Monday, December 28, 2020

India's "Firehose of Falsehood" Propaganda Model Targets Pakistan

India with its massive disinformation campaign against Pakistan, as recently revealed by EU Disinfo Lab, appears to be following what a US think tank RAND calls "Firehose of Falsehood" propaganda model. It has over 750 fake media outlets covering 119 countries. There are over 750 domain names, some in the name of dead people and others using stolen identities. Pakistani policymakers charged with countering the Indian propaganda should read the RAND report "Firehose of Falsehoods" for its 5 specific recommendations to the US government to effectively respond to the Russian disinformation campaign. In particular they should heed its key advice: "All other things being equal, messages received in greater volume and from more sources will be more persuasive.......Don't expect to counter Russia's firehose of falsehood with the squirt gun of truth. Instead, put raincoats on those at whom the firehose is aimed" 

Scale and Duration of India's Campaign:

EU Disinfo Lab, an NGO that specializes in disinformation campaigns, has found that India is carrying out a massive 15-year-long disinformation campaign to hurt Pakistan. The key objective of the Indian campaign as reported in "Indian Chronicles" is as follows: "The creation of fake media in Brussels, Geneva and across the world and/or the repackaging and dissemination via ANI and obscure local media networks – at least in 97 countries – to multiply the repetition of online negative content about countries in conflict with India, in particular Pakistan".  After the disclosure of India's anti-Pakistan propaganda campaign, Washington-based US analyst Michael Kugelman tweeted: "The scale and duration of the EU/UN-centered Indian disinformation campaign exposed by @DisinfoEU is staggering. Imagine how the world would be reacting if this were, say, a Russian or Chinese operation".  

American Analyst Michael Kugelman's Tweet on Indian Disinformation Campaign


Firehose of Falsehood:

What Kugelman calls "Russian Operation" appears to be a reference to a US government-funded think tank RAND Corporation's report entitled "The Russian "Firehose of Falsehood" Propaganda Model". Here is an except of the RAND report:

"Russian propaganda is produced in incredibly large volumes and is broadcast or otherwise distributed via a large number of channels. This propaganda includes text, video, audio, and still imagery propagated via the Internet, social media, satellite television, and traditional radio and television broadcasting. The producers and disseminators include a substantial force of paid Internet “trolls” who also often attack or undermine views or information that runs counter to Russian themes, doing so through online chat rooms, discussion forums, and comments sections on news and other websites".

EU Disinformation Lab Report on India's Disinformation Campaign Against Pakistan

Indian Political Unity Against Pakistan:  

Former US President Barack Obama has observed that “Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”.  The Indian disinformation campaign is a manifestation of Indians' political unity against Pakistan.  EU Disinfo Lab has found that Indian Chronicles is a 15-year-long campaign that started in 2005 on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's watch, well before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election to India's highest office in 2014. It has grown to over 750 fake media outlets covering 119 countries. There are over 750 domain names, some in the name of dead people and others using stolen identities.  Here is an excerpt of EU Disinfo Lab's report:

"The creation of fake media in Brussels, Geneva and across the world and/or the repackaging and dissemination via ANI and obscure local media networks – at least in 97 countries – to multiply the repetition of online negative content about countries in conflict with India, in particular Pakistan". 

RAND's Recipe:  

Traditional countermeasures are ineffective against "firehose of falsehoods" propaganda techniques. As researchers Christopher Paul and Miriam Mathews of RAND put it: "Don't expect to counter the firehose of falsehood with the squirt gun of truth." They suggest:

1. Repeating the counter-information 

2. Providing an alternative story to fill in the gaps created when false "facts" are removed 

2. Forewarning people about propaganda, highlighting the ways propagandists manipulate public opinion. 

3.  Countering the effects of propaganda, rather than the propaganda itself; for example, to counter propaganda that undermines support for a cause, work to boost support for that cause rather than refuting the propaganda directly 

5. Turning off the flow by enlisting the aid of Internet service providers and social media services, and conducting electronic warfare and cyberspace operation

Summary: 

India with its massive disinformation campaign against Pakistan appears to be following what a US think tank RAND calls "Firehose of Falsehoods". Pakistani policymakers charged with countering the Indian propaganda should read the RAND report "Firehose of Falsehoods" for its 5 specific recommendations to the US government to effectively respond to the Russian disinformation campaign. In particular they should heed its key advice: "All other things being equal, messages received in greater volume and from more sources will be more persuasive.......Don't expect to counter Russia's firehose of falsehoods with the squirt gun of truth. Instead, put raincoats on those at whom the firehose is aimed" 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Bhutto Dynasty: How the Bhuttos Used Money For Political and Personal Gain

The role of money in elections and politics is generally known and understood around the world. Pakistan is no exception. In a recent book entitled "The Bhutto Dynasty" written by veteran British journalist Owen Bennet Jones, the author describes how former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto saw "kickbacks" as an essential part of politics. Jones says that  the "amnesty she (Benazir Bhutto) secured from General Musharraf scuppered a Swiss trial in which there was a very high chance she would have been convicted of, among other things, using money from bribes to buy a necklace worth $175,000". 

The Bhutto Dynasty:

Owen Bennet Jones has described in some detail how Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto saw the role of money in Pakistani politics. Here's an excerpt of Benazir's candid admission that "kickbacks must be taken":

"In a surprisingly unguarded interview with the American Academy of Achievement in 2000 she (Benazir Bhutto) said, while denying personal involvement, that she wished she had done more to tackle corruption: ‘We all knew kickbacks must be taken . . . these things happen.’Politicians everywhere, she argued, made money. The difference was that while Western politicians did so after they left office, their counterparts in the developing world did not have that option".


Asif Zardari-Benazir Bhutto Wedding Picture


Jones offers several specific instances of how the Bhuttos used money for political gain. One such instance was when Benazir Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari helped her defeat a no-confidence motion that appeared to be all but certain to remove her from power. Here are the relevant excerpts of the book:

"Having seen politics close up when her father was in power, Benazir had long been aware that money played a part in Pakistani politics. But now it could not have been clearer: if one of her National Assembly members was being offered a bribe to switch to the opposition, she needed to be able to match it............As another of her political advisers later recalled, ‘Asif’s role became more prominent when she beat back the motion of no confidence. There was some wheeler dealing in that. Some buying of votes. The moment money transactions came into play, Asif was in his element.’ Asif Zardari has consistently denied any financial malpractice. During her second government, Benazir told an aide that you needed to have $200–300 million to go into an election so that you could fund your candidates and secure their loyalty. While many of her advisers gave her plenty of interesting suggestions about what to do, Zardari actually did things, proving himself to be a man she could rely on" 

Owen Bennet Jones has reported another instance in which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave away bundles of cash to a religious leader who was the last hold-out against the adoption of the 1973 constitution. Here is the excerpt:

"It was, by any standards, extraordinary that Zulfikar managed to push it through with no one in the National Assembly voting against it. Mubashir Hassan described how the final hold-out – a cleric – was persuaded to vote in favour with a payoff: ‘The amount was settled and Bhutto described the scene to me how when the fellow came to President’s House to collect the money, Bhutto threw a packet of notes on the floor and ordered him to pick it up. There the man was, moving over the carpet on all fours, picking a bundle from here and a bundle from there. Bhutto was mightily amused. By using all his political skills – bribery included – Zulfikar had made a significant contribution to Pakistan’s national story." 

The Panama Leaks: 

Pakistani politicians and their supporters use allegations of corruption in Pakistani military to distract attention from their own well-documented corruption. Just a quick look at the names in leaked Panama Papers shows that politicians, not generals, dominate these lists. Pakistani names included in Panama Papers are those of several politicians and business people, but no generals, according to media reports.

 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is linked to 9 companies connected to his family name. Those involved are:  Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Relatives of Punjab Chief Minister and brother of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif are linked to 7 companies. They are: Samina Durrani and Ilyas Meraj.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was linked to one company. Her relatives and associates are linked to others: Nephew Hassan Ali Jaffery Javed Pasha, Close friend of Asif Ali Zardari (4 companies), PPP Senator Rehman Malik (1 company), PPP Senator Osman Saifullah’s family (34 companies), Anwar Saifullah, Salim Saifullah, Humayun Saifullah, Iqbal Saifullah, Javed Saifullah, Jehangir Saifullah. The Chaudharies of Gujrat have not been linked personally but other relatives have including: Waseem Gulzar Zain Sukhera (co-accused with former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son in the Hajj scandal).

Pakistani Businessmen in Panama Leaks: Real Estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain’s son (Bahria Town) Ahmad Ali Riaz (1 company), Chairman ABM Group of Companies Azam Sultan (5 companies), Pizza Hut owner Aqeel Hussain and family (1 company), Brother Tanwir Hassan Chairman Soorty Enterprise Abdul Rashid Soorty and family, Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman of Habib Bank Limited (1 company), Khawaja Iqbal Hassan, former NIB bank President (1 company), Bashir Ahmed and Javed Shakoor of Buxly Paints (1 company), Mehmood Ahmed of Berger Paints (1 company), Hotel tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani and family (3 companies), Murtaza Haswani Owner of Hilton Pharma, Shehbaz Yasin Malik and family (1 company), The Hussain Dawood family (2 companies), Shahzada Dawood Abdul Samad Dawood Partner Saad Raja, The Abdullah family of Sapphire Textiles (5 companies), Yousuf Abdullah and his wife, Muhammad Abdullah and his wife, Shahid Abdullah and his family, Nadeem Abdullah and family, Amer Abdullah and family, Gul Muhammad Tabba of Lucky Textiles, Shahid Nazir, CEO of Masood Textile Mills (1 company), Partner Naziya Nazir Zulfiqar Ali Lakhani, from Lakson Group and owner of Colgate-Palmolive, Tetley Clover and Clover Pakistan (1 company) and Zulfiqar Paracha and family of Universal Corporation (1 company).

Pakistani Judges in Panama Leaks: Serving Lahore High Court Judge Justice Farrukh Irfan, Retired Judge Malik Qayyum, Pakistani Media personnel in Panama Leaks: Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman of GEO-Jang Media Group (1 company).
Politicians Dominate Panama Leaks

Political Patronage:

Pakistani civilian rule has been characterized by a system of political patronage that doles out money and jobs to political party supporters at the expense of the rest of the population. Public sector jobs, including those in education and health care sectors, are part of this patronage system that was described by Pakistani economist Dr. Mahbub ul Haq, the man credited with the development of United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) as follows:

"...every time a new political government comes in they have to distribute huge amounts of state money and jobs as rewards to politicians who have supported them, and short term populist measures to try to convince the people that their election promises meant something, which leaves nothing for long-term development. As far as development is concerned, our system has all the worst features of oligarchy and democracy put together." 

Summary:

Recently released book "The Bhutto Dynasty" details specific instances and Benazir Bhutto's candid admission of how the Bhutto dynasty has used money for political and personal gain in Pakistan. Other sources, such as leaked Panama Papers, reinforce how Pakistani political dynasties, including Bhuttos and Sharifs, have enriched themselves at the expanse of Pakistan's poor. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Political Patronage in Pakistan

Zardari Corruption

Panama Papers

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

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Brief History of Karachi: The Birthplace of Pakistan's Founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, is believed to have started as a small fishing village named Kolachi in 1729.  It attracted the attention of the colonial rulers in 1857 as a suitable site for a major port in British India. Thus began the story of Karachi which has now grown into a megacity of 14,910,352 people, as reported in the most recent 2017 Census of Pakistan. 

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, was born in the city of Karachi on December 25, 1876. He also died in Karachi on September 11, 1948, a little over a year after realizing his dream of the creation of Pakistan. In a glowing tribute to Pakistan's founding father, his biographer, American historian Stanley Wolpert, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), wrote the following: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”  

Sindh Madrasatul Islam in Karachi


Karachi was built as a walled city. It had two main entrances: Kharadar (sea water gate) facing the Arabian sea and Mithadar (fresh water gate) facing the Lyari river. These two neighborhoods of Karadar and Mithadar still exist as the oldest neighborhoods in Karachi.  Sindh Madrasatul Islam, the Quaid-e-Azam's alma mater, is still located just east of Mithadar neighborhood. The school was founded in 1885 by Hassan Ali Effendi. It had the support of the famous Muslim reformer Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who established MAO College in Aligarh in 1875 which later became Aligarh Muslim University. Sindh Madrasatul Islam became a college in 1943. It was elevated to a university in 2012. 


Aerial View of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Mausoleum


A story in the New York Times dated June 17, 1902 reported that Karachi's population at the time was 115,000 and its port's annual trade was worth Rs. 180,000.  Wheat, seeds, cotton and wool were the main exports. There has been a dramatic expansion in the port since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 when it became the capital of the newly created state. The city attracted millions of Muslims from across India, particularly New Delhi and several northern states of India. Most of the new arrivals, referred to as Mohajirs, spoke Urdu which is now the national language of Pakistan. 

New York Times on Karachi in 1902

Karachi lost its status as the nation's political capital in 1960s to the newly-built city of Islamabad. However, the Quaid's city continues to be the economic, industrial and financial capital of the country. It is also home to two major ports: Karachi Port and Bin Qasim Port. A third port, Gwadar, located about 400 miles west of Karachi, has recently started operations as the nation's third major seaport. Karachi and Gwadar are connected on the land by Coastal Highway. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Karachi Safety Ranking Rising

Gangs of Karachi

Gangster Politicians of Karachi

Karachi is World's Fastest Growing Megacity

Karachi's Human Development Index

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25

CPEC Myths and Facts

Gwadar Port

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Pakistan Tech Exports Jump 51% in November 2020

Pakistan's technology export growth is continuing to accelerate with a 51% jump in November 2020 over the same month in 2019. The country's tech exports rose 39% in the first 5 months (July-Nov) of fiscal year 2021 over the same period last year. This came on top of a 21% increase in FY 2020 over FY 2019. 

Pakistan Technology Services Growth

Pakistan exported $763 million worth of services related telecommunications, computers and information technology from July to November 2020 period. This represented a 39% increase from the same period in 2019. In November 2020, the country exported IT services amounting to $168 million, a 51% jump from tech exports November 2019. 

Pakistan Trade Data


Currently, Pakistan relies heavily on three categories of products for exports which are often derided as 3 Cs: chadar (textiles), chamra (leather) and chawal (rice). Lately, the country has begun to diversify to higher-value added exports like technology services and pharmaceuticals

Pakistan’s exports are growing in spite of the COVID19 pandemic, growing for the third consecutive month in November to $2.161 billion, up 7.67% from $2.007 billion in the corresponding month last year, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Exports grew in home textiles (20%), pharma (20%), rice (14%), surgical goods (11%), stockings & socks (41%), jerseys & pullovers (21%), women’s garments (11%)and men’s garments (4.3%). 

From July to November, exports slightly increased by 2.11% to $9.737 billion, from $9.536 billion over the corresponding months of 2019. In spite of rising exports, Pakistan still had a trade deficit of nearly $10 billion in the first 5 months of the current fiscal year.  The country managed to show a current account surplus in 5 months, thanks to inflow of $11 billion in worker remittances, a 27% jump over last year. 

Pakistan can not rely on remittances from overseas Pakistanis to avoid recurring balance of payments crises that have forced the country to seek IMF bailouts repeatedly. The best way to do it is by building an industrial base, developing foreign markets and ramping up exports, particularly exports of high-value products and services such as pharmaceuticals and technology. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Pharma Industry

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Naya Pakistan Housing Program

Construction Industry in Pakistan

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Pakistan to Become World's 6th Largest Cement Producer by 2030

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid19 Crisis

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Fireeye Founded by Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz Alerted US Government to Massive Cyber Hack

Massive cyberattack that recently targeted US government agencies and private companies, labeled the 'SolarWinds hack', was first discovered by US cybersecurity company FireEye, founded by a well-recognized Pakistani-American cybersecurity expert Ashar Aziz. Karachi-born Ashar served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fireeye from 2004 to 2012.  Ashar became the first Pakistani-American tech billionaire when the company stock soared after its initial public offering (IPO) in 2013. His net worth was last estimated at $268 million in 2015

Ashar Aziz

Solar Winds Hack:

Solarwinds is a cybersecurity toolset used by multiple US government agencies to detect and stop cyberattacks. It is alleged by American government agencies that some Russian-sponsored hackers managed to compromise Solarwinds software by adding malware to updates distributed by the company to its customers. It only came to light when the perpetrators attempted to break into the cybersecurity firm FireEye, which first disclosed a breach on December 9.  Here's how Fireeye describes it:

"FireEye has uncovered a widespread campaign, that we are tracking as UNC2452. The actors behind this campaign gained access to numerous public and private organizations around the world. They gained access to victims via trojanized updates to SolarWind’s Orion IT monitoring and management software. This campaign may have begun as early as Spring 2020 and is currently ongoing. Post compromise activity following this supply chain compromise has included lateral movement and data theft. The campaign is the work of a highly skilled actor and the operation was conducted with significant operational security". 


Solarwinds Cyrber Hack. Source: Fireeye



Fireeye Cybersecurity:      

Fireeye is a top global cybersecurity firm. New York Times says the company  "has been the first call for government agencies and companies around the world who have been hacked by the most sophisticated attackers, or fear they might be". Fireeye makes a living by identifying the culprits in some of the world’s boldest and most high-profile security breaches — its clients have included Sony and Equifax, according to New York Times.  FireEye has also been called in to investigate high-profile attacks against Target, JP Morgan Chase, Sony Pictures, Anthem and others, according to USA Today. 

Fireeye was founded in 2012 by Ashar Aziz, a Pakistani-American entrepreneur, in Silicon Valley, California. Aziz was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California at Berkeley. He worked for Sun Microsystems before founding tech startups Terrasprings and Fireeye. 

Summary:

Fireeye, a top global cybersecurity firm, was founded by Ashar Aziz, a Pakistani-American technologist. The company has been in the news for being the first to discover and report a massive cyberattack on US government agencies and private companies. New York Times says the company  "has been the first call for government agencies and companies around the world who have been hacked by the most sophisticated attackers, or fear they might be".



US Congress Settles with Pakistani-American IT Specialist 

NED Alum Raises $100 Million For FinTech Startup in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-Americans Among Top 5 Most Upwardly Mobile Ethnic Groups

NED Alum Raghib Husain Sells Silicon Valley Company for $7.5 Billion

Pakistan's Tech Exports Surge Past $1 Billion in FY 2018

NED Alum Naveed Sherwani Raises $50 Million For SiFive Silicon Valley Startup

OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

Pakistani-American's Tech Unicorn Files For IPO at $1.6 Billion Valuation

Pakistani-American Cofounders Sell Startup to Cisco for $610 million

Pakistani Brothers Spawned $20 Billion Security Software Industry

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fireeye Goes Public

Pakistani-American Pioneered 3D Technology in Orthodontics

Pakistani-Americans Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Pakistani-American Shahid Khan Richest South Asian in America

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Pakistan Shipbuilding Industry and Blue Economy

Karachi Shipyard, the oldest and the only major shipyard in Pakistan, is experiencing unprecedented growth.  It is rapidly expanding manufacturing facilities to respond to growing demand for both civilian and military vessels. Karachi also has several small boat yards near Karachi Fish Harbor where craftsmen build wooden fishing vessels with their hands to meet fishermen's demand.  There are now plans in the works for building a new shipyard in Gwadar.  Pakistan has the potential to build a large "Blue Economy" in its 290,000 square kilometers of coastal water or about 36% of the country's land area open for tapping vast resources in it.  These resources include seafood and energy resources as well as international transport and trade connectivity with the rest of the world. It offers opportunities for water sports, recreation and tourism in the coastal areas of Pakistan. Pakistan needs a large fleet of ships to defend it and to take full economic advantage of it. 

Blue Economy. Source: World Bank

Karachi Shipyard:

Several new dry docks are being built at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) to cater to growing demand from Pakistan Navy and other government agencies. Two patrol boats have been built jointly with Dutch builder Damen at KSEW and delivered to Pakistan Customs.  

Four Type-039B ‘Hangor Class’ Chinese designed AIP submarines are planned to be built at KSEW. Keel-laying ceremony was held recently at KSEW for Turkish-designed MILGEM corvettes for Pakistan Navy. There are discussions underway to build Dutch Damon corvettes at KSEW for Pakistan Navy. 

Karachi shipyard is too small for servicing large ships owned by Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC). 

Karachi Fish Harbor:

Pakistani craftsman are continuing to build wooden fishing vessels for domestic and foreign buyers. They deliver 30 to 40 fishing vessels every year, in addition to repair work at the yard. Their foreign customers include fishermen from Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and UAE. 

Currently, the builders are taking orders for cargo vessels since the demand for fishing boats has gone down due to a variety of reasons, including the use of over-aged vessels, according to Arab News


Gwadar Shipyard:

Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) has recently acquired land in Gwadar to establish another major shipyard where much larger ships can be built and serviced. KSEW chief Rear Admiral Ather Saleem has told The News “The decision has been taken in view of increased movement of ships and maritime activities at Gwadar Port in the backdrop of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”      
KSEW in Karachi currently has 2 dry docks of limited capacities of 18,000 and 26, 000 DWT. It also has 3 shipbuilding berths with capacities of 6000 DWT, 15000 DWT and  26000 DWT. These are too small for Pakistan National Shipping Corporation cargo ships and tankers. Deadweight tonnage of the biggest PNSC tanker Aframax Tanker Quetta is 107,215.  

Blue Economy:

Pakistan has a 1,000 kilometers long coastline on the Arabian Sea with maritime sovereignty over 200 nautical miles deep Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and 150 nautical miles of Continental Shelf. This adds 290,000 square kilometers of sea or about 36% of the country's land area open for tapping vast resources in it. 

Pakistan's "Blue Economy" in this extended economic zone includes seafood and energy resources as well as international transport and trade connectivity with the rest of the world. It offers opportunities for water sports, recreation and tourism in the coastal areas of Pakistan.  Pakistan needs a large fleet of ships to defend it and to take full economic advantage of it. 


Related Links:










Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Najam Sethi on Desperation in PDM: Says It is "Now or Never" For PMLN

Prominent Pakistani journalist and political analyst Najam Sethi, a strong critic of Prime Minister Imran Khan, sees desperation among the Pakistani Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders. In a recent interview with well-known journalists Raza Rumi and Murtaza Solangi on Naya Daur social media channel, Sethi said the Pakistani opposition, particularly PMLN, believe it is "now or never" for them.  

PDM Leadership L to R: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz

Najam Sethi added that if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government led by Prime Minister Khan survives the current 5 year term and succeeds in stabilizing the nation's economy,  the ruling party will be re-elected for another 5 year term in 2023 with the support of what Sethi calls "Miltablishment" (a euphemism for Pakistani military). This, Sethi said, would mean that the PMLN would break up and lose its relevance. Sethi acknowledges there is genuine support for PTI in spite of Imran Khan government's failures in the first two years. This support is particularly strong among the youthful voters who are willing to forgive PTI's poor handling of the economy. 

Dr. Rasul Bakhsh Rais, Professor of political science at Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS), has offered similar analysis in an op ed published in Arab News. He asks: "Why can’t opposition parties wait for the next elections, is the six-million-dollar question". Here's an excerpt from Rais's op ed that captures its essence: 

"The two major dynastic parties— the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the Pakistan People’s Party are concerned that if Khan continues to stabilize and devise strategies for reforms, which he is set to roll out in the coming months, he may win the next election. If that happens, it will end dynastic elite politics, as staying in the political wilderness could cause splits, defections and fragmentation". 


The PDM strategy of forcing mid-term elections by resigning from assemblies may not work because the interests of PPP and PMLN, the two biggest components of PDM, do not converge.  While it is true that PMLN has little to lose by resigning their seats, the PPP has a lot to lose because it is already the ruling party in Sindh with its patronage power intact. And the PPP has no hope of winning national elections to form federal government. If the PDM protests are sustained, however, it won't be smooth sailing for PTI either. Dr. Rais sums up the situation very well as follows:

"Resigning from the assemblies is an option, but why would the PPP do so, losing its government in Sindh. Things may not be easy for the government of Khan either, as instability and confrontation may continue to divert his attention away from reforms and rebuilding a ‘new’ Pakistan. Failure then would work well into the strategy of the opposition for the next elections". 


Friday, December 11, 2020

Pakistani Military Launches Defense AI Program

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC), according to media reports. Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield. 

AI/ML in Military


Modern electronic warfare requires the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze vast amounts of data coming from a large number of sensors mounted on various military platforms deployed on the ground, in the air and on the seas. EW systems can collect a considerable amount of data about an enemy’s frequency use, radar deployment, and many other factors. Here is how British defense contractor BAE Systems defines it:

"Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) is the use of cognitive systems – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning – to enhance development and operation of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. Cognitive systems can sense, learn, reason, and interact naturally with people and environments, accelerating development and implementation of next generation EW threat detection, suppression, and neutralization technologies". 

Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says Pakistan Air Force may have already begun using CEW  systems. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Sawhney believes PAF used CEW in Pakistan's successful Operation Swift Report launched in response to India's bombing of Balakot in 2019. 

Sawhney speculates that, after the success of PAF's Operation Swift Retort, Pakistani military has recognized the importance of using its air force as the lead branch for the deployment of AI/ML and CEW. The establishment of Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC) at PAF's Air University is a manifestation of Pakistani military's commitment to this strategy. 

Sawhney says that PAF's commitment to AI/ML and CEW is also a step toward achieving greater interoperability with the PLAAF, the Chinese air force. Pakistan and Chinese air forces have been conducting joint air exercises since 2011. 

PLAAF's General Hong is currently in Pakistan for Shaheen IX joint air exercises with PAF.  He has been quoted in Pakistani media as saying: “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, PAF Air Vice Marshal Sulehri has said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”. Shaheen IX started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan.

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations, including Pakistan.

Watch Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney describe Pakistan's defense AI program:

https://youtu.be/xaAKlKoNoVU


 

Related Links:

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South Asia Investor Review

China-Pakistan Defense Production Collaboration Irks West

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Is Pakistan Ready for War with India?

Pakistan-Made Airplanes Lead Nation's Defense Exports

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

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Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Remembering Chuck Yeager (1923-2020): Flying Legend Admired Pakistan Air Force Pilots

United States Air Force's legendary pilot Charles Yeager died on December 7, 2020 at the age of 97. He was a highly decorated soldier who was also awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award. He remained active on twitter until very recently. In a 2017 tweet, Yeager called Pakistan Air Force pilots "the best in the world".  In another tweet in 2015, Yeager said "they (PAF pilots) kicked the Indians butt". 

General Charles Yeager (1923-2020)

General Yeager got the world's attention as early as 1944 when he shot down 5 German fighter aircraft in a single day. Later, he became the first man to break the sound barrier. Yeager's life as a daredevil pilot was documented by Tom Wolf in his 1979 book "The Right Stuff" that was later made into a movie. Actor Sam Shepard played Yeager in the movie. 

@GenChuckYeager's 2015 Tweet

General Yeager, a colonel in 1971, served as an advisor to Pakistan Air Force. He was there during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. Here's what he said about his experience in Pakistan:

"This Air Force (PAF), is second to none" "The air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing thirty-four airplanes of their own. I'm certain about the figures because I went out several times a day in a chopper and counted the wrecks below." "They were really good, aggressive dogfighters and proficient in gunnery and air combat tactics. I was damned impressed. Those guys just lived and breathed flying. "

@GenChuckYeager's 2017 Tweet

In addition to serving in Pakistan, Yeager also worked as an advisor in the Philippinnes and Spain. In the 1950s and ’60s, Yeager commanded squadrons, rising to colonel and later to brigadier general. After his retirement, he continued flying for the Air Force and NASA in some capacity as well as performing test flights on light aircraft for Piper Aircraft.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

China-Pakistan Defense Production Collaboration Irks West

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Is Pakistan Ready for War with India?

Pakistan-Made Airplanes Lead Nation's Defense Exports

Modi's Blunders and Delusions 

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

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Jet

Pakistan Navy Modernization

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Who Won the 1965 War? India or Pakistan?


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Pakistani Scientists Publishing CRISPR Gene Editing Work in International Journals

CRISPR CAS9 is the latest revolutionary gene editing technology to take the world by a storm. Pakistan is among a select group of nations where scientists are publishing their work on CRISPR in international journals. In fact, Brazil, China, India, Iran and Pakistan are the only developing nations listed among the countries where scientists published CRISPR research in 2018. The rest of the list is made up of highly developed countries of North America, Europe and East Asia. A quick Google search revealed several CRISP papers authored by Pakistani scientists. 

CRISPR Gene Editing Papers Published in 2018. Source: Science Magazine


What is CRISPR/CAS? 

CRISPR CAS9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats- CRISPR associated protein 9) technology was developed by Dr. Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley. She has recently won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2020 for her discovery.  This gene editing technology has been adapted from the natural defense mechanisms of bacteria which use CRISPR-derived RNA and various CAS proteins, including CAS9, to foil attacks by viruses and other foreign bodies. They do so primarily by cutting up and destroying the DNA of a foreign invader. When some of these chopped up components are selectively transferred into other, more complex, organisms, the manipulation of genes, or "gene editing" is enabled. 

Pakistan is among a select group of nations where scientists are publishing their work on it. In fact, Brazil, China, India, Iran and Pakistan are the only developing nations listed among the countries where scientists published CRISPR research in 2018. The rest of the list is made up of countries from North America, Europe and East Asia. A quick Google search revealed several CRISP papers authored by Pakistani scientists. 

Potential Applications:

CRISPR-CAS9 technology is raising serious fears about humans manipulating the genetic code, and those manipulations get passed on from one generation to the next. Such genetic changes could lead to antibiotic resistance or other mutations that spread into the human population and become very difficult to control. 

On the other hand, the technology could have a range of major positive impacts from treatment for serious human diseases such as cancer and designing new plant varieties to increase food production. 

There is obviously a need to regulate the use of this technology to prevent the worst consequences of its misuse. 

Stanford University


Stanford's Top 2% Scientists List:

Stanford University has ranked 243 Pakistani scientists among the world's top 2% scientists for 2019.  Among them are 81 Pakistani professors who are recognized in the lifetime research work list of 160,000 scientists. The list of the top 2% of the world's scientists has been created by experts from Stanford University based on data from Elsevier’s Scopus, the abstract and citation database. It covers 22 scientific fields and 176 subfields and provides standardized information on citations, h-index, co-authorship-adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions, and a composite indicator.    




Pakistani Professors on Stanford List


Highly Cited Researchers (HCR):


Last year, Clarivate Analytics listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  It included 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans. This Highly Cited Researchers list included 17 Nobel Laureates. It represented more than 60 nations, but more than 80% of them were 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 led 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 were: Harvard University (186), National Institutes of Health (148) and Stanford University (100).  Chinese Academy of Sciences ranks 4th with 99 highly cited researchers.

CRISPR-related papers published in 2018. Source: Science Magazine


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:

Pakistan is among a select group of nations where scientists are publishing their work in international journals. In fact, Brazil, China, India, Iran and Pakistan are the only developing nations listed among the countries where scientists published CRISPR research in 2018. The rest of the list is made up of countries from North America, Europe and East Asia. A quick Google search revealed several CRISP papers authored by Pakistani scientists.  Stanford University has ranked 243 Pakistani scientists among the world's top 2% scientists for 2019.  Among them are 81 Pakistani professors who are recognized in the lifetime research work list of 160,000 scientists. Last year Clarivate Analytics listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR). There were 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. 
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Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Infrastructure Investments; Among Top 5 in the World

Pakistan led South Asia region and ranked 4th in the world in infrastructure investment commitments in the first half of 2020, according to World Bank's "Private Participation in Infrastructure" report for the first half on the year 2020. Mexico led the pack with $4,016 million, followed by Brazil 2nd with $3,543 million, China  3rd with $2,859 million, Pakistan 4th with $1,921 million and India 5th with $1,762 million in private infrastructure investment commitments in the first 6 months of 2020. Here is an excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan had the fourth highest investment commitments—a new entrant to the top five countries this year—with US$1.9 billion of investment commitments, accounting for 0.69 percent of GDP. This can be attributed to the financial closure of the Thar Block-I Coal-Fired Power Plant, which was the only project to reach financial closure in the country during this time period. The Thar power plant and the pipeline in Mexico were the only two megaprojects to reach financial closure in the first half-year of 2020. Lastly, India had the fifth highest investment commitments, at US$1.1 billion, accounting for 0.06 percent of GDP. In the first half-year of 2020, these five countries together attracted US$14.1 billion, representing 64 percent of PPI investments in EMDEs". 

Global Infrastructure Investment by Private Participants. Source World Bank


The report went on to say that Pakistan's entrance to the top 5 list can be attributed to the financial closure of the Thar Block-I Coal-Fired Power Plant, which was the only project to reach financial closure in the country during this time period. The Thar power plant and the pipeline in Mexico were the only two megaprojects to reach financial closure in the first half-year of 2020. Here's another excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan became one of the five countries with the most investment in the first half-year of 2020, due to a US$1.9 billion mega coal power project with 1,329-megawatt (MW) capacity. The coal power project was developed under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is part of an effort by the Government of Pakistan to improve energy security and reduce the average cost of power generation by transitioning from oil to coal". 

In a 2018 New York Times Op Ed titled "How Not to Engage With Pakistan",  ex US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson said "Its (CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken".  Olson went on to warn the Trump Administration that "Without Pakistani cooperation, our (US) army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale".

Among the parts of Pakistan being transformed by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are some of the least developed regions in Balochistan and Sindh, specifically Gwadar and Thar Desert.


Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel