Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Today's Pakistan: Conservative or Progressive?

Pakistan is often portrayed in the international media, particularly the western media, as a highly tradition-bound conservative society dominated by Taliban sympathizers.  Fatima Bhutto, a granddaughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, offers evidence to suggest otherwise. 

Fatima Bhutto


In  a recent Op Ed published in The Guardian titled "Superheroes, jazz, queer art: how Pakistan’s transgressive pop culture went global", Fatima Bhutto offers recent examples of the Pakistani pop culture going global. In particular, she cites television series Ms. Marvel, feature film Joyland, Grammy winning Urdu singer Arooj Aftab, world-famous qawwali singers Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parveen, celebrated artists Shazia Sikandar and Salman Toor,  and novelists like Mohammad Hanif, the author of "A Case of Exploding Mangoes". 

Fatima talks about the history of the ongoing struggle between the conservatives and the progressives that dates back to the nation's independence in 1947. She also contrasts Pakistan with India: "Though Bollywood films from earlier decades addressed injustice, feudalism and political oppression, today the industry is little more than a mouthpiece for India’s quasi-fascist rightwing government, obsessed with spit-shining the image of its prime minister, Narendra Modi". Below are a some excepts of Fatima Bhutto's Op Ed:

1. "Even though the film (Joyland) was...subject to various bans in Pakistan, after being accused of pushing an LGBTQ+ agenda and misrepresenting Pakistani culture, it finally appeared in Pakistani cinemas in November, with Malala Yousafzai signing on as executive producer".  Note: Joyland was the first Pakistani film to be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival where "it won the Un Certain Regard prize, receiving a standing ovation nearly 10 minutes long".   

2. "Ms Marvel follows Kamala Khan, whose parents, formerly of Karachi and now of New Jersey, are not caricatures of immigrant parents, but droll and charming, embarrassing in the way all parents are while their young daughter suffers the indignities of teenagers everywhere. The writing team knows only too well the codes and ciphers of Pakistani life and have seamlessly blended them into this Disney tale. Kamala has a brother who prays constantly (every Pakistani family has one resident fundamentalist), her father quotes poetry at the dinner table and Nakia, her hijab-wearing best friend, has her shoes stolen at the mosque – a timeless rite of passage for all mosque-going Muslims". 

3. "In the past few months, the contemporary Pakistani artists Shahzia Sikander and Salman Toor have been glowingly profiled in the New Yorker; Toor’s Four Friends recently sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $1.2m (£0.99m). His paintings are celebrated for their depictions of queer intimacy, and reimaginings of classical masterpieces from Caravaggio to Édouard Manet. “My immediate reaction was that this artist could paint anything and make me believe in it,” wrote the New Yorker’s Calvin Tomkins".

4. "Pakistanis have always understood their heritage to be culturally rich and transgressive: from the romance of the Urdu language, spoken by poets and in royal courts, to qawwali singers as diverse as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parveen, to television dramas and literature. Artists such as Iqbal Bano sang songs against dictators and shows on state television satirized military juntas with jokes so sophisticated that even army censors couldn’t catch them. In 1969, Pakistan state television aired Khuda Ki Basti, or God’s Own Land, a series set in a Karachi slum in the tumultuous days after independence, from a classic Urdu novel. To ensure that the drama was faithful to the novel, Pakistan state television convened a board of intellectuals to oversee the scripts, including Faiz Ahmed Faiz, one of the country’s most beloved poets". 

5. “We’ve been having a really hard time in a post-9/11 world,” says the Brooklyn-based Arooj Aftab, the first Pakistani musician to win a Grammy, taking home the 2022 award for best global music performance. Aftab’s album Vulture Prince reimagines traditional ghazals, melancholic love poems born out of Arabic and Persian literary traditions. “There’s been a significant amount of Islamophobia and a lot of bad marketing towards Pakistan in general – associations with terrorism and pain and Afghanistan-adjacent confusion – while the narrative around a lot of other south Asian countries is like ‘Oh my God! Beauty! Exotic landscapes! Yoga!’ And the west loves that shit.”

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistani-American Gay Physicist Nergis Mavalvala

Emmy Winning British Pakistani Riz Ahmed

History of South Asians in America

HBO Comedy "Silicon Valley" Stars Pakistani-American

Pakistanis Make Up Largest Foreign-Born Muslim Group in Silicon Valley

Karachi to Hollywood: Triple Oscar Winning Pakistani-American

Burka Avenger: Pakistani Female Superhero 

Pakistani-American Grammy Winning Urdu Singer Arooj Aftab

Pakistani-American Leads NYC Gay Parade

Pakistani-American Shahid Khan Richest South Asian in America

Ms. Marvel: Pakistani-American Girl Superhero

Pakistani-American Author-Journalist Raza Rumi in Silicon Valley

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 

Pakistani-American Population Growth Second Fastest Among Asian-Americans

The Big Sick

Pakistani-American Diaspora Thriving in America

British Pakistani Singer Zayn Malik


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Rural Pakistan: New Infrastructure Driving Socioeconomic Revolution in Tharparkar

In a 2018 New York Times Op Ed titled "How Not to Engage With Pakistan",  ex US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson wrote: "Its (CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken". 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. Over 70% of Thar desert's population is Hindu. 

Tharparkar: Road Built Under CPEC. Source: Emmanuel Guddu

More recently, Pakistani architect and social activist Arif Hasan has detailed the socioeconomic impact of new infrastructure in Tharparkar district, further reinforcing what Ambassador Olson wrote about how CPEC is transforming Pakistan's least developed areas. In his book titled "Tharparkar: Drought, Development, and Social Change", author Arif Hasan has highlighted the following (excerpted from Arif Hasan's recent piece published in Dawn):

1, New roads, airports, solar panels, cell towers and mobile phones are opening up opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, education and healthcare for the Thari population. 

2. New infrastructure is empowering Thari women to challenge the long established patriarchy in Tharparkar. A major change has occurred in gender relations — males are less restrictive; there is an increase in education and hygiene; women now move around without male escorts. Women are giving up old traditional clothes for more fashionable dresses. 

3. Road construction in Thar that started in the Musharraf era (2000-2008)  has made transportation cheaper and easier. Before these new roads, the old six-wheeler kekra (WW II era American Army truck) was the only mode of vehicular transportation in the desert.  It was slow and expensive. It has now been replaced by normal Bedford trucks which are cheaper to run.   

4.  Bank loans to buy taxis are now available. Number of taxis operating in Thar has increased from 150 to over 400, while the qingqis in Mithi have increased from over 150 to over 300 since 2013. 

5. The old kekras (old American Army 6-wheelers) have been converted into water tankers; people can now actually order one by phone, to pick up potable water from Mithi and deliver it to villages. 

6. The new roads have helped substantially increase trade and commerce.  Thar’s agricultural produce now reaches distant markets — six to seven trucks per day carry onions from Nagarparkar to Lahore, and vegetables and fruit from other parts of Sindh and Punjab are now easily available in Thar.  

7. Roads have helped in the increase of salt and china clay mining. These have created more jobs, especially for those villages that are next to the mines. The lives of the families who have benefitted from this growth in the job market have changed and the first investments they make is in the building of pakka houses, with steel channel and brick-tiled roofs. Another important investment is in motorbikes, which makes flexible and faster mobility possible. People have sold their camels and donkeys to buy motorbikes.

8. Thari men now work in the garment industry in Karachi, where they save and send home Rs 10-12,000 a month.

9. Tourist traffic has grown in Thar with tens of thousands of people visiting the area every year after the rains and for the many religious festivals that the desert celebrates. Women producing traditional handicrafts are able to sell their wares to the tourists.  This creates economic opportunities for the local population. 

10. Dozens of carpentry workshops are now operating in Mithi. The carpenters have moved in from the rural areas of Thar, where they worked for the rural population, who paid them in grain. 

11. Number of retail stores has also increased — in Mithi there were 20 to 25 grocery stores in 2015, as opposed to seven or eight 10 years earlier. Earlier, the store owners used to travel to Hyderabad to buy goods but, today, because of the road and mobile phone, they just order the items from Karachi and the transporter delivers them. The clients at the stores are both rural and urban.

12. Access to healthcare units in district capital Mithi is a lot easier and faster, and has been of special importance in maternity-related cases.

13. With the construction of new roads, the villagers are now more willing to send their children to school, including girls, because schools are easier to access. 

Back in 2018, I wrote a post titled "CPEC is Transforming Least Developed Parts of Pakistan". Below is an except that talks about Thar development: 

Thar Desert:

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 camels. 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 thethirdpole.net He says that the company is paying villagers above market prices for their land – Rs. 185,000 ($ 1,900) per acre.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Pakistan FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Lashes Out At Indian EAM Subramanyam Jaishankar

“If the FM (foreign minister) of India (Jaishankar) was being honest, then he knows as well as I, that the RSS (India's militant Hindu organization) does not believe in Gandhi, in his ideology. They do not see this individual as the founder of India, they hero-worship the terrorist that assassinated Gandhi", said Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. "Osama Bin Laden is dead but the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the prime minister of India", he added. Mr. Bhutto Zardari was responding to a question from the media asked at the behest of the Indian Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar.  Earlier at the UNSC, Indian External Affairs Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar had unveiled a statue of Mohandas K. Gandhi at the UN and accused Pakistan of "hosting Osama Bin Laden". Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a member of the militant Hindu organization RSS. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a member of the RSS. 

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

Here are some excerpts of what Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said at the media briefing at the UN:  

“He [Narendra Modi] was banned from entering this country [the United States]....these are the prime minister and foreign minister of the RSS (India's right-wing Hindu nationalist organization)....The RSS draws its inspiration from Hitler’s SS (the German Nazi Party’s militant wing Schutzstaffel)...(According to the RSS) we (Muslims) are terrorists whether we are Muslims in Pakistan and we’re terrorists whether we’re Muslims in India.....They (Modi and BJP) are not even attempting to wash the blood of the people of Gujarat off their hand..."Butcher of Gujarat” was now the “Butcher of Kashmir”". 

Last month,  the US State Department bracketed Indian Prime Minister Modi with murderous dictators like Congo's Laurent Kabila and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. Speaking about the US decision to grant immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that it was “not the first time” that the US government has designated immunity to foreign leaders and listed four cases. “Some examples: President Aristide in Haiti in 1993; President Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001; Prime Minister Modi in India in 2014; and President Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers,” he said. 

BJP HIndutva Leaders Modi, Yogi and Shah

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India was barred from entering the United States from 2005 to 2014 for his involvement in the massacre of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002.  In 2015, a US judge dismissed a lawsuit against Modi after the US government argued that he is immune to accusations as a sitting head of government. While Modi has denied any involvement in the Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom, he has never even expressed any regret over the killings in Gujarat when he was the Chief Minister of the Indian state. 

While Modi has refused to accept any responsibility for the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, his party BJP's leaders have not shied away from claiming "credit" for it. Just yesterday, Modi's right-hand man and current Home Minister Amit Shah said Muslims were "taught a lesson" in 2002. He said that "after they were taught a lesson in 2002, these elements left that path (of violence). They refrained from indulging in violence from 2002 till 2022. BJP has established permanent peace in Gujarat by taking strict action against those who used to indulge in communal violence". 

In 2002 when Narendra Modi was chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, hundreds of young Muslim girls were sexually assaulted, tortured and killed.  These rapes were condoned by the ruling BJP, whose refusal to intervene lead to the rape and killing of thousands and displacement of 200,000 Muslims.

In 2012, a former Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela accused Modi's state government of having blood on its hand: "2002 me jo katl-e-aam hua uspe wo sarkar bani hai. Iske baad encounter hui, uske upar ye sarkar bani thi. Sarkar banti hai, lekin ye jo conspiracy karke sarkar banana hai, ye Gujarat aur desh ki janata jaanti hai aur aaj wo repeat nah o, iske liye hum janata ko request karte hain (The foundation of this (Modi) government rests on the 2002 carnage. Governments are made, but not on conspiracies. And the people of Gujarat know this, and that's why we are requesting the people for a change)," Mr Vaghela said.

Since his election to India's top elected office, Modi has elevated fellow right-wing Hindu extremists to positions of power in India. Yogi Adiyanath, known for his highly inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, was hand-picked in 2016 by Modi to head India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

Adiyanath's supporters brag about digging up Muslim women from their graves and raping them. In a video uploaded in 2014,  he said, “If [Muslims] take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we’ll kill 100 Muslims.”

Yogi wants to "install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque”.  Before his election, he said, “If one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police, we’ll kill 10 Muslims”.  He endorsed the beef lynching of Indian Muslim Mohammad Akhlaque and demanded that the victim's family be charged with cow slaughter.

Madhav S. Golwalkar, considered among the founders of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

In his book We, MS Golwalkar wrote the following in praise of what Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did to Jews as a model for what Hindus should do to Muslims in India: "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Paul Richard Brass, professor emeritus of political science and international relations at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, has spent many years researching communal riots in India. He has debunked all the action-reaction theories promoted by Hindu Nationalists like Modi. He believes these are not spontaneous but planned and staged as "a grisly form of dramatic production" by well-known perpetrators from the Sangh Parivar of which Prime Minister Modi has been a member since his youth.

Here's an excerpt of Professor Brass's work:

"Events labelled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and town in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/rehearsal, activation/enactment, and explanation/interpretation. In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally. At first, multiple narratives vie for primacy in controlling the explanation of violence. On the one hand, the predominant social forces attempt to insert an explanatory narrative into the prevailing discourse of order, while others seek to establish a new consensual hegemony that upsets existing power relations, that is, those which accept the violence as spontaneous, religious, mass-based, unpredictable, and impossible to prevent or control fully. This third phase is also marked by a process of blame displacement in which social scientists themselves become implicated, a process that fails to isolate effectively those most responsible for the production of violence, and instead diffuses blame widely, blurring responsibility, and thereby contributing to the perpetuation of violent productions in future, as well as the order that sustains them."

"In India, all this takes place within a discourse of Hindu-Muslim hostility that denies the deliberate and purposive character of the violence by attributing it to the spontaneous reactions of ordinary Hindus and Muslims, locked in a web of mutual antagonisms said to have a long history. In the meantime, in post-Independence India, what are labelled Hindu-Muslim riots have more often than not been turned into pogroms and massacres of Muslims, in which few Hindus are killed. In fact, in sites of endemic rioting, there exist what I have called “institutionalized riot systems,” in which the organizations of militant Hindu nationalism are deeply implicated. Further, in these sites, persons can be identified, who play specific roles in the preparation, enactment, and explanation of riots after the fact. Especially important are what I call the “fire tenders,” who keep Hindu-Muslim tensions alive through various inflammatory and inciting acts; “conversion specialists,” who lead and address mobs of potential rioters and give a signal to indicate if and when violence should commence; criminals and the poorest elements in society, recruited and rewarded for enacting the violence; and politicians and the vernacular media who, during the violence, and in its aftermath, draw attention away from the perpetrators of the violence by attributing it to the actions."

Related Links:


Saturday, December 10, 2022

India's Crony Capitalism: Modi's Pal Adani's Wealth Grows at the Expense of Ordinary Bangladeshis and Indians

Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina has agreed to buy expensive electricity from India in spite of a power glut in Bangladesh, according to a report in the Washington Post. The newspaper quotes B.D. Rahmatullah, a former director general of Bangladesh’s power regulator, as saying, "Hasina cannot afford to anger India, even if the deal appears unfavorable." “She knows what is bad and what is good,” he said. “But she knows, ‘If I satisfy (Gautam) Adani, Modi will be happy.’ Bangladesh now is not even a state of India. It is below that.”  The Washington Post report says: "Facing a looming power glut, Bangladesh in 2021 canceled 10 out of 18 planned coal power projects. Mohammad Hossain, a senior power official, told reporters that there was “concern globally” about coal and that renewables were cheaper". 

Gautam Adani (L) and Narendra Modi

India Ranks  High on Crony Capitalism Index. Source: Economist 

Hasina recently visited New Delhi to seek political and economic assistance from the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This summit was preceded by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen's trip to India where he said,  "I've requested Modi government to do whatever is necessary to sustain Sheikh Hasina's government".  Upon her return from India, Sheikh Hasina told the news media in Dhaka, "They (India) have shown much sincerity and I have not returned empty handed". It has long been an open secret that Indian intelligence agency RAW helped install Shaikh Hasina as Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and her Awami League party rely on New Delhi's support to stay in power. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen has described India-Bangladesh as one between husband and wife. In an interview with Indian newspaper 'Ajkal,' he said, "Relation between the both countries is very cordial. It's much like the relationship between husband and wife. Though some differences often arise, these are resolved quickly."  Both Bangladeshi and Indian officials have reportedly said that Sheikh Hasina "has built a house of cards". 

Shaikh Hasina (L) with Narendra Modi

The Washington Post reports that the Modi government has changed laws to help Adani’s coal-related businesses and save him at least $1 billion. After a senior Indian official opposed supplying coal at a discount to Adani and other business tycoons, he was removed from his job by the Modi administration, according to the paper.  Modi has continued to support Adani's business with discounted coal even after telling the United Nations he would tax coal and ramp up renewable energy. India is the world's third largest carbon emitter

World's Top 5 Carbon Emitters. Source: Our World in Data

While the coal prices have declined to the level before the start of the Ukraine War, Adani’s power would still cost Bangladesh 33% more per kilowatt-hour than the publicly disclosed cost of running Bangladesh’s domestic coal-fired plant, according to  Tim Buckley, a Sydney-based energy finance analyst. 

India's Crony Capitalism: Adani Enterprises Stock Up 56,000% on Modi's Watch

Gautam Adani has become India's richest and the world's second richest person (after Elon Musk) since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. Financial Times calls Adani "Modi's Rockefeller".  Adani's rise owes itself to India's crony capitalism, according to  France's Le Monde. Here's an excerpt of a Le Monde story on Adani: 

"Adani has not invented some revolutionary technology or disruptive business model. His meteoric success cannot be attributed to innovation. In each sphere of activity among his conglomerates – airports, ports, mining, aerospace, defense industry – the Indian state plays a significant role, whether in allocating licenses or signing contracts. He is known as a close friend of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also hails from Gujarat, a state in western India".  

Adani has lent his personal airplanes to Modi for BJP's election campaigns. Adani has also recently taken over NDTV, the only Indian major TV channel known for its independence from the BJP government. This takeover has forced Prannoy and Radhika Roythe, the  channel's founding couple, to step down. It has also forced out Ravish Kumar, a harsh critic of the Modi regime who hosted a number of popular shows like Hum Log, Ravish ki Report, Des Ki Baat, and Prime Time.

Income Inequality Map. Source: World Inequality Report 2022

India is one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Inequality Report 2022. There is rising poverty and hunger. Nearly 230 million middle class Indians have slipped below the poverty line, constituting a 15 to 20% increase in poverty. India ranks 94th among 107 nations ranked by World Hunger Index in 2020. Other South Asians have fared better: Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64) and Myanmar (78) – and only Afghanistan has fared worse at 99th place. Meanwhile, the wealth of Indian billionaires jumped by 35% during the pandemic. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India Among World's Most Unequal Countries

Shaikh Hasina Seeks Modi's Help to Survive

Food in Pakistan 2nd Cheapest in the World

Indian Economy Grew Just 0.2% Annually in Last Two Years

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

India: World's Biggest Oligarchy?

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"

Incomes of Poorest Pakistanis Growing Faster Than Their Richest Counterparts

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan's Sehat Card Health Insurance Program

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

COVID Lockdown Decimates India's Middle Class

COP27: Pakistan Demands "Loss and Damage" Compensation

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

How Has India Built Large Forex Reserves Despite Perennial Trade Deficits

India's Unemployment and Hunger Crises"

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



Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Goldman Sachs Projects Pakistan Economy to Become the World's 6th Largest by 2075

Goldman Sachs analysts Kevin Daly and  Tadas Gedminas project Pakistan's economy to grow to become the world's sixth largest by 2075.  In a research paper titled "The Path to 2075", the authors forecast Pakistan's GDP to rise to $12.7 trillion with per capita income of $27,100.  India’s GDP in 2075 is projected at $52.5 trillion and per capita GDP at $31,300.  Bangladesh is projected to be a $6.3 trillion economy with per capita income of $31,000.  By 2075, China will be the top global economy, followed by India 2nd, US 3rd, Indonesia 4th, Nigeria 5th and Pakistan 6th. The forecast is based primarily on changes in the size of working age populations over the next 50 years.  

GDP Ranking Changes Till 2075. Source: Goldman Sachs Investment Research 


Economic Growth Rate Till 2075. Source: Goldman Sachs Investment Research 

Economic Impact of Slower Population Growth: 

Daly and Gedminas argue that slowing population growth in the developed world is causing their economic growth to decelerate. At the same time, the economies of the developing countries are driven by their rising populations.  Here are four key points made in the report:

 1) Slower global potential growth, led by weaker population growth. 

2) EM convergence remains intact, led by Asia’s powerhouses. Although real GDP growth has slowed in both developed and emerging economies, in relative terms EM growth continues to outstrip DM growth.

3) A decade of US exceptionalism that is unlikely to be repeated. 

4) Less global inequality, more local inequality. 

Goldman Sachs' Revised GDP Projections. Source: The Path to 2075

Demographic Dividend: 

With rapidly aging populations and declining number of working age people in North America, Europe and East Asia, the demand for workers will increasingly be met by major labor exporting nations like Bangladesh, China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia and Vietnam. Among these nations, Pakistan is the only major labor exporting country where the working age population is still rising faster than the birth rate. 

Pakistan Population Youngest Among Major Asian Nations. Source: Nikkei Asia

World Population 2022. Source: Visual Capitalist

World Population 2050. Source: Visual Capitalist

Over 10 million Pakistanis are currently working/living overseas, according to the Bureau of Emigration. Before the COVID19 pandemic hit in 2020,  more than 600,000 Pakistanis left the country to work overseas in 2019. Nearly 700,000 Pakistanis have already migrated in this calendar year as of October, 2022. The average yearly outflow of Pakistani workers to OECD countries (mainly UK and US) and the Middle East was over half a million in the last decade. 

Consumer Markets in 2030. Source: WEF


World's 7th Largest Consumer Market:

Pakistan's share of the working age population (15-64 years) is growing as the country's birth rate declines, a phenomenon called demographic dividend. With its rising population of this working age group, Pakistan is projected by the World Economic Forum to become the world's 7th largest consumer market by 2030. Nearly 60 million Pakistanis will join the consumer class (consumers spending more than $11 per day) to raise the country's consumer market rank from 15 to 7  by 2030. WEF forecasts the world's top 10 consumer markets of 2030 to be as follows: China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Pakistan, Japan, Egypt and Mexico.  Global investors chasing bigger returns will almost certainly shift more of their attention and money to the biggest movers among the top 10 consumer markets, including Pakistan.  Already, the year 2021 has been a banner year for investments in Pakistani technology startups

Record Remittances From Overseas Pakistanis:

Pakistan is already seeing high levels of labor export and record remittances of over $30 billion pouring into the country. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) are the top two sources of remittances but the biggest increase (58%) in remittances is seen this year from Pakistanis in the next two sources: the United Kingdom and the United States.

Remittances from the European Union (EU) to Pakistan soared 49.7% in FY 21 and 28.3% in FY22, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. With $2.5 billion remittances in the first 9 months (July-March) of the current fiscal year, the EU ($2.5 billion) has now surpassed North America ($2.2 billion) to become the third largest source of inflows to Pakistan after the Middle East and the United Kingdom. Remittances from the US have grown 21%, second fastest after the EU (28.3%) in the first 9  months of the current fiscal year. 

Pakistan ranks 6th among the top worker remittance recipient countries in the world.  India and China rank first and second, followed by Mexico 3rd, the Philippines 4th, Egypt 5th and Pakistan 6th.  

Pakistan Demographics

About two million Pakistanis are entering the workforce every year. The share of the working age population in Pakistan is increasing while the birth rate is declining. This phenomenon, known as demographic dividend, is coinciding with declines in working age populations in developed countries. It is creating an opportunity for over half a million Pakistani workers to migrate and work overseas, and send home record remittances.