Sunday, January 29, 2023

India at WEF2023: UP CM Yogi Adityanath Feared Arrest, Canceled Davos Visit

Yogi Adityanath, the radical Hindu Chief Minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, canceled his plans to lead a delegation to the 2023 World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. The cancellation came after a criminal complaint was filed against the Hindu Nationalist leader who is widely seen as Prime Minister Modi's successor. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L), UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (R)


Adityanath was planning to lead a delegation to the World Economic Forum-2023 meeting at Davos, Switzerland, according to reports in the Indian news media. The state government put up a pavilion to showcase Uttar Pradesh as “the best investment destination”.

The complaint was filed under the principle of “universal jurisdiction” by law firm Guernica 37. It alleges that Adityanath ( real name Ajay Singh Bisht) “ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and 2020” and that “these acts may amount to crimes against humanity.”   

Guernica 37 (G37) describes itself as a "Specialist Group of International Criminal and Human Rights Lawyers with a Socially Committed and Multi-Disciplinary Outlook".  It claimed that the chief minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, and hopes the filing will have a cooling effect on WEF attendance in the future by any political or business figures alleged to have committed criminal acts.

Top Radical Hindu Leaders: Modi (Left), Yogi (Middle) and Shah (Right)

Prior to being elected Prime Minister of India, Modi was barred from visiting the United States and the United Kingdom for his role in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002. 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. 

Like his leader Modi, Yogi is a highly divisive Indian Hindu politician. His incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric and bulldozing of Muslim homes have won him popular Hindu support in India. He is also very popular among the Hindu Indian diaspora.  

"We are all with you Modiji and Yogiji", shouted an Indian American man who tweeted a video clip of a a 2022 car rally in Silicon Valley, California. Rally participants can be seen carrying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Some also carried BJP's lotus flags. Hindu Americans enjoy the freedom to practice their faith and culture in the United States while at the same time they support Hindutva fascist rule in their country of origin. 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Stranger at the Gate: The Story of a Muslim Convert Gets Oscar Nomination

Retired US Marine Richard Mac McKinney hated Muslims so much that he planned to bomb an Islamic Center in the state of Indiana. His transformation is the subject of a documentary short film called "Stranger at the Gate." The film has already won a special jury prize at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. It tells the story of how McKinney abandoned his plot and ended up converting to Islam.  

L to R: Mac McKinney, Jomo Willians, Dr. Mohammad Bahrami, Mrs. Bibi Bahrami

When Mac, a veteran of the US "global war on terror",  returned to Indiana in 2006, he was outraged by the presence of the local Muslim community who he saw as enemies.  During the periods he described to Joshua Seftel, the director of "Stranger at the Gate", as “between being drunk and sober,” he brainstormed how he could attack Muslims—an action he thought of as continuing to protect his family and serve his country.

He hatched a plot to bomb the Islamic Center of Muncie, Indiana on a Friday to "kill and injure at least 200 Muslims". But before carrying out his plot, he went to the mosque to check out the place where he met the Bahrami family, co-founders of the center and themselves Afghan refugees who arrived in the United States in the 1980s; and Jomo Williams, a Black local convert. The warm welcome he received at the mosque surprised him. Thus began his transformation that the film is about.  

There are probably many more such stories that have remained obscure. One such story is about Balbir Singh in India. Balbir participated in the demolition of the ancient Babri masjid in Ayodhya, India. Then he went through a transformation and embraced Islam. His new name is Mohammad Amir. He now builds mosques across India to wash away his guilt.  

"Stranger at the Gate" is directed and produced by Joshua Seftel. It is one of five films nominated in the "Best Documentary Short Film" category for an Oscar. The other four are: “The Elephant Whisperers,” “Haulout,” “How Do You Measure a Year?” and “The Martha Mitchell Effect." You can watch it on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/GPbbl1S6foM

Monday, January 23, 2023

Pakistan Is Not Collapsing!

Pakistan is currently facing major economic and political crises. These are partly of its own making but mostly the result of external shocks in terms of commodity prices that have exacerbated the nation's balance of payments.  The Pakistani military's unnecessary meddling in politics and resulting political instability have not helped either. The unprecedented floods in the country have further added to the severity of the challenges.  

US and China Compete For Influence in Pakistan. Source: Wall Street Journal


Pakistan's multidimensional crisis has spurred many in India and elsewhere to predict the Pakistani state's imminent collapse. Some disgruntled Pakistanis have also jumped on the doomsayers' bandwagon. What is often ignored in such oft-repeated dire predictions is Pakistan's size and its geopolitical importance in the world. Indian analyst Amit Bhandari has summarized it well in a recent Hindustan Times Op-ed: "Despite the severity of the challenges, Pakistan is unlikely to collapse — largely because of its geostrategic importance. A bailout by the IMF or friendly countries will happen".  Let me expand on Bhandari's comments:

1. The collapse of a large country like Pakistan will be very destabilizing for the South Asia region and the world. Pakistan is the world's 5th most populous country. It has a large military armed with nuclear weapons.

2. Pakistan's location is geopolitically very important. It borders Afghanistan, China, India, Iran and the Indian Ocean.  It has a coastline next to the sea lanes that transport the bulk of the world's oil. It is connected to multiple strategically important regions of the world:  Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia and West Asia.  

3. China, the United States and Gulf Arabs have expressed a strong interest in maintaining Pakistan's stability. All of them are offering assistance to Pakistan.  China will continue to support Pakistan as it tries to stabilize its financial situation, state media quoted President Xi Jinping as saying, according to Reuters. Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has offered to increase loans and investments of over $10 billion to Pakistan, according to Bloomberg.  American officials have said they support the IMF assistance to Pakistan, according to Dawn newspaper

4. Pakistan has received pledges of $10 billion worth of loans and grants to rebuild after devastating floods last year, according to Bloomberg News. The amount pledged exceeds the $8 billion that Pakistan sought at the United Nations Donors Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Debt to GDP Ratios. India 91%, Pakistan 87%. Source: Visual Capitalist

Pakistanis are no strangers to forecasts of their country's collapse. There have been many such forecasts over the last 75 years, starting with its birth.  Western and Indian forecasts of Pakistan's collapse are not new.  Lord Mountbatten, the British Viceroy of India who oversaw the partition agreed with the assessment of Pakistan made by India's leaders when he described Pakistan as a "Nissen hut" or a "temporary tent" in a conversation with Jawarhar Lal Nehru.

Here's the exact quote from Mountbatten: "administratively it [wa]s the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned we are putting up a tent. We can do no more." The Brits and the Hindu leadership of India both fully expected Pakistan to fold soon after partition.


1999 DoD Forecast: Pakistan Disappears by 2015

A 1999 US Defense Department study titled "Asia 2025" forecast Pakistan's collapse by 2015.  It further said that Pakistan would become part of a "South Asian Superstate" controlled by India as a "regional hegemon". Two of the study's contributors were "South Asia experts" of Indian origin. Much of the South Asia section of this study appears to be wishful thinking rather than serious analysis.  Resilient Pakistan has defied this and many other similar forecasts of its demise since its birth. 

Goldman Sachs Forecast Over Next 50 Years

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.  

OpenAI's ChatGPT on Pakistan's Possible Collapse


There's no question that Pakistan is in the midst of very serious political and economic crises. The nation is deeply divided politically. The country's economic performance is dismal. It is of paramount importance for Pakistanis to come together to deal honestly with their internal political and economic differences. Doing so will help Pakistan's large young population realize their full potential to join the ranks of the world's top ten economies. 

Here's a Wall Street Journal video on US-China Competition in Pakistan:

https://youtu.be/wvw-85CC1t4


 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Is Shahzad Chaudhry Right "On India"?

The Pakistan Air Force's Retired Air Vice Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry has recently penned an op-ed for The Express Tribune newspaper calling on his country to make peace with India. He argues that "India is relevant to the world", implying that Pakistan is not. Chaudhry believes that the "gap between Pakistan and India is now unbridgeable".  Chaudhry concludes his piece with the following recommendation: "It is time to recalibrate our policy towards India and be bold enough to create a tri-nation consensus, along with China, focusing on Asia to be the spur for wider economic growth and benefit".

Prime Minister Indian PM Modi Boasts of Having "56 inch Chest"


History of India-Pakistan Peace Talks:

While I completely support Chaudhry's call for Pakistan to make peace with India, I do wonder why India's Hindu Supremacist Prime Minister Narendra Modi would even seriously entertain such a thought if "India is relevant to the world" and Pakistan is not? And if Modi does agree to talks, what kind of peace would come out of such talks?  Would it be similar to Bangladesh-India peace based on client-patron relationship? Retired senior Indian officials like Shyam Saran and AS Dulat have blamed Indian security establishment for past failures to reach a peace deal with Pakistan. 

I also question Chaudhry's idea of creating "a tri-nation consensus" with India and China. Why would China agree to such an arrangement while both Asian giants are seeking to establish regional hegemony? Why wouldn't China pursue its own version of Monroe Doctrine in Asia? 

Let me expand on the above two points about "relevance" of India and Pakistan and "tri-nation consensus" with China. 

Pakistan's Global Relevance:

Chaudhry argues that "India is relevant to the world". So is Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has pursued a policy of internationally isolating Pakistan for the last 8 years. Indian diplomats and mainstream media have engaged in a concerted campaign to hurt Pakistan diplomatically and economically during this period. Even the sport of cricket has not been spared.  All of the available evidence suggests that this Indian campaign has failed.  

Pakistan PM with Other World Leaders at SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Source: Xinhua

A prominent Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta has recently summarized the reasons for the Modi government's failure to achieve its objectives relative to Pakistan. Gupta argues that Pakistan is too important to be ignored or isolated by the international community. He says, "Pakistan is too big in terms of population, too powerful militarily, too Muslim, too nuclear and too well located to be isolated". 

Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif with President and Mrs. Biden. Source: White House

Here are some of the key points Shekhar Gupta makes in episode 1093 of his show Cut The Clutter : 

1.Pakistan is our most important neighbor. We must focus on Pakistan.

2, We can not ignore Pakistan in India because the world can not ignore Pakistan

3. The Western world has an intrinsic relationship with Pakistan which doesn't go away

4. The West does not see Pakistan as so useful to them today and yet Pakistan can not be isolated.

5. You can see all the indications that Pakistan is not isolated.

6. A lot of (Indian) TV channels say Pakistan is isolated but the evidence doesn't support it.

7. Pakistan FM visited Washington and met his counterpart Tony Blinken. 

8. Pakistan Army Chief has received a warm welcome at the US Defense Dept and met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Bajwa matters more than the Pakistan Defense Minister. Nobody knows his name.

9. US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome, a career diplomat, has visited "Pakistan Occupied Kashmir" and called it Azad Kashmir...Azad means free.

10. When the chips are down in the region Pakistan is the ally Americans reach out to.

11. The US does not want Pakistan to drift to China.

12. German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has spoken about Kashmir...the K word. She has asked for the UN to help solve the Kashmir issue.

13. Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa is not a warmonger. He wants to normalize ties with India. He wants to trade with India. He doesn't want Faiz Hameed to succeed him. He used to be the ISI chief and took credit for the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. Do the Americans have leverage here?

14. Where does Pakistan's unique power come from? Why can't Pakistan be ignored? Why can't Pakistan be isolated?

15. The Indian public needs to understand it.

16. Pakistan is too big in terms of population, too powerful militarily, too Muslim, too nuclear and too well located to be isolated.

17. Pakistan has the 5th largest population and its population is growing fast. It could soon exceed Indonesia to become the largest Muslim nation in the world.

18. Pakistan has the 5th strongest military in the world.

19. In terms of nuclear weapons, Pakistan has the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

20. Pakistan is too well located to be isolated. It has a geo-strategic location. Pakistan is the western gateway to China. Pakistan opened China's ties with the US. And then helped the US defeat the Soviet Union.

21. The factors that made Pakistan such a strong ally to the US still exist. Don't blame the Pakistanis for it.

22. India is not willing to commit to an alliance with the US.

23. Imran Khan tried to change Pakistan's foreign policy to be more like India's but he failed.

Tri-nation Consensus:

Prime Minister Modi's revocation of Article 370 and annexation of Jammu and Kashmir as Indian union territories have angered not just Pakistan but also China. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord. China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, lays claim to the Ladakh region. It has objected to India making it a union territory.

Since Modi's annexation of disputed territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, China has dramatically stepped up pressure on India in Ladakh. China has increased its troop presence, killed and injured dozens of Indian soldiers and taken at least a thousand kilometers of territory claimed by India. As a result, India has had to move troops from the line of control (LoC) with Pakistan to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. 

Indian Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi summarized the situation well when he said, "China has taken our land. They are beating out soldiers. The threat of China Is clear. And the government is hiding it, ignoring it. China is preparing for an offensive in Ladakh and Arunachal. And the government of India is sleeping". 


India-Bangladesh Ties:

India's relations with Bangladesh are essentially patron-client relations. This fact became amply clear when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina recently visited New Delhi to seek political and economic assistance from the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Modi-Hasina Delhi 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". 

India-Pakistan Gap: 

There's no question that Pakistan is in the midst of a major economic crisis. The country's economic performance is dismal right now. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that Pakistan, with its youngest population in Asia, has a bright future ahead if its leaders can resolve the internal political situation. 

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

In fact, 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. 

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. 

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

India's Kautilya Doctrine: 

“Every neighboring state is an enemy and the neighboring state's neighbor is a friend.”
 ― Kautilya, The Arthashastra

The name of Kautilya, meaning crooked, is invoked by former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran's book “How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century”.  This invocation of Kautilya in the title of the book makes the above quote about "neighboring state is an enemy" particularly relevant to how Indian policymakers like Shyam Saran see Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Kautilya presented a theory of international relations called the “circle of states,” or Rajamandala. It says hostile states are those that border the ruler’s state, forming a circle around it. In turn, states that surround this set of hostile states form another circle around the circle of hostile states. This second circle of states can be considered the natural allies of the ruler’s state against the hostile states that lie between them. Put more succinctly, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  

Pakistanis like AVM Shahzad Chaudhry must understand that India's foreign policy has always been and continues to be guided by the Kautilya Doctrine. 

Monday, January 9, 2023

Climate "Loss and Damage": Pakistan Gets Flood Aid Pledges of $10 Billion

Pakistan has received pledges of $10 billion worth of loans and grants to rebuild after devastating floods last year, according to Bloomberg News. The amount pledged exceeds the $8 billion that Pakistan sought at the United Nations Donors Conference that concluded today in Geneva, Switzerland. The massive floods affected 33 million people living on vast swathes of land in rural Sindh and Balochistan. The flood waters killed an estimated 1700 people and  millions of animals. The floods also washed away millions of acres of standing crops, tens of thousands of homes and thousands of kilometers of roads. The total flood damage is estimated at $33 billion in economic losses, and cost of rebuilding is estimated at $16.5 billion. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attended in-person, while world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took part virtually. 

UN Donors Conference For Pakistan Flood Aid in Geneva, Switzerland. Source: Reuters

UN Secretary General  António Guterres has passionately advocated for immediate help for the people in Pakistan affected by the severe floods resulting from climate change.  “We need to be honest about the brutal injustice of loss and damage suffered by developing countries because of climate change,” he told the gathering in Geneva. “If there is any doubt about loss and damage – go to Pakistan. There is loss. There is damage. The devastation of climate change is real.” Mr. Guterres added that people in South Asia are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts than elsewhere, and his “heart broke” when he saw the devastation left behind from Pakistan’s floods. “No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan,” he said. “But it was especially bitter to watch that country’s generous spirit being repaid with a climate disaster of monumental scale.”  

After receiving the pledges, Prime Minister Sharif assured all donors and lenders that "every penny will be used in a transparent fashion. He said his government has prepared a comprehensive “4RF” framework, to strive for “recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and resilience”. 

Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank pledged $4.2 billion accounting for the largest share of the total amount of $10 billion. The World Bank pledged $2 billion, Asian Development Bank $1.5 billion, France $345 million, China $100 million, US $100 million, European Union $93 million, Germany $88 million and Japan $77 million. 

At COP27, the United Nations climate summit, Pakistan led the fight for funding to compensate nations for “loss and damage”. Pakistan had the support of 134 developing nations. Earlier at COP26 in Scotland, discussions were mainly focused on funding "mitigation" and "adaptation", not compensation for "loss and damage".  

Pakistan Pavilion at COP27 Conference in Sharm Al-Sheikh, Egypt

The "loss and damage" agenda item was first proposed by Pakistan during talks at Bonn after the country suffered heavy losses in unprecedented floods that hit a third of the country.  “My country, Pakistan, has seen floods that have left 33 million lives in tatters and have caused loss and damage amounting to 10% of the GDP,” said Ambassador Munir Akram, the 2022 chair of the G77—a group of 134 developing countries, at the opening session of COP27 at Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt. 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions By Country/Region. Source: The World

Pakistan has contributed only 0.28% of the CO2 emissions but it is among the biggest victims of climate change. The US, Europe, India, China and Japan, the world's biggest polluters, must accept responsibility for the catastrophic floods in Pakistan and climate disasters elsewhere. A direct link of the disaster in Pakistan to climate change has been confirmed by a team of 26 scientists affiliated with World Weather Attribution, a research initiative that specializes in rapid studies of extreme events, according to the New York Times

Top 5 Current Polluters. Source: Our World in Data


Currently, the biggest annual CO2 emitters are China, the US, India and Russia. Pakistan's annual CO2 emissions add up to just 235 million tons. On the other hand, China contributes 11.7 billion tons, the United States 4.5 billion tons, India 2.4 billion tons, Russia 1.6 billion tons and Japan 1.06 billion tons. 

Pakistan's Annual CO2 Emission. Source: Our World in Data

The United States has contributed 399 billion tons (25%) of CO2 emissions, the highest cumulative carbon emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. The 28 countries of the European Union (EU28), including the United Kingdom, come in second with 353 billion tons of CO2 (22%), followed by China with 200 billion tons (12.7%). 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan's cumulative CO2 contribution in its entire history is just 4.4 billion tons (0.28%). Among Pakistan's neighbors, China's cumulative contribution is 200 billion tons (12.7%),  India's 48 billion tons (3%) and Iran's 17 billion tons (1%).  

Developing Asian Nations' CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan has contributed little to climate change but it has become one of its biggest victims. In the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, signatories agreed to recognize and “address” the loss and damage caused by those dangerous climate impacts, according to the Washington Post. In 2021, at the major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, negotiators from developing countries tried to establish a formal fund to help the countries like Pakistan most affected by climate disasters. It was blocked by rich countries led by the Biden administration. Pakistan finally succeeded in acceptance of "loss and damage" at COP27 conference in 2022. The UN-sponsored Pakistan Donors Conference in Geneva this year is an important milestone and a good start toward practically helping the victims of climate change in developing nations.   



Sunday, January 1, 2023

Digital Pakistan 2022: Broadband Penetration Soars to 90% of 15+ Population

The year 2022 was a very rough year for Pakistan. The nation was hit by devastating floods that badly affected tens of millions of people. Macroeconomic indicators took a nose dive as political instability reached new heights. In the middle of such bad news, Pakistan saw installation of thousands of kilometers of new fiber optic cable, inauguration of a new high bandwidth PEACE submarine cable connecting Karachi with Africa and Europe, and millions of new broadband subscriptions. Broadband penetration among 140 million (59% of 236 million population) Pakistanis in  the15-64 years age group reached almost 90%. This new digital infrastructure helped grow technology adoption in the country. 

Internet and Mobile Phone Banking Growth in 2021-22. Source: State Bank of Pakistan


Fintech: 

Mobile phone banking and internet banking grew by 141.1% to Rs. 11.9 trillion while Internet banking jumped 81.1% to reach Rs10.2 trillion.  E-commerce transactions also accelerated, witnessing similar trends as the volume grew by 107.4% to 45.5 million and the value by 74.9% to Rs106 billion, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.  

Pakistan Startup Funding in 2022. Source: i2i Investing


Fintech startups continued to draw investments in the midst of a slump in venture funding in Pakistan. Fintech took $10 million from a total of $13.5 million raised by tech startups in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the data of Invest2Innovate (i2i), a startups consultancy firm. In Q3 of 2022, six out of the 14 deals were fintech startups, compared to two deals of e-commerce startups. Fintech startups raised $38 million which is 58% of total funding ($65 million) in Q3 2022, compared to e-commerce startups that raised 19% of total funding. The i2i data shows that in Q3 2022, fintech raised 37.1% higher than what it raised in Q2 2022 ($27.7 million). Similarly, in Q2 2022, the total investment of fintech was 63% higher compared to what it raised in Q1 2022 ($17 million).

E-Commerce in Pakistan. Source: State Bank of Pakistan


E-Commerce:

E-commerce continued to grow in the country. Transaction volume soared 107.4% to 45.5 million while the value of transactions jumped 75% to Rs. 106 billion over the prior year, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. 

Pakistan Among World's Top 10 Smartphone Markets. Source: NewZoo


PEACE Cable: 

Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable, a  96 TBPS (terabits per second), 15,000 km long submarine cable, went live in 2022. It brought to 10 the total number of submarine cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1. 

Fiber Optic Cable: 

The first phase of a new high bandwidth long-haul fiber network has been completed jointly by One Network, the largest ICT and Intelligent Traffic and Electronic Tolling System operator in Pakistan, and Cybernet, a leading fiber broadband provider.  The joint venture has deployed 1,800 km of fiber network along motorways and road sections linking Karachi to Hyderabad (M-9 Motorway), Multan to Sukkur (M-5 Motorway), Abdul Hakeem to Lahore (M-3 Motorway), Swat Expressway (M-16), Lahore to Islamabad (M-2 Motorway) and separately from Lahore to Sialkot (M-11 Motorway), Gujranwala, Daska and Wazirabad, according to Business Recorder newspaper.

Mobile telecom service operator Jazz and Chinese equipment manufacturer Huawei have commercially deployed FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input and Output) solution based on 5G technology on a large scale in Pakistan. Jazz and Huawei claim it represents a leap into the 4.9G domain to boost bandwidth. 

Pakistan Telecom Indicators November 2022. Source: PTA


Pakistan's RAAST P2P System Taking Off. Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Broadband Subscriptions:

Pakistan has 124 million broadband subscribers as of November, 2022, according to Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.  Broadband penetration among 140 million (59% of 236 million) Pakistanis in 15-64 years age bracket is 89%.  Over 20 million mobile phones were locally manufactured/assembled in the country in the first 11 months of the year. 

Bank Account Ownership in Pakistan. Source: Karandaaz


Financial Inclusion Doubled In Pakistan in 5 Years. Source: Karandaaz


Documenting Pakistan Economy:

Pakistan's unbanked population is huge, estimated at 100 million adults, mostly women. Its undocumented economy is among the world's largest,  estimated at 35.6% which represents approximately $542 billion at GDP PPP levels, according to World Economics. The nation's tax to GDP ratio (9.2%) and formal savings rates (12.72%) are among the lowest. The process of digitizing the economy could help reduce the undocumented economy and increase tax collection and formal savings and investment in more productive sectors such as export-oriented manufacturing and services. Higher investment in more productive sectors could lead to faster economic growth and larger export earnings. None of this can be achieved without some semblance of political stability. 

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