Thursday, January 31, 2019

Moody's Expects Pakistan's New Mini Budget to Foster Exports and Import Substitution

Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minster Imran Khan has inherited large twin deficits. The new "mini budget" announced by Finance Minister Asad Umar "will support Pakistan’s manufacturing sector, fostering exports and import substitution, and help narrow the current-account deficit",  says a January 31, 2019 report by Moody's investor service.  The report adds that the tax incentives given to manufacturing and exports-oriented industries "will keep Pakistan’s budget deficits wider for longer, potentially eroding the credibility of government efforts to achieve fiscal consolidation."


Pakistan Mini Budget Announced January 23, 2019. Source: Shajar Capital

Here's an excerpt of Moody's report on the immediate downsides of the measures announced by Umar on January 23, 2019: “We expect the deficit to widen to 6% of GDP in fiscal 2019 because revenue growth is likely to be below government projections, given slower economic growth and the new revenue-based incentives, before gradually narrowing to 5% of GDP by fiscal 2021 as the economy picks up. While we believe the government remains committed to fiscal consolidation, a wider for longer deficit could raise questions over the credibility of its fiscal policy."

Remittances from Pakistan diaspora rose by 10% year on year to $10.71 billion in the first half of fiscal 2019, while goods imports slowed sharply to around 3% year on year as non-energy imports contracted.

Moody's expects "the current-account deficit to narrow to 4.7% of GDP in fiscal 2019 and to 4.2% in fiscal 2020 from 6.1% in fiscal 2018, it will remain sizable and wider than in 2013-16, driving Pakistan’s external financing needs. The government has secured $12 billion in financing from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in each case amounting to $6 billion and divided equally between deposits and deferred oil payments – which is likely to largely cover the country’s net financing needs for fiscal 2019".

Beyond fiscal 2019, however, a net financing gap remains large because of the still sizable current-account deficit. Pakistan remains in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a new program that would provide a stable additional source of external financing, as well as technical support and assistance on macroeconomic rebalancing and structural reform policies.

On fiscal deficit front, the report warns that “there is a greater risk of fiscal slippage and slower fiscal consolidation in the absence of further revenue-raising measures. Pakistan’s revenue base was a narrow 15.4% of GDP in fiscal 2018, which ended June 2018.”

Related Links:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Part 2: History of Top Leadership Blunders in Pakistan

What are the key sources of the current crises faced by Pakistan? Can any of these be traced to blunders committed years ago by Pakistani leaders? Here's part 2 of the discussion started earlier.

Was it a blunder for General Zia to join the United States and Saudi Arabia in support of the Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union in 1980s?  Did it help achieve Pakistan's objective of weakening the Pashtun Nationalists led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan's son Abdul Wali Khan who opposed the creation of Pakistan?  What if Pakistan had not supported the Afghan Resistance in 1980s? Did it promote militarization of religious fanatics in Pakistan? Was it a mistake for Benazir Bhutto to give birth to the Taliban?

Was General Musharraf's seizure of Kargil heights in 1999 in Kashmir a blunder? How was it different from India's seizure of Siachen Glacier from Pakistan in 1984? If these were similar actions, why was India's and the world's reaction so different?  Coming soon after Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Lahore visit and the signing of the Lahore Declaration, how did Kargil change the course of India-Pakistan history?

Did Kargil lead to the 1999 Coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?  Did Sharif err by firing General Musharraf while he was representing Pakistan overseas and then denying landing permission to  the PIA commercial flight brining General Musharraf home?  Was the coup staged by General Pervez Musharraf or the Pakistan Army Corps Commanders while he was still in the air? Did Nawaz Sharif's failure to manage civil-military relations contribute to his problems and the coup?

Did Musharraf blunder by siding with the United States after Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks in America? What was the alternative? How would the US react if Musharraf had refused to cooperate? Would the porous Afghan-Pakistan border allow Pakistan to be a silent observer?

Azad Labon Ke Sath host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/grLQJa-QygA




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

US Aid to Pakistan

1971 Debacle in East Pakistan

Is it 1971 Moment in Pakistan's History?

Mission RAW by RK Yadav: India in East Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto Gave Birth to Taliban

What if Musharraf Had Said No to US After 911?

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Sunday, January 20, 2019

History of Top Leadership Blunders in Pakistan Part 1

What are the key sources of the current crises faced by Pakistan? Can any of these be traced to blunders committed years ago by Pakistani leaders?

Pakistan's Gen AK Niazi Signing Surrender in East Pakistan

Was it a blunder for Pakistan's founders to align with the United States early on? What was the alternative for a nascent cash-strapped state that faced imminent economic collapse? Who other than the United States had the deep pockets to help Pakistan in 1947 when the Soviet Union, Europe and Japan lay in ruins at the end of WW II? Would the construction of big dams and irrigation system in Pakistan have happened without the US help? Would the Green Revolution have come about if the US did not help?
US Aid in 66 Years

Was the passage of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 among the blunders of Pakistan's early leaders? Did it distract from framing an inclusive and unifying constitution of the nation-state? Did it promote religious discrimination and extremism in the country? Was the 2nd amendment to the 1973 Constitution declaring Ahmedis non-Muslims a logical consequence of it?

Did the failures of Pakistan's political class open the doors for military coups starting with the 1958 coup led by General Mohammad Ayub Khan? How did the military coups led by General Yahya Khan, General Zia ul Haq and General Pervez Musharraf impact Pakistan? Could these coups have been avoided?

What led to the loss of Pakistan's eastern wing and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971? Was it a political failure or a military failure? Was it orchestrated by India with the help of Shaikh Mujib ur Rehman starting with Agartala Conspiracy in 1960s? Was it a blunder for Gen Zia to join the United States and Saudi Arabia in support of the Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union in 1980s? Did it promote militarization of religious fanatics in Pakistan? Was it a mistake for Benazir Bhutto to give birth to the Taliban?

Did Musharraf blunder by siding with the United States after Sept 11, 2001 terror attacks in America? What was the alternative? Would the porous Afghan-Pakistan border allow Pakistan to be a silent observer?

Azad Labon Ke Sath host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/EbIf11W89JI




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

US Aid to Pakistan

1971 Debacle in East Pakistan

Is it 1971 Moment in Pakistan's History?

Mission RAW by RK Yadav: India in East Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto Gave Birth to Taliban

What if Musharraf Had Said No to US After 911?

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pakistan Garment Industry Becoming More Cost Competitive With Bangladesh's?

Low wages and trade deals with Western nations have helped Bangladesh build a $30 billion ready-made garments (RMG) industry that accounts for 80% of country's exports. Bangladesh is the world's second largest RMG exporter after China. With its designation as LDC (Least Developed Country), garments made in Bangladesh get preferential duty-free access to Europe and America. Rising monthly wages of Bangladesh garment worker in terms of US dollars are now catching up with the minimum wage in Pakistan, especially after recent Pakistani rupee devaluation. Minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has declined from $136 last year to $107 now while Bangladesh has seen it increase from $64 last year to $95 today.  Western garment buyers, known for their relentless pursuit of the lowest labor costs, will likely diversify their sources by directing new investments to Pakistan and other nations. Competing on low cost alone may prove to be a poor long term exports strategy for both countries.  Greater value addition with diverse products and services will be necessary to remain competitive as wages rise in both countries.


Minimum Monthly Wages in US$ Market Exchange Rate


Wage Hike in Bangladesh:

The government in Dhaka announced in September that the minimum wage for garment workers would increase by up to 51% this year to 8,000 taka ($95) a month, up from $64 a year ago, according to Renaissance Capital. But garment workers union leaders say that increase will benefit only a small percentage of workers in the sector, which employs 4 million in the country of 165 million people, according to Reuters.  Bangladesh government promised this week it would consider demands for an increase in the minimum wage, after clashes between police and protesters killed one worker and wounded dozens.

Monthly Minimum Wages in US$. Source: Renaissance Capital

Pakistan Wage Decline:

Pakistani currency has seen about 25% decline in value against the US dollar since January 2018. As a result of this devaluation, the minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has dropped from $136 last year to $107 now while Bangladesh has seen it increase from $64 last year to $95 today. Renaissance Capital projects a further 10% depreciation in Pakistani rupee this year.

Race to the Bottom? 

Competing on cost alone is like engaging in the race to the bottom. Neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh can count on being lowest cost producers in the long run. What must they do to grow their exports in the future? The only viable option for both is to diversify their products and services and add greater value to justify higher prices.

Pakistan's Export Performance:

The bulk of Pakistan's exports consist of low value commodities like chadar, chawal and chamra (textiles, rice and leather). These exports have declined from about 15% to about 8% of GDP since 2003. Pakistan's trade deficits are growing at an alarming rate as the imports continue to far outstrip exports. This situation is not sustainable.  What must Pakistan do to improve it? What can Pakistan do to avoid recurring balance of payments crises?  How can Pakistan diversify and grow its exports to reduce the gaping trade gap? How can Pakistan's closest ally China help? Can China invest in export oriented industries and open up its huge market for exports from Pakistan? Let's explore answers to these question. 

Exports as Percentage of GDP. Source: World Bank
East Asia's Experience:

East Asian nations have greatly benefited from major investments made by the United States and Europe in export-oriented industries and increased access to western markets over the last several decades. Asian Tigers started with textiles and then switched to manufacturing higher value added consumer electronics and high tech products. Access to North American and European markets boosted their export earnings and helped them accumulate large foreign exchange reserves that freed them from dependence on the IMF and other international financial institutions. China, too, has been a major beneficiary of these western policies. All have significantly enhanced their living standards.

Top 10 Textile Exporters. Source: WTO


Chinese Investment and Trade:

Pakistan needs similar investments in export-oriented industries and greater access to major markets. Given the end of the Cold War and changing US alliances, it seems unlikely that the United States would help Pakistan deal with the difficulties it faces today.

China sees Pakistan as a close strategic ally. It is investing heavily in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). A recent opinion piece by Yao Jing, the Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan, published  in the state-owned China Daily, appears to suggest that China is prepared to offer such help. Here are two key excerpts from the opinion piece titled "A community of shared future with Pakistan":

1. China will actively promote investment in Pakistan. The Chinese government will firmly promote industrial cooperation, expand China's direct investment in Pakistan, and encourage Chinese enterprises to actively participate in the construction of special economic zones. Its focus of cooperation will be upgrading Pakistan's manufacturing capacity and expanding export-oriented industries.

2. China will also actively expand its imports from Pakistan. In November, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where, as one of the "Chief Guest" countries, Pakistan has been invited to send a large delegation of exporters and set up exhibitions at both the national and export levels. It is hoped that Pakistan will make full use of this opportunity to promote its superior products to China. The Chinese side will also promote cooperation between the customs and quarantine authorities of both countries to facilitate the further opening-up of China's agricultural product market to Pakistan. China will, under the framework of free trade cooperation between the two countries, provide a larger market share for Pakistani goods, and strengthen cooperation and facilitate local trade between Gilgit-Baltistan and China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. And China will take further visa facilitation measures to encourage more Pakistani businesspeople to visit China.

Top 10 Garment Exporters. Source: WTO

Pakistan's Role:

Pakistan needs to take the Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing's offer to increase Chinese investments and open up China's market for imports from Pakistan.  Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan should take immediate steps to pursue the Chinese offer. Finance Minister Asad Umar needs to form a high-powered team of top bureaucrats and leading businessmen to develop a comprehensive plan to attract investments in export-oriented industries and diversify and grow exports to China and other countries. Pakistan must make full use of its vast network of overseas diplomatic missions to promote investment and trade. 

Summary:

Pakistani currency has seen about 25% decline in value against the US dollar since January 2018. As a result of this devaluation, the minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has dropped from $136 last year to $107 now while in Bangladesh has seen it increased from $64 last year to $95 today. Renaissance Capital projects a further 10% depreciation this year.  While this can help Pakistan's RMG exports in the short term, it is not good long term strategy. Competing on cost alone  is a race to the bottom. Pakistan's manufactured exports per capita have declined in the last decade. Pakistan's exports have declined from about 15% of GDP to about 8% since 2003. The nation's trade deficits are growing at an alarming rate as the imports continue to far outstrip exports. This situation is not sustainable. Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing has offered a helping hand to increase Chinese investment and trade in Pakistan.   Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan should take the Chinese Ambassador's plan seriously. Finance Minister Asad Umar needs to form a high-powered team of top bureaucrats and leading businessmen on a comprehensive plan to attract investments in export-oriented industries and diversify and grow high-value exports to China and other countries.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pakistani Mini Invasion of China?

Mid-1960s America saw a phenomenon called the "British Invasion". Anecdotal evidence suggests similar phenomenon, albeit on a smaller scale, is occurring in China with about 100,000 Pakistanis arriving there in recent years. While the growing presence of the Chinese in Pakistan gets a lot of press, there has been relatively little coverage of the movement of people in the other direction---from Pakistan to China. Jalil Shaikh, a Pakistani-American tech executive in Silicon Valley, has observed this phenomenon during his frequent visits to Jiangsu province in China. Jalil is often welcomed as "iron brother" by the people he meets during his stays in China.

Pakistanis in Changzhou, China
Pakistanis in Changzhou:

Jalil saw anecdotal of evidence of "Pakistani invasion" of China in the city of Changzhou in Jiangsu province. Changzhou has a population of about 5 million people which makes it a medium size city by Chinese standards. Changzhou is an educational hub and is home to several universities, including Changzhou University, Hohai University (Changzhou campus), Jiangsu Teachers' University of Science and Technology, Jiangsu Teachers' University of Technology, and Changzhou Institute of Technology. It attracts a large number of foreign students mainly from countries participating in China's BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project of BRI.  There are an estimated 22,000 Pakistani students studying in China. A significant fraction of these students receive Chinese government scholarships to study in the country.



Pakistani Restaurant in Changzhou, China


Pakistanis in Beijing:

Jalil has also travelled to the Chinese capital Beijing for business. During one such trips, he stayed at Oak Chateau hotel where he met dozens of Pakistanis working as engineers. They work as IT engineers at German automakers BMW and Mercedes whose Beijing offices are located just across the street from this hotel.

Food and Music at Changzhou Restaurant: 

On a visit to Changzhou last year, Jalil ate at MandS Restaurant,  a Pakistani restaurant in the city of Changzou. He met its Pakistani owner and several young Pakistanis attending universities there. He learned that here are scores of Pakistanis in Changzou and most of them are reachable on a WeChat  group. WeChat is a ubiquitous smartphone application similar to WhatsApp that serves as both mobile messaging and payment platform. Owned by Chinese social media giant TenCents, WeChat competes with China's e-commerce behemoth Alibaba's Alipay in mobile payments space which has rapidly grown in China.  Jalil joined the Pakistani WeChat group in Changzhou and invited its members to dinner and Karaoke singing at MandS Restaurant. About 40 Pakistanis, mostly students, showed up. Many of the Changzhou Pakistanis, including girls, are from families living in small towns and villages in Pakistan. Many get fully funded scholarships with full tuition, room and board as well as a monthly stipend of 1,700 RMB for Master's degree students and 2,000 RMB for PhD candidates. China gets the benefit of the research work and publications produced by them.

Spinal Injury:

A Pakistani girl who had recently arrived had a serious mishap soon after arrival from her village near Multan. She slipped and fell. The fall caused serious spinal injuries requiring hospitalization and surgery. This occurred before her medical coverage started. The hospital demanded payment of RMB 35,000 which is equivalent to US$5,000. Pakistanis helped raise $4,000 and Jalil made up the difference to cover the unfortunate girl's medical expenses.

Muslims in Changzhou:

A large number of Muslims call Changzhou home. There are 5 mosques in the city.  Jalil has had the opportunity to attend Friday prayers at packed mosques in the city.  MandS Restaurant owner offered free meals to over 200 Muslims as part of Eid Milad un Nabi (Prophet Mohammad SAW's birthday)celebration last year.

China-Pakistan Ties:

Pakistan-China ties are rapidly growing well beyond the economy and the military with tens of thousands of Chinese and Pakistani citizens regularly traveling between the two countries.

More Pakistanis than ever are learning the Chinese language. China with its world class educational institutions is emerging as one of the top destinations for Pakistanis studying abroad. China-Pakistan relationship is becoming a truly multi-dimensional strategic relationship.   This new phenomenon is the subject of a Pakistani spice company television commercial featuring a young Chinese woman in Lahore making the popular biryani dish using Shan masala.

China's Strides in Science and Technology:

Why is China becoming a fast growing destination for foreign students, including Pakistanis studying abroad? A story in India's "The Wire" online magazine has explained it in terms of the rapid rate of China's progress in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields as follows:

America's National Science Foundation and National Science Board have recently released their biennial science and engineering indicators which provide detailed figures on research and development (R&D), innovation and engineers. But its true message is in a different direction, “China has become,” concludes Robert J. Samuelson in a column, “or is in the verge of becoming – a scientific and technical superpower. This is not entirely unexpected given the size of the Chinese economy and its massive investments in R&D, even so, he says, “the actual numbers are breathtaking”.

1. China is the 2nd largest spender in R&D after the US, accounting for 21% of the world total which is $2 trillion. It has been going up 18% a year, as compared to 4% in the US. An OECD report says that China could overtake the US in R&D spending by 2020.

2. China has overtaken the US in terms of total number of science publications. Technical papers have increased dramatically, even if their impact, as judged by citation indices, may not be that high.

3. The US continues to produce more PhDs and attract more foreign students. But new international enrollment at US colleges was down for the first time in the decade in 2017. The Trump administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric and actions are scaring away students.

4. China has begun shifting from being an assembler of high-tech components, to a maker of super computers and aircraft and given the pattern of its investments in RandD and technology development, it is focusing on becoming the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum communications, quantum computing, biotechnology and electric vehicles.

Summary:

While the growing presence of the Chinese in Pakistan gets a lot of press, there has been relatively little coverage of the movement of people in the other direction---from Pakistan to China. Pakistan-China ties are rapidly growing well beyond the economy and the military with tens of thousands of Chinese and Pakistani citizens regularly traveling between the two countries. Jalil Shaikh, a Pakistani-American tech executive in Silicon Valley, has observed this phenomenon during his frequent visits to Jiangsu province in China. Jalil is often welcomed as "iron brother" by the people he meets during his stays in China.  More Pakistanis than ever are learning the Chinese language.  China with its world class educational institutions is emerging as one of the top destinations for Pakistanis studying abroad. It is becoming a truly multi-dimensional relationship which will help Pakistan rise with China on the world stage.

Here's a video clip of Karaoke Dinner in Changzhou, China:

https://youtu.be/2YSnDGtVjsk




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rapid Growth of China-Pakistan Educational, Scientific and Cultural Ties 

China-Pakistan Strategic Ties

US and China Compete For Influence in Pakistan

China-Pakistan Defense Tech Cooperation Irks West

Pakistan-Russia-China vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Falling? Myth Vs Reality

Facts and Myths About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

China Emerges as Top Destination for Pakistanis Studying Abroad

Sec Hagel: India Using Afghanistan to Launch Attacks in Pakistan

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes Against Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel



Saturday, January 5, 2019

Global Cyber Arms Race Heating Up?

The United States has launched successful cyber attacks against Iran and North Korea in recent years, according to multiple credible reports. These cyber attacks have caused physical destruction of thousands of Iranian nuclear centrifuges and disrupted North Korean missiles on launchpads or shortly after takeoff. Some of the code and developer tools used in the attacks have leaked out. These leaks are enabling other nations to learn and develop their own offensive cyber weapons. The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to exploit and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016. Similar warfare techniques, described by the US RAND Corporation as New Generation or Hybrid Warfare, are probably being deployed by other nations as well. It refers to the use of a broad range of subversive instruments, many of which are nonmilitary, to further a country's national interests. It wouldn't be far-fetched to think that India and Pakistan are learning from New Generation Warfare techniques developed and deployed by technologically advanced nations.

US-Israel Joint Stuxnet Against Iran:

A large number of  Iranian centrifuges suddenly started to blow up around 2008-9 soon after President Barack Obama's inauguration. The mystery was finally resolved in the summer of 2010  when a computer worm later named Stuxnet escaped Iran’s Natanz plant and spread around the world on the Internet.

New York Times' David Sanger reported that the United States and Israel developed Stuxnet and then tested it by building replicas of the Iranian Natanz plant equipped with Pakistani P-1 centrifuge designed in 1980s. Americans obtained P-1 centrifuges from Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi and dismantled them to learn how it worked. P-1 uses a Siemens controller S7-417. Stuxnet inserted malware in the Siemens controller to suddenly change the centrifuge speed which caused its destruction.  It was designed to attack computers with specific configuration of Siemens S7-417 controller. Here's how New York Times' David Sanger described the test results:

"After several false starts, it worked. One day, toward the end of Mr. Bush’s term, the rubble of a centrifuge was spread out on the conference table in the Situation Room, proof of the potential power of a cyberweapon. The worm was declared ready to test against the real target: Iran’s underground enrichment plant."

US Left-of-Launch Attack Against North Korea:

A very high percentage of North Korean missile launches failed in the period from 2015 to 2017. The missiles either blew up on the launchpads or failed soon after launch. These failures are widely attributed to American cyber attacks.

American strategists see Left-of-Launch cyber weapons as a low-cost extension of their missile defense strategy. Gen. James Dickinson, the chief of Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command, explains it as follows:

“You’ve probably heard the conversation about how we’re on the wrong side of the cost curve for missile defense many times. We’re utilizing multi-million-dollar interceptors against very inexpensive missiles and those types of threats, So it’s a balance. It has to be a balance between the end game, if you will, where we’re relying on an interceptor to defeat the threat and other approaches."

Russia's Information Warfare in US, UK:

The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to exploit and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016.

American and British intelligence officials believe Russia used all major social media platform to spread words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump. Similar allegations have been made by the British government about Russian interference to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote in the U.K.

Facebook, Google and Twitter acknowledged in 2017 that they had identified Russian interference on their sites. The companies have responded to the threat — Facebook, in particular, created a “war room” in 2018 to fight interference around elections — but none has revealed interference around US midterm elections in 2017 on the same scale as in 2016.

Cyber Weapons Code and Tools Leaks:

Stuxnet worm and recently leaked NSA's hacking tools by Shadow Brokers have revealed the extent of US intelligence agencies' cyber spying and hacking operations. Symantec's Liam O'Murchu who was among the first to unravel Stuxnet says it is "by far the most complex piece of code that we've looked at — in a completely different league from anything we’d ever seen before." It is almost certain that the code is being reverse-engineered and repurposed as their weapon by cyber warriors in many countries around the world.

In 2013, a group known as "Shadow Brokers" leaked NSA's sophisticated cyberweapons that have exposed major vulnerabilities in Cisco routers, Microsoft Windows, and Linux mail servers.  Soona after the Shadow Brokers leak, North Korea is believed to have developed and used WannaCry ransomware. It encrypts files on the target PC's hard drive, making them inaccessible, then demands a ransom payment in bitcoin to decrypt them.

Summary:

American agencies have launched successful cyber campaigns against adversaries like  Iran and North Korea in recent years, according to multiple credible reports. These cyber attacks have caused physical destruction of thousands of Iranian nuclear centrifuges and disrupted North Korean missiles on launchpads or shortly after takeoff. Some of the code and developer tools used in the attacks have leaked out. These leaks are enabling other nations to learn and develop their own offensive cyber weapons. The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to cause and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016. Similar warfare techniques, described by the US RAND Corporation as New Generation or Hybrid Warfare, are probably being deployed by other nations as well. It refers to the use of a broad range of subversive instruments, many of which are nonmilitary, to further a country's national interests. It wouldn't be far-fetched to think that India and Pakistan are learning from New Generation Warfare techniques developed and deployed by technologically advanced nations.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Clarivate Analytics Lists 6 Pakistanis and 10 Indians Among World's Top 4000 Scientists

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it.  Clarivate's citation analysis identifies influential researchers as determined by their peers around the globe – those who have consistently won recognition in the form of high citation counts over a decade. The Web of Science serves as the basis for the regular listings of researchers whose citation records position them in the top 1% by citations for their field and year.

Highly Cited Researchers (HCR): 

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it. This year's Highly Cited Researchers list includes 17 Nobel Laureates. It represents more than 60 nations, but more than 80% of them are from the 10 nations and 70% from the first five – a remarkable concentration of top talent. Here are the top 10 nations in order:  United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, France, Switzerland and Spain.
Most Highly Cited Pakistani Scientists. Source: Clarivate Analytics


The United States leads among HCRs with 2,639 scientists followed by the United Kingdom's 546 and China's 482.  Top three institutions producing world's most highly cited researchers are: Harvard University (186), National Institutes of Health (148) and Stanford University (100).  Chinese Academy of Sciences ranks 4th with 99 highly cited researchers.

Research Output Growth: 

Pakistan is one of the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018, according to Nature Magazine. The publication reports that the "global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high this year...with emerging economies rising fastest".

Countries With Biggest Rises in Research Output. Source: Nature


Pakistan ranked first or second depending  on whether one accepts the text or the graphic (above) published by Nature.  The text says Egypt had 21% growth while the graph shows Pakistan with 21% growth. Here's an excerpt of the text: "Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21% and 15.9%, respectively. ...China’s publications rose by about 15%, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8% compared with 2017".

Scientific Output:

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Top 10 Pakistan Institutions in Scientific Output. Source: Nature Index
Pakistan's Global Ranking:

Pakistan ranks 40 among 161 countries for quality adjusted scientific output for year 2017 as reported by Nature Index 2018.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36. US leads with almost 15,800, followed by China's 7,500, Germany 3,800, UK 3,100 and Japan 2,700.

Nature Index:

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Pakistan vs BRICS:

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Top Asian Universities:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.

In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.

Summary:

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR). There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it.  Pakistan is among the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018. Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (WFC) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36.  In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.   British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.

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