Sunday, October 29, 2017

Tillerson in South Asia; Ghamidi in Silicon Valley; Dysfunction in Washington

What were the objectives of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent tour of the Middle East and South Asia? Specifically, what did he intend to achieve in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan? Does US have a broader strategy other than just squeezing Pakistan to end the war in Afghanistan? What about the role of Iran, India and Russia in Afghanistan? How does China see US threats to Pakistan? Does China really see Pakistan as its Israel as US analyst Andrew Small has said in his book "China-Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics"?

Photos of Bagram Base Meeting Released By Afghans (Left, no digital clock)) and Americans (Right, Military clock)

What is Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's mission? What are his positions on the role of Islamic state in implementing Shariah? What does he think of the 2nd amendment of the Pakistan constitution that declares Ahmadis as non-Muslim? What are his views on blasphemy laws in Pakistan? What does he say about Hadiths? Do these positions rank him among the most progressive Islamic scholars in the world today? Is he out of step with the vast majority of mainstream Islamic scholars? How much following does he have? Does he have any chance to succeed in changing the minds of the majority of Muslims who are tired of violence in the name of Islam?

Talk4Pak Team With Ghamidi Sahib in Silicon Valley

Why is there so much dysfunction in Washington? Is President Donald Trump responsible for this chaos in the US capital? Is it impacting the effectiveness of both the executive and the legislative branches of the US government? Does Trump have a coherent foreign policy? How is it affecting America's ability to solve major foreign and domestic issues?

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gwadar: The Next Shenzhen? 

Ghamidi in Silicon Valley

Pakistan's Cards in Negotiating With Trump Administration

Malaysia's Ex-PM Mahathir Stirs up Hadith Controversy

Riaz Haq's Sermon on Interfaith Relations

Misaq e Madina Inspired Quaid e Azam's Vision of Pluralist Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Ramadan Sermon

Alam vs Hoodbhoy: Clash of Ideas in Islam

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Kashmiris Observe Black Day While India Promotes Half Truths on UNSC Resolutions

The people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) observed Black Day on the 70th anniversary of India's brutal Army occupation, yesterday, the 27th of October 2017. This comes amid continuing attempts by India and its supporters, including Professor Christine Fair, to justify Indian occupation with half truths about UN Security Council Resolutions calling on India to let the Kashmiris decide their future through a plebiscite.

Indians allege that Pakistan violated the UNSC Resolution 47 (1948) calling for a plebiscite by refusing to withdraw its military from the territory of the state. What they don't acknowledge is that it was superseded by UNSC Resolution 80 (1950) that called for progressive demilitarization on both sides of the ceasefire line to limit the deployment of the number of Indian and Pakistani troops as determined by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan.

Here's an excerpt of UNSC Resolution 80 passed in March, 1950:

"Calls upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to make immediate arrangements, without prejudice to their rights or claims and with due regard to the requirements of law and order, to prepare and execute within a period of five months from the date of this resolution a programme of demilitarisation on the basis of the principles of paragraph 2 of General McNaughton proposal or of such modifications of those principles as may be mutually agreed"

Here's the text of paragraph 2 of General McNaughton's proposal to UNSC:

"There should be an agreed programme of progressive demilitarisation, the basic principle of which should be the reduction of armed forces on either side of the Cease-Fire Line by withdrawal, disbandment and disarmament in such stages as not to cause fear at any point of time to the people on either side of the Cease-Fire Line. The aim should be to reduce the armed personnel in the State of Jammu and Kashmir on both side of the Cease-Fire Line to the minimum compatible with the maintenance of security and of local law and order, and to a level sufficiently low and with the forces so disposed that they will not constitute a restriction on the free expression of opinion for the purposes of the plebiscite."

On the "Northern Areas" through which China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes, the Norton proposal referred to by UNSC Resolution 80 gives Pakistani authorities the right to administer it until there is a plebiscite under UN supervision. It ays as follows:

"The "Northern Area" (including Gilgit-Baltistan region through which CPEC asses) should also be included in the above programme of demilitarisation, and its administration should, subject to United Nations supervision, be continued by the existing local authorities (Pakistani authorities)."

In a book titled "United Nations Security Council and War: The Evolution of Thought and Practice since 1945", authors Vaughan Lowe, Adam Roberts, Jennifer Welsh and Dominik Zaum explain it as follows:

"(After passing UNSC Resolution 80 of March 14, 1950, calling for progressive demilitarization based on reduction of forces on either side of the CFL) UN Representative Frank P. Graham proposed a twelve point demilitarization plan on 4 September 1952. However, there was disagreement over the specific number of forces to remain on each side of CFL (Ceasefire Line) at the end of the period of demilitarization--between 3,000 and 6,000 on the Pakistan side and 12,000-18,000 on the Indian side. The subsequent proposals on demilitarization by Swedish diplomat Gunnar Jarring also came to naught. At the same time, India began to harden its position on the UN-supervised plebiscite which it had committed to following the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Pakistani side of the CFL "

It's clear from the details described above of what transpired after UNSC Resolution 80 that "India began to harden its position on the UN-supervised plebiscite which it had committed to following the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Pakistani side of the CFL (Ceasefire Line)".

India's brutal military occupation of Kashmir today is not only illegal but also immoral. It violates multiple UNSC resolutions on Kashmir and makes a mockery of the pledge made by one of India's founding fathers and first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the people of Kashmir and to the world.

Here's Indian Jawaharlal University telling students in Delhi that Jammu and Kashmir are legally not part of India:

"Everyone knows that India is illegally occupying Kashmir. It is said the world over. Everybody accepts (it)....The map of India in foreign publications like Time and Newsweek show a different map of Kashmir. These copies of the magazines always create a lot of controversies and are censored and destroyed. When the whole world is talking about India's illegal occupation of Kashmir, then we should think the pro-azaadi (pro freedom) slogans in the valley are justified"

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Christine Fair: Unfair? Unhinged?

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

1965 India-Pakistan War

2016 Kashmir Uprising

Kashmir in Context

Arundhati Roy on Indian Military Occupation of Kashmir

JNU Anti-Modi Protests

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Will Gwadar Grow to Become a Major Metropolis Like Shenzhen?

"We believe Gwadar is following in the footsteps of Shenzhen which represented a historic population rise, from a population of 30,000 in 1980 to 11 million people in 2017. Gwadar is poised to see massive population growth due to incoming industries, and we expect this to be one of the most strategic cities in South Asia." Hao-Yeh Chang,  China Pak Investments Corporation

Gwadar: The Next Shenzhen?

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traffic grew by 23% last year, according to Anna Aero publication.  A new international airport is now being built in Gwadar to handle soaring passenger and cargo traffic.

Recent Aerial View of Gwadar Hammerhead Growth

Gwadar Property Boom:

The volume of Gwadar property searches surged 14-fold on Pakistan’s largest real estate database,, between 2014 and 2016, up from a prior rate of a few hundred a month. “It’s like a gold rush,” said Chief Executive Zeeshan Ali Khan to an Express Tribune newspaper reporter. “Anyone who is interested in real estate, be it an investor or a developer, is eyeing Gwadar.”

Chinese private investment company China Pak Investment Corporation has recently announced it is acquiring 3.6 million square foot International Port City project in Gwadar. It plans to develop a $150 million gated community to handle the influx of 500,000 Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2022.

China Pak Investment Announcement:

On October 20, 2017, Pakistan's Geo TV news reported that China Pak Investment Company plans to increase its commitment to  invest $500 million in Gwadar in the first phase of a project aimed at building homes for around 500,000 incoming Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2023. An earlier September 29, 2017 press release by China Pak Investment Corporation said as follows:

"The final master plan for China Pak Hills is currently being refined in Hong Kong, and will feature a range of state-of-the-art amenities including an open-air shopping boulevard; indoor shopping mall; restaurants and eateries; an international school and nursery; six community parks; indoor and outdoor sports facilities including tennis courts and a resident's gymnasium; a water desalination plant and recycling centre. China Pak Hills will also be home to the Gwadar Financial District, catering to the growing financial sector and adding much needed A Grade office space to Gwadar's growing market."

Gwadar Port Development:

Gwadar port's planned capacity when it is completed will be 300 to 400 million tons of cargo annually.  It is comparable to the capacity of all of India's ports combined annual capacity of 500 million tons of cargo today.   It is far larger than the 10-12 million tons cargo handling capacity planned for Chabahar.

To put Gwadar's scale in perspective, let's compare it with the largest US port of Long Beach which handles 80 million tons of cargo, about a quarter of what Gwadar will handle upon completion of the project. Gawadar port will be capable of handling the world's largest container ships and massive oil tankers.

Gawadar port is being built in Pakistan by the Chinese as part of the ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will eventually serve as Hong Kong West for  growing Chinese trade with the Middle East and Europe.  CPEC will also enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan to trade with Central Asia through China across China's borders with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

India's Strong Opposition: 

Pakistan suspects that India's real objective in Afghanistan and Iran is to locate its intelligence agents under the cover of Chabahar port construction workers to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and support Baloch insurgency to destabilize Pakistan. These suspicions were strengthened when Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, operating under the fake name Husain Mubarak Patel, was arrested in Balochistan in March, 2016. Yadav confessed he was operating as an undercover RAW agent from his base in Chabahar, Iran. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no secret of his strong opposition to CPEC and his support for Baloch insurgents.

Chinese Commitment to Pakistan: 

Unlike US-Pakistan ties that have been essentially of a transactional nature, Pakistan-China relationship appears to truly strategic.  A recent book "The China Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics" by American policy analyst Andrew Small quotes a top Chinese official as saying to his American counterparts that "Pakistan is China's Israel". Earlier, in 2011, some news reports quoted Chinese officials as warning that "any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China".  Growing Chinese investment commitments in Pakistan now exceed $100 billion, a further indication of the importance China attaches to Pakistan as one of its closest allies.


China-Pakistan ties appear to be truly strategic.  The strength of Chinese commitment to Pakistan is increasing with growing investments in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related projects. It is now highly visible in terms of the influx of the Chinese money and citizens into Pakistan. China's actions on the ground reinforce the credibility of Chinese officials' reported quotes describing Pakistan as "China's Israel" and warnings to the United States that "any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China".

Related Links:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Islamic Scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi in Silicon Valley

Pakistan's pre-eminent Islamic scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi sahib recently visited San Francisco Bay Area as part of his tour of the United States in October, 2017. Viewpoint From Overseas host Ali Hasan Cemendtaur had a conversation with him at his hotel to ask some questions. Here are some of the key points that emerged from this interview:

Riaz Haq (R) with Ghamidi sahib (L)
1. Islamic state:

How can a state be Islamic state? The states we have today are nation-states that are defined by territorial boundaries, not by religion or color or ethnicity.  All of the inhabitants of a nation-state are its citizens with equal rights. Pakistan is a nation-state. Nation-states are governed by the majority of their citizens with their will expressed through a political and electoral process.

2. Ahmadiyya:

The state has no business deciding who is a Muslim and who is not.

3. Blasphemy:

There is nothing Islamic about blasphemy laws. You can not force people to respect your religion or your prophet at gun-point.

Viewpoint From Overseas Team with Ghamidi sahib

4. Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Weapons of mass destruction are immoral. Islam prohibits attacking non-combatants in war. Use of weapons that destroy civilians, schools and hospitals is a war crime.

5. Sectarianism:

Sectarianism is rooted in ignorance. Dividing people along sectarian lines is wrong.

6. Interfaith Marriages:

There are no restrictions on interfaith marriages as long both the man and the woman reject "shirk" (polytheism).

7. Istikhara:

Istikhara is merely a prayer to ask Allah for guidance in making important life decisions.

8. Hadith:

After the formal recorded interview concluded, I asked Ghamidi sahib about the authenticity of the Hadiths. He said Hadiths are a historical record, and like any history it is subject to constant investigation to establish its authenticity.


Javed Ahmad Ghamidi sabib is among the most progressive scholars of Islam in the world today.

If religious reform ever comes to Pakistan, it’ll be because of people like Ghamidi sahib, not from “secular liberals” who attack Islam and Pakistan on a daily basis.

 I know from personal knowledge that Ghamidi sahib's message resonates with a lot of ordinary people in Pakistan who are tired of the violence committed by a small minority in the name of Islam.

Ghamidi sahib has a lot of following in Pakistan and it’s growing by the day through both mainstream and social media. His being away from Pakistan for most of the year to do his job does not seem to have hurt his efforts at bringing about reform.

Here's the recorded video interview:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Malaysia's Ex-PM Mahathir Stirs up Hadith Controversy

Riaz Haq's Sermon on Interfaith Relations

Misaq e Madina Inspired Quaid e Azam's Vision of Pluralist Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Ramadan Sermon

Alam vs Hoodbhoy: Clash of Ideas in Islam

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pakistani Academia's Growing Interest in Decolonizing Minds

There is increasing recognition in Pakistan and other nations colonized in the past by the West of the need to "decolonize knowledge" and to deal with the entrenched "injustices inherited" from colonial masters. Language is being recognized as a "library of ideas" essential for creation and transmission of knowledge in former colonies.

Habib University Conference:

Habib University, Pakistan's leading liberal arts institution of higher learning, is leading the way forward with "Postcolonial Higher Education Conference (PHEC)", an annual conference held each year at the university's Karachi campus since 2014. The conference attracts scholars from around the world.

This year’s PHEC's theme was “Inheritance of Injustice” to highlight the results of historical injustices seen today in many facets across the world, from economic and ecological to geo-political, according to a report in Newsline Magazine.  The conference featured top global academics from South Asia, Africa, the US and the UK.

The keynote at this year's conference was delivered by Dr. Mwangi wa Githinji professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Dr. Githinji discussed how “inherited economic, social, language and ecological structures have transmitted colonial injustice into the present.”

He suggested that “development still is understood in a deficit model based on dualities with the aim to move countries to be more like the ‘modern’ and ‘industrialized’ world” and called for education systems to also break out of their post-colonial inheritance to indigenizing systems in which “language is a library of ideas and telling a story allows us to create our own histories.”

Answering questions at the conference Professor Githinji said “liberal arts and sciences education allows us to become knowledge creators rather than just consumers. Part of this process requires a rethinking of our history, even before colonialization. Telling of a story is the creation of a memory.”

South African scholar Dr. Suren Pillay of the University of the Western Cape who also attended the conference said that the “intellectuals must struggle to decolonize knowledge, by not taking progress and civilization at face value, but by telling more multiple and messy stories that co-constitute the story of the modern state.”

Education to Colonize Minds:

Dr. Edward Said (1935-2003), Palestine-born Columbia University professor and the author of "Orientalism",  described it as the ethnocentric study of non-Europeans by Europeans.  Dr. Said wrote that the Orientalists see the people of Asia, Africa and the Middle East as “gullible” and “devoid of energy and initiative.” European colonization led to the decline and destruction of the prosperity of every nation they ruled. India is a prime example of it. India was the world's largest economy producing over a quarter of the world's GDP when the British arrived. At the end of the British Raj, India's contribution was reduced to less than 2% of the world GDP.

In his "Prison Notebooks", Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist theorist and politician, says that a class can exercise its power not merely by the use of force but by an institutionalized system of moral and intellectual leadership that promotes certain ideas and beliefs favorable to it.  For Gramsci "cultural hegemony" is maintained through the consent of the dominated class which assures the intellectual and material supremacy of the dominant class.

In "Masks of Conquest", author Gauri Viswanathan says that the British curriculum was introduced in India to "mask" the economic exploitation of the colonized. Its main purpose was to colonize the minds of the natives to sustain colonial rule.

Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o in his book "Decolonizing the Mind" talks about the "culture of apemanship and parrotry" among the natives trained by their colonial masters to maintain control of their former colonies in Africa. He argues that "the freedom for western finance capital and for the vast transnational monopolies under its umbrella to continue stealing from the countries and people of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Polynesia is today protected by conventional and nuclear weapons".

Cambridge Curriculum in Pakistan:

The colonial discourse of the superiority of English language and western education continues with a system of elite schools that uses Cambridge curriculum in Pakistan.

Over 270,000 Pakistani students from elite schools participated in Cambridge O-level and A-level International (CIE) exams in 2016, an increase of seven per cent over the prior year.

Cambridge IGCSE exams is also growing in popularity in Pakistan, with enrollment increasing by 16% from 10,364 in 2014-15 to 12,019 in 2015-16. Globally there has been 10% growth in entries across all Cambridge qualifications in 2016, including 11% growth in entries for Cambridge International A Levels and 8 per cent for Cambridge IGCSE, according to Express Tribune newspaper.

The United Kingdom remains the top source of international education for Pakistanis.  46,640 students, the largest number of Pakistani students receiving international education anywhere, are doing so at Pakistani universities in joint degree programs established with British universities, according to UK Council for International Student Affairs.

At the higher education level, the number of students enrolled in British-Pakistani joint degree programs in Pakistan (46,640) makes it the fourth largest effort behind Malaysia (78,850), China (64,560) and Singapore (49,970).

Teach Critical Thinking:

Pakistani educators and policy makers need to see the western colonial influences and their detrimental effects on the minds of youngsters. They need to promote liberal arts education and to do serious research to create knowledge. They need to improve learning by helping students learn to think for themselves critically. Such reforms will require students to ask more questions and to find answers for themselves through their own research rather than taking the words of their textbook authors and teachers as the ultimate truth.


There is increasing recognition in Pakistan and other nations colonized in the past by the West of the need to "decolonize knowledge" and to deal with the entrenched "injustices inherited" from the colonial masters.  Part of this post-colonial conversation is to stop being uncritical consumers of knowledge and narratives produced by the West and to encourage creation of local knowledge in the former colonies. This is a positive welcome trend toward real decolonization in Asia and Africa that I hope gathers serious momentum with more liberal arts centers of learning like the Karachi-based Habib University in the near future.

Here's an interesting discussion of the legacy of the British Raj in India as seen by writer-diplomat Shashi Tharoor:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Day: Freeing the Colonized Minds

Alam vs Hoodbhoy

Inquiry Based Learning

Dr. Ata ur Rehman Defends Higher Education Reform

Pakistan's Rising College Enrollment Rates

Pakistan Beat BRICs in Highly Cited Research Papers

Launch of "Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program"

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Impact of Industrial Revolution

Hindutva: Legacy of British Raj

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mohanlal Bhaskar: An Indian RAW Agent in Pakistan

Mohanlal Bhaskar was working undercover for Indian intelligence agency RAW when he was arrested in a counter-intelligence operation by Pakistan. He remained in Pakistani jails from 1967 to 1974.  He and dozens of his fellow Indian spies were released as part of a prisoner exchange with India following the signing of the Simla Accord by Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Mohanlal Bhaskar: An Indian Spy in Pakistan

In a 1983 autobiographical book titled "An Indian Spy in Pakistan", Bhaskar says that he took on a false identity as Mohammad Aslam and had himself circumcised to operate as a Pakistani Muslim on behalf of Indian intelligence in Pakistan. The book was originally written in Hindi as "Main Pakistan Mein Bharat Ka Jasoos Tha" and later translated into English by Jai Ratan.
Bhaskar's mission was to gather intelligence on Pakistan's nuclear program when he was betrayed by Amrik Singh, a double agent who worked for both Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Bhaskar narrates his treatment as a prisoner in several detention and interrogation centers and his trial on charges of espionage. He met some very kind jailers and fellow Pakistani inmates in some places but he also recounts instances of hate and torture he suffered during his detentions at some facilities. From his account, the treatment he was given depended on the individuals he encountered rather than a systemic policy.

Bhaskar claims that he met former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during his time as a prisoner at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail. Bhaskar also says that Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman was in  Mianwali jail while he was held there. He boasts about the Indian Air Force jets bombing Pakistan Air Force base at Mianwali and rendering it inoperable during 1971 war.

Bhaskar's book appears to have been vetted and its contents influenced by the Indian intelligence. It particularly shows through when he reflects Indian government's party line and blames Pakistan for India-Pakistan conflict. He blames Pakistan for the 1971 hijacking of an Indian aircraft "Ganga". It has now been acknowledged by an ex RAW official R.K. Yadav that the hijackers posing as Kashmiri militants were in fact Indian agents.

The author shows his bigotry when he suggests that the actions of the Pakistani criminals he met were representative of the Pakistani society at large. He quotes a fellow Indian prisoner Sohan Lal as claiming that "of all the countries of Asia, homosexuality is most prevalent in Pakistan." At another place in the book, the author talks about General Yahya Khan's mistress "General Rani" and says "woe to the country whose rulers and husbands can be so perverse".

Upon his return to India as part of prisoner exchange after Simla Agreement, Bhaskar talks about how hard it was for him to find a job. He is particularly bitter about how little his government cared for him and his fellow spies who gave the most productive years of their lives in service of their country. Bhaskar is particularly incensed by the response of Prime Minister Morarji Desai whom he asked for help. He recalls Desai telling him: " Why should we suffer for your mistakes committed in Pakistan. Do you mean to say that if Pakistan had kept you in jail for twenty years then our government should compensate you for the same number of years?" It's a chilling message to  all Indian spies undertaking dangerous undercover missions in other countries.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan? 

1971 India-Pakistan War

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Indian Agent Kubhushan Yadav's Confession

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, October 15, 2017

Diwali in Silicon Valley

Brightly colored festival gift displays at major retail stores and poor air quality in Silicon Valley are reminding Indian-Americans this year of Diwali celebrations at home.

Big box retailers like Costco know their customers. Merchandizers working for them are stocking up their local Silicon Valley stores with products most in demand before Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, to cater to a sizable population of Indian-Americans in the Valley.  A variety of Indian mithais (sweets) and spicy snacks are on display at major mainstream retail stores that are competing with the traditional Indian supermarkets for business. Stores like Costco are now also carrying raw or prepared daals, rice, vegetables, flour, naans and chapatis.

Diwali Gift Display at a Silicon Valley Costco

Adding to the ambiance is the particulate matter from multiple major forest fires in the San Francisco Bay Area that are still not under control after several days of fire fighting.  Tragically, the fires have so far claimed 40 precious lives and many are still missing. The air quality in the Bay Area has also suffered. The Bay Area air with PM2.5 of 155 micrograms per cubic meter is now being compared to what Indians in Delhi (153 micrograms per cubic meter) have to breathe in normal times and it gets a lot worse during Diwali fireworks.

Bay Area Air Quality on October 14, 2017 During California Fires

Delhi is not alone; Other cities in India claim 13 spots among the top 20 dirties cities in the world. Not far behind  Delhi's 153 micrograms is another Indian city, Patna with 149 micrograms. Other Indian cities among the world's dirtiest are: Agra (88 ug/m3), Allahabad (88 ug/m3), Ahmedabad (100 ug/m3), Amritsar (92 ug/m3), Firozabad (96 ug/m3), Gwalior (144 ug/m3), Khanna (88 ug/m3), Kanpur (93 ug/m3), Lucknow (96 ug/m3), Ludhiana (91 ug/m3) and Raipur (134 ug/m3).  Pakistani cities of Karachi (117 ug/m3), Peshawar (111 ug/m3) and Rawalpindi (107 ug/m3) also count among the world's most polluted.

India's pollution problems are not entirely due to poorly controlled industry and transport. The early winter problems are significantly exacerbated by the burning of the fields by farmers after harvest.

With a score of just 3.73 out of 100, India ranks as the worst country for the ill effects of toxic air pollution on human health among 132 nations, according to a report presented at the World Economic Forum 2012. India's neighbors also score poorly for toxic air pollution, but still significantly better than India. For example China scores 19.7, followed by Pakistan (18.76), Nepal (18.01) and Bangladesh (13.66).

In the overall rankings based on 22 policy indicators, India finds itself ranked at 125 among the bottom ten environmental laggards such as Yemen, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iraq while Pakistan ranks slightly better at 120. The indicators used for this ranking are in ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, boidiversity, and forest management.

These rankings are part of a joint Yale-Columbia study to index the nations of the world in terms of their overall environmental performance. The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Columbia's Center for International Earth Science Information Network have brought out the Environment Performance Index rankings every two years since 2006.

The Yale-Columbia study confirms that environmental problems in South Asia are growing rapidly. The increasing consumption by rapidly growing population is depleting natural resources, and straining the environment and the infrastructure like never before. Soil erosion, deforestation, rapid industrialization, urbanization, and land and water degradation are all contributing to it.

It's important to remember that Bhopal still remains the worst recorded industrial accident in the history of mankind. As India, Pakistan and other developing nations vie for foreign direct investments by multi-national companies seeking to set up industries to lower their production costs and increase their profits, the lessons of Bhopal must not be forgotten.

It is the responsibility of the governments of the developing countries to legislate carefully and enforce strict environmental and safety standards to protect their people by reversing the rapidly unfolding environmental degradation. Public interest groups, NGOs and environmental and labor activists must press the politicians and the bureaucrats for policies to protect the people against the growing environmental hazards stemming from growing consumption and increasing global footprint of large industrial conglomerates.

There will be severe health consequences for all Indians unless the Modi government acts to legislate and regulate various sources of pollution in the country. Pakistan government, too, needs to act to prevent severe harm to public health by rising pollution.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Diwali in Delhi

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley

Eid Celebration in Silicon Valley

India's Air Most Toxic

Pak Entrepreneur Recycles Trash into Energy and Fertilizer

Bhopal Disaster

Environmental Pollution in India

Rising Population, Depleting Resources

India Leads the World in Open Defecation

Heavy Disease Burdens in South Asia

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pakistan Meat Industry Experiencing Strong Growth

Pakistan per capita meat consumption has nearly tripled from 11.7 kg in 2000 to 32 kg in 2016. It is projected to rise to 47 kg by 2020.

Rising Incomes and Meat Consumption:

Pakistan's per capita meat consumption has nearly tripled from 11.7 kg in 2000 to 32 kg in 2016. It is projected to rise to 47 kg by 2020, according to a paper published by the United States National Library of Medicines at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Organization for Economic Development (OECD) explains that meat demand increases with higher incomes and a shift - often due to growing urbanization - to food preferences that favor increased proteins from animal sources in diets.

Meat Production in Pakistan. Source: FAO

The NIH paper authors Mohammad Shoaib and Faraz Jamil point out that Pakistan's meat consumption of 32 Kg per person is only a third of the meat capita meat consumption in rich countries like Australia and the United States.

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Nature magazine reports that Pakistanis are among the most carnivorous people in the world.  After studying the eating habits of 176 countries, the authors found that average human being is at 2.21 trophic level. It put Pakistanis at 2.4, the same trophic level as Europeans and Americans. China and India are at 2.1 and 2.2 respectively.

Increasing Meat Exports: 

Pakistan's meat exports are growing about 30% a year, up from $29 million in 2005 to $243.5 million in 2015, according to report in

Pakistan Meat Exports. Source: Express Tribune

Rapid growth in meat production and exports is supported by an ongoing livestock revolution in the country.  The Pakistani livestock sector now contributes about 56.3% of the value of agriculture and nearly 11% to the overall gross domestic product. Milk is the single most important commodity in this sector.

Future Growth:

“In the next three to five years, livestock sector should grow 4-5% per annum and its contribution to GDP looks set to remain in double digits”, says a senior official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research according to Dawn newspaper. In FY16, livestock growth was 3.6% and its 11.6% contribution to GDP value-addition.


While the global meat industry provides food and a livelihood for billions of people, it also has significant environmental and health consequences for the planet. The key is moderation in meat consumption to maintain good health and protect the environment.


Pakistan's per capita meat consumption has nearly tripled since 2000. It has grown with higher per capita incomes and increasing urbanization.  Meat exports are also accelerating at a rate of 30% a year. Meat consumption and exports are supported by an ongoing livestock revolution in the country.  The Pakistani livestock sector now contributes about 56.3% of the value of agriculture and nearly 11% to the country's overall gross domestic product. Milk is the single most important commodity in this sector.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Meat and Dairy Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistanis Are Among the Most Carnivorous

Eid ul Azha: Multi-Billion Dollar Urban-to-Rural Transfer

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Agriculture Value Addition

Median Incomes in India and Pakistan

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pakistani Hindu Women Ride High On Thar Development Wave

As the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl today, the Thar development boom is empowering Pakistani Hindu women with jobs in nontraditional occupations ranging from engineering to truck driving, according to multiple media reports. These pioneering women will hopefully be a source of inspiration for young girls.

Thar Development:

Thar, one of the least developed regions of Pakistan, is seeing unprecedented development activity in energy and infrastructure projects.  New roads, airports and buildings are being built along with coal mines and power plants as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There are construction workers and machinery visible everywhere in the desert. Among the key beneficiaries of this boom are Thari Hindu women who are being employed by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) as part of the plan to employ locals. Highlighted in recent news reports are two Hindu women in particular: Kiran Sadhwani, an engineer and Gulaban, a truck driver.

Kiran Sadhwani, a Thari Hindu Woman Engineer. Source: Express Tribune

Thar Population:

The region has a population of 1.6 million. Most of the residents are cattle herders. Majority of them are Hindus.  The area is home to 7 million cows, goats, sheep and camel. It provides more than half of the milk, meat and leather requirement of the province. Many residents live in poverty. They are vulnerable to recurring droughts.  About a quarter of them live where the coal mines are being developed, according to a report in The Wire.

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters

Some of them are now being employed in development projects.  A recent report talked of an underground coal gasification pilot project near the town of Islamkot where "workers sourced from local communities rested their heads after long-hour shifts".

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters 

In the first phase, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is relocating 5 villages that are located in block II.  SECMC is paying villagers for their homes and agricultural land.

SECMC’s chief executive officer, Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, says his company "will construct model towns with all basic facilities including schools, healthcare, drinking water and filter plants and also allocate land for livestock grazing,” according to He says that the company is paying villagers above market prices for their land – Rs. 185,000 ($ 1,900) per acre.

Hindu Women Employment:

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), the largest contractor working in Thar desert coal project, has committed itself to hiring locals wherever possible.

When SECMC launched its Female Dump Truck Driver Program near the town of Islamkot in Thar,  Kiran Sadhwani, a female engineer, visited several villages to motivate women to apply for the job and empower themselves, according to Express Tribune newspaper. “Not all women who are working as dumper drivers are poor or in dire need of money. It is just that they want to work and earn a living for themselves and improve the lives of their families,” she told the paper.

SEMC is hiring 30 women truck drivers for its Thar projects, according to Dawn newspaper.


As the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl today, it's good to see the Thar development boom empowering Pakistani Hindu women with jobs in nontraditional occupations ranging from engineering to truck driving. These pioneering women will inspire and empower young girls to pursue their dreams in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Working Women Seeding a Silent Revolution in Pakistan

Thar Development Boom in Pakistan

Abundant, Cheap Coal Power for Pakistan

Fact-Checking Farahnaz Ispahani's Claims on Pakistani Minorities

Pakistani Hindu Population Fastest Growing in the World

Recurring Droughts in Pakistan

Thar Drought: Pre-cursor to Dust Bowl in Pakistan?

Campaign of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt About CPEC

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Khawaja Asif in US; China in Doklam; LV Mass Shooting; Pak Civil-Military Ties

What was the objective of Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif's visit to Washington? How was he received there? How did his meetings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster go? What is the crux of the case he presented to the United States Institute of Peace?

Is Nawaz Sharif's corruption prosecution in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court inspired by the Pakistani military? Is it really civil-military tensions or just a distraction tactic used by PMLN to discredit serious corruption charges against their leaders? Is PMLN using street power and legislation to try to intimidate the judges and the generals to rehabilitate Nawaz Sharif after his disqualification by the Supreme Court? Why does Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif oppose PMLN's confrontational stance against the judiciary and the military?

Is there a way to prevent recurrence of frequent mass shootings after recent history's worst ever mass shooting incident in Las Vegas, Nevada? Will the United States Congress and state legislatures act to put limits on the kind of guns available for sale? Will there be any new gun control measures like the ones Australia implemented after its last mass shooting in 1996?

Has China resumed road building with deployment of more troops in Doklam? Is it not embarrassing for India's Modi government after they claimed China had blinked in the Doklam standoff in Bhutan? What will happen next?

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Khwaja Asif Defends Pakistan's Policy at the US Institute of Peace

Nawaz Sharif's Rallies Against Judiciary and Military

US Gun Violence, Islamophobia and Terrorism

China-India Standoff at Doklam, Bhutan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Talk4Pak Think Tank

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Khwaja Asif Defends Pakistan Policy at USIP in Washington D.C.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif was a featured speaker at an event organized by Washington-based think tank USIP (United States Institute of Peace) where he was interviewed by Dr. Moeed Yusuf. The topics of discussion ranged from US-Pakistani relations and President Donald Trump's new Afghan policy to Pakistan's ties with Afghanistan and India.

Foreign Minister Asif with Dr. Moeed Yusuf at USIP in Washington

Here are some of the key Points made by Mr. Asif at this event held in Washington D.C. on Oct 5, 2017:

1. US funded, armed and trained militants to fight the Soviets in 1980s as part of the Cold War, then walked away without helping to rehabilitate them and left it to Pakistan to deal with them.

2. Pakistan does want to deal with these militants who are a liability for the country. Pakistan is working on finding the best way to do it.

3. US domestic politics prevents action on gun violence but Washington expects Pakistan to demolish all militant groups overnight.

4. India has 66 banned armed groups engaged in insurgency all over India. Only 4 linked to Pakistan.

5. Indian government's data shows over 36,000 infiltration attempts in India occupied Kashmir in 2001 and only 30 this year.

6. Ex US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan".

7. Gen Petraeus said at a RUSI presentation in 2016 that while he served as Centcom commander and then CIA chief, he saw no convincing evidence of Pakistan's support for Haqqanis.

8. Pakistan rejects US Defense Secretary Mattis' statement about working with Pakistan "one more time". Such talk is offensive to Pakistan and not conducive to cooperation with US.

9. The US has already lost the war in Afghanistan and now trying to salvage what it can from it. Further mistakes by US could force the Taliban and ISIS to get together and create a much bigger threat for Pakistan, the region and the West.

10. Indian Air Force Chief has threatened to carry out "surgical strikes" against Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. If that were to happen, don't expect any restraint from Pakistan.

Here's a video of the US Institute of Peace event featuring Khwaja Asif:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump's Afghan Strategy

Who are the Haqqanis?

US Gun Violence, Islamophobia and Terrorism

700,000 Indian Troops vs 10 Millon Kashmiris

Secretary Hagel on India Using Afghanistan Against Pakistan

Gen Petraeus Says No Evidence of Pakistani Support For Haqqanis

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan?

Are Russia and Iran Supporting the Afghan Taliban? 

What if Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Kautilya's Doctrine Dominates India's Pakistan Policy

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saran on India-Pakistan Ties; Gen Mattis in India; Tourism in Pakistan

What does former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran say about ties with Pakistan in his recent book "How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century"? Why have "low-hanging fruit" issues between India and Pakistan like Siachin and Sir Creek not been resolved? Whose fault is it? Who in India torpedoed solutions agreed with Pakistan at the last minute? Why does ancient Indian thinker Kautilya, regarded as the Indian Machiavelli, dominate foreign policy thinking in India with regard to Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Why did US Defense Secretary General James Mattis go to India? What was his agenda relative to India's role in Afghanistan and cementing US-India defense ties? Why does Indian security analyst Prof Bharat Karnad say that India "severing relations with TTP will mean India surrendering an active card in Pakistan and a role in Afghanistan as TTP additionally provides access to certain Afghan Taliban factions"? Did Mattis ask India to stop supporting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist activities against Pakistan as Karnad anticipated?

Is the US Federal Government response to widespread destruction after Hurricane Maria in US territory of Puerto Rico adequate? Why is the mayor of San Juan so angry? Why is she being attacked by President Trump for demanding faster relief operations? Why did it take more than a week for the US to assign a military general to oversee disaster relief in Puerto Rico? Was President Trump too busy attacking the NFL players taking the knee during the playing of the US national anthem?

How is tourism industry doing in Pakistan? How has the improved security situation and better infrastructure positively impacted tourism in Pakistan? What are latest figures released by WTTC, the World Travel and Tourism Council, for Pakistan? How much does the industry contribute to Pakistan's GDP? What is its potential over the next decade? How does it help promote goodwill for Pakistan?

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Kautilya Doctrine Dominates India's Pakistan Policy

India-Pakistan Tensions: Who's at Fault? 

Bharat Karnad on Indian Support of TTP Against Pakistan

Pakistan Travel and Tourism Boom

Trump's White House

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel