very big changes that are taking place – how do you support them, how do you institutionalize them, how do you give the people a voice? I leave you with these questions, rather than try and provide the answers.

 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Silent Social Revolution in Pakistan

Arif Hasan's Website

The Eclipse of Feudalism in Pakistan

Social and Structural Transformations in Pakistan

Malala Moment: Profiles in Courage-Not!

Urbanization in Pakistan Highest in South Asia

Rising Economic Mobility in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Obituary: In Memory of My Loving Mother Rafiqa Khatoon (1922-2016)

My sister and I and our families bid a tearful goodbye to my loving mother Rafiqa Khatoon (1922-2016) yesterday,  July 11, 2016. Our extended family and many of our friends joined us for her funeral service at the Islamic Society of East Bay and later burial at Five Pillars Muslim Cemetery.

Rafiqa Khatoon 1922-2016
Ammee, as my sister and I called her, was an extraordinary woman. She lived a long, fulfilling life of 93 years. She lived for others more than she lived for herself.

Ammee was a pious woman. She took care of her obligations to God and to His creation, giving equal importance to both Huqooq-ul-Allah (prayer, fasting, hajj) and Huqooq-ul-Ibad (welfare of fellow humans).  My late father often described her as one-person welfare foundation doing khidmat-khalq for all comers, regardless of relationship, race, ethnicity, or religion. If she were a man in Pakistan's male-dominated society, she would probably have become another Abdus Sattar Edhi.

Ammee was a great example for me, my children and others to follow. I hope her legacy of altruism continues to inspire us to live a life of service to others.

Rafiqa Khatoon was born on September 6, 1922 in Nagina, a small town in District Bijnor, UP, India. Her father Ahmad Saeed worked for the Nawab of Rampur as his office superintendent at the time of my mother's birth. He later joined the British civil service which he left when Gandhi started Quit India movement.

My mother married my father Zahoor ul Haq on February 28, 1944. It was an arranged marriage. My father was ten years her senior. He passed away in 1981. My parents chose to have a small family well before it became fashionable.  My sister and I are their only children.

Ammee made two migrations in her 93 years: First from her hometown Bijnor to Karachi after the partition of 1947 and second from Karachi to Silicon Valley, California. She spent about one-third of her life in each of the three countries: India, Pakistan, the United States. She is now buried in Livermore, California, a distant land thousands of miles away from where she started her life.

Ammee was home-schooled in the basic three R's (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetics) by a tutor hired by my nana. She received Islamic education from another tutor who helped her read and understand the Quran.

She remained an avid reader throughout her life. She read the Quran on a daily basis. She also read books and various magazines.  She saw very few movies but she loved to watch desi television soap operas from India and Pakistan.

Ammee saw meaning in her life as long as she could be of service to others. When she had difficulty walking, she first used a walker and then a wheelchair to continue to do whatever household chores she could. She found fulfillment in sewing, cooking and cleaning. She was always looking for something to do. She would not accept NO for an answer.

The onset of dementia after she turned 90 made life difficult for her. Instead of being of help to others, she became totally dependent on others' help to live. She spent the last 18 months of her life at a Fremont nursing home where doctors, nurses and other round-the-clock caregivers looked after her. This was not acceptable to her. Life had lost all meaning for her. Even though she couldn't communicate well in the last few months of her life, I could see that she had lost the desire to live.

I visited with her every day at the nursing home and sat with her for hours. I often took her out onto the patio to get fresh air and sunlight when the weather permitted. I usually took some of the home-cooked foods she liked and fed her with a spoon. In addition to spicy desi food, she also loved mangoes and kheer which I brought to her as desert.

She stopped eating in the last days of her life. She would close her lips tight when I tried to feed her. I could see in her eyes that she was willing and ready to meet her Creator. May her soul rest in eternal peace! Amen!!

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Tribute to Edhi

Huqooq-ul-Ibad in Islam

Edhi Lived and Breathed Huqooq-ul-Ibad

Partition of India: Furies of 1947

Muslims in Silicon Valley

Eid in Silicon Valley

Pakistani Diaspora

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tribute to Edhi; Advice to Indo-Pak Politicians; Eid in Silicon Valley

Who was Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi? What did he do that was so extraordinary for Pakistan and humanity? How do Pakistanis and the world see his life and legacy? How did Edhi show the world the real meaning Huqooq-ul-Ibad (human rights) in Islam? How best can the Pakistani people, politicians, bureaucrats, generals, and religious leaders keep alive the memory of Edhi?

How are the leaders of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan doing? What are their failings? What is the best advice one can offer to Nawaz Sharif, Narendra Modi, Ashraf Ghani, Asif Zardari, Altaf Husain, Imran Khan and Raheel Sharif?

 How many Muslims are there in Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area? How has their population grown in the last several decades? How many Pakistanis live in Silicon Valley? How do they celebrate Eid?

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

Tribute to Edhi; Advice to Indo-Pak Politicians; Eid in Silicon Valley from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Huqooq-ul-Ibad in Islam

Edhi Lived and Breathed Huqooq-ul-Ibad

Muslims in Silicon Valley

Eid in Silicon Valley

Risk Consultancy Assessment of Stability in Pakistan

Pakistani Diaspora

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Edhi's Life Showed the Meaning of Huqooq-ul-Ibad (Human Rights in Islam)

"There is no sight in Pakistan more moving than to visit some dusty, impoverished small town in an arid wasteland, apparently abandoned by God and all sensible men and certainly abandoned by the Pakistani state and its elected representatives - and to see the flag of Edhi Foundation flying over a concrete shack with a telephone, and the only ambulance in town standing in front. Here, if anywhere in Pakistan, lies the truth of human religion and human morality."  Anatol Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country

What Professor Anatol Lieven describes as "human religion and human morality" is the very essence of the Huqooq-ul-Ibad (Human Rights) in Islam. Abdus Sattar Edhi understood it well when he said, "there's no religion higher than humanity".

Edhi understood the meaning of what the Quran, the Muslim holy book, says in chapter 2 verse 177: "Righteousness is not that ye turn your faces towards the east or the west, but righteous is, one who believes in God, and the last day, and the angels, and the Book, and the prophets, and who gives wealth for His love to kindred, and orphans, and the poor, and the son of the road, beggars, and those in captivity; and who is steadfast in prayers, and gives alms."

Edhi's foundation served all in need.  When he was asked why he thought it was okay for his ambulances to pick up Christians and Hindus, he said, "Because my ambulance is more Muslim than you."

Edhi was 88 years old when he died Friday night in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. He had been ill for weeks, and had needed a new kidney, but he refused all offers to go abroad for treatment as Pakistan's elites often do.  Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently underwent heart surgery in a London hospital.

Edhi saw how the religious leaders of the Muslim majority in Pakistan focus mostly on Huqooq-ul-Allah (prayer, fasting, hajj, etc) while ignoring the equally important Huqooq ul Ibad (rights of fellow humans and all of Allah's creation).  He realized the urgent need to bring the two in better balance. He did so by caring for the poor and the needy who felt abandoned by the Pakistani state and society. "It is everyone's responsibility to take care of others, that's what being human means. If more people thought that way, so many problems could be solved," he reportedly told the BBC.

Edhi started his work with a single clinic in 1951. Then he established Edhi Foundation that is now the country's largest welfare organization. It runs schools, hospitals and ambulance services across the entire length and breadth of the country, including remote places where there's no sign of the state.

Edhi was everything Pakistan's leaders are not. He did not take money from the people to stash it away in foreign bank accounts. Unlike the country's politicians, bureaucrats and generals who take everything they can for themselves, Edhi gave everything he had or collected from the people to those who needed it most. Unlike the country's politicians, bureaucrats and generals who live extravagant lifestyles in luxurious mansions, Edhi was known for extreme austerity. He wore simple clothes and lived in very basic housing.

There has been great outpouring of glowing tributes to Edhi, including those from the nation's top leaders and politicians. Words are cheap. What's really needed is concrete action to emulate how Edhi cared for humanity. My hope is that the most selfish among Pakistanis will pause to assess their own lives and make a commitment to serve humanity as Edhi did.

Here's a related video discussion:

Tribute to Edhi; Advice to Indo-Pak Politicians; Eid in Silicon Valley from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Huqooq-ul-Ibad in Islam

Philanthropy in Pakistan

Panama Leaks Scandal

Misaq-e-Madina Guided Quaid-e-Azam's Vision of Pakistan

Interfaith Relations in Islam

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Top Risk Consultancy Sees Continuing Political Stability in Pakistan

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will survive Opposition's political challenges emanating from the Panama Leaks corruption allegations, according to an analysis by Eurasia Group, an international political risk consultancy that bills itself as "the world's largest political risk consultancy".

Eurasia Group's clients range from financial institutions to multinational corporations and government agencies. It has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., London, Tokyo, São Paulo, and San Francisco.

Coming on the heels of the Eurasia Group report is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upward revision of Pakistan's GDP forecast to 5% for the current fiscal year 2016-17.  Pakistan's ETF (PAK) is up about 15% this year, reflecting MSCI’s recent announcement that it will add the country to the MSCI Emerging Market index, according to Barron's, Wall Street Journal's sister publication.

In Eurasia Group's analysis of Pakistan, its South Asia specialist Christopher Cannell has written as follows:

 “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz party (PML-N) will remain in London until … the end of the month of Ramazan, recovering from heart surgery even as he faces fresh corruption allegations stemming from the Panama Papers. Yet while the mounting allegations will weaken Sharif’s political position at a time when he was not present to defend himself, he will continue to lead the PML-N and early elections are highly unlikely. …"

"The PML-N is likely to win the 2018 election with a reduced mandate … The contest to replace him will be complicated by corruption allegations against many main contenders within the PML-N, sparking worsening political instability after the election … Sharif’s … approval rating has experienced a non-negligible drop from 75% in October 2015 to 54% in June 2016, the only poll conducted after the leaks. However, Sharif’s political standing is grounded on the PML-N’s strength in parliament, the tacit support of the Army, and the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor – a set of infrastructure projects critical to Pakistan’s future economic performance—negotiated by Sharif and his PML-N. The PML-N remains the largest party in the lower house, and would not pass a motion of no-confidence in the PM, and it retains control of its Punjab heartland, the most populous area of Pakistan. …" 

Expectation of political stability is drawing increasing foreign investment to Pakistan. Two multinational giants acquired 2 Pakistani companies in just the last week alone as part of their growth strategy to establish presence in Pakistan.

Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina acquired 51 % of Karachi-based Engro Foods Limited, the second largest dairy producer in Pakistan. In the same week, Turkey's Arcelik announced purchase of Dawlance, Pakistan's market-leading home appliance maker.  Both cited opportunity for double-digit growth in the emerging market as the main reason for their acquisitions.

Smart money is starting to flow into Pakistan again as the world recognizes the country's new political stability and its tremendous economic potential as a growing emerging market.  Investors and businesses are looking to profit from expanding Pakistani economy backed by growing middle class consumption and rising Chinese investments in energy and infrastructure.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

China's Haier Expands Manufacturing in Pakistan

Japanese Multinationals Rank Pakistan Among Top Growth Markets

Chinese FDI in Pakistan For CPEC Projects

Pakistan Included in MSCI Emerging Market Index

Pakistan's Middle Class Grows to 55% of Population

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor (CPEC)

Pakistan Launches $8.2 Billion Rail Upgrade Project

Monday, July 4, 2016

Multinationals Snapping Up Pakistani Companies For Growth

Two multinational giants acquired 2 Pakistani companies in just the last week alone as part of their growth strategy to establish presence in Pakistan.

Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina acquired 51 % of Karachi-based Engro Foods Limited, the second largest dairy producer in Pakistan. In the same week, Turkey's Arcelik announced purchase of Dawlance, Pakistan's market-leading home appliance maker.  Both cited opportunity for double-digit growth in the emerging market as the main reason for their acquisitions.

Pakistan's Emerging Market Upgrade:

Earlier in June, Morgan Stanley announced its decision that Pakistan's MSCI shares index will be upgraded from frontier to emerging market status. Pakistan's Karachi Stock Exchange KSE100 Index has rallied 14% in 2016, making it Asia's best performing market so far this year in anticipation of the MSCI announcement.

Pakistan Dairy Market:

Pakistan is the third largest milk-manufacturing country in the world, with 38 billion liters on an annual basis, according to Retail Detail of Europe.  FrieslandCampina wants to take advantage of the shift to packaged dairy products in Pakistan: not even 10 % of milk consumption comes from processed and packaged milk in Pakistan, but FrieslandCampina expects that to change in the near future.

“Thanks to this well-organized and very successful company, we have obtained a strong position in the Pakistani dairy market. A growing middle class is switching to processed and packaged milk in Pakistan and Engro Foods provides a platform to build on. This acquisition will contribute to the value proposition we want to give our member dairy manufacturers. We will also help develop the agricultural industry in Pakistan with our extensive knowledge on the dairy manufacturing process and thanks to our Dairy Development Programme", CEO Roelof Joosten said.

To tap into the Pakistani market, FrieslandCampina is buying 51% of Engro Foods at an estimated price of $448 million, a securities filing said on Monday. Topline Securities said Engro Corporation will generate cash of around Rs. 47 billion, part of which will most likely be invested in energy-related projects with a higher rate of return, according to a report in  Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper.

Home Appliance Demand in Pakistan:

Pakistan's $3 billion home appliance market is experiencing double digit annual growth. It has attracted the attention of China's Haier, a multinational giant that recently acquired American General Electric's home appliance business.

Haier has 8 industrial complexes, two of which are foreign--one in the United States, and one in Pakistan,  according to  Xiaofei Li, the author of "China's Outward Foreign Investment: A Political Perspective". In these Special Economic Zones, Haier does localization to suit the needs of the consumers.  For Pakistani market, Haier especially designed a washer that can hold 15 long gowns at one time. There are many more such Special Economic Zones envisaged as part of the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).  It will be essentially an industrial corridor spanning almost the entire length of the country from the Arabia sea coast to the Karakorams where it enters China via the Karakoram Highway (KKH), the word's highest paved road.

Pakistan's privately-held Dawlance is also a major player in Pakistan's home appliance market. It is Pakistan's leading refrigerator and microwave brand, No. 2 air conditioners and No. 3 in the laundry category. In  2015, it reported $221 million in revenue and $45 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), according to Nikkei Asian Review.

“Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world with a population of 200 million people. In particular its young population and increasingly growing economy make it an enticing prospect as a market in the region. With the acquisition of Dawlance in Pakistan, Arçelik will employ a total workforce of 30,000 worldwide and will have a global production base of 18 manufacturing facilities including Turkey, Romania, Russia, China, South Africa and Thailand. Our acquisition is also a powerful example of south-south cooperation, representing a technology and know-how transfer between developing countries,” said Fatih Ebiçlioğlu, the head of the Consumer Durables Group of Koç Holding that controls Arcelik, according to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News.


Smart money is starting to flow into Pakistan again as the world recognizes the country's tremendous economic potential as a growing emerging market.  Investors and businesses are looking to profit from expanding Pakistani economy backed by growing middle class consumption and rising Chinese investments in energy and infrastructure.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

China's Haier Expands Manufacturing in Pakistan

Japanese Multinationals Rank Pakistan Among Top Growth Markets

Chinese FDI in Pakistan For CPEC Projects

Pakistan Included in MSCI Emerging Market Index

Pakistan's Middle Class Grows to 55% of Population

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor (CPEC)

Pakistan Launches $8.2 Billion Rail Upgrade Project

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Terror in Bangladesh & Turkey; India’s Curry & Dal Crises; Pakistani Mangoes in America

Who terrorized Dhaka and Istanbul? Why were these cities targeted by terrorists? Is terror spreading farther and wider after recent foreign military interventions to check ISIS in Syria? Have mistakes by Muslim nations' governments contributed to the growing wave of terror? Can military force alone end it? If not, what else needs to be done? What kind of comprehensive strategy is needed?

Why is India suffering from curry and dal crises? Why are prices of dal, tomatoes. potatoes and other essential foods rising rapidly in India? What is Modi government doing to increase supply and ease rising food inflation in the country? What are its chances of success in short and long term?

Why are Pakistani mangoes becoming more easily and widely available in America? Are Pakistan mango exports finally ramping up? What took so long for Pakistani mangoes to arrive in significant quantities in Silicon Valley? Can 6 million strong Pakistani diaspora's demand drive greater Pakistani exports of mangoes and food other items?

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

Terror in Bangladesh & Turkey; India's Curry... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Terror in Bangladesh & Turkey; India's Curry & Dal Crises; Pakistani Mangoes in America from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Did the West Sow the Seeds of ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

Dal Crisis in South Asia

Pakistani Mangoes in America

Pakistani Diaspora

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel