Thursday, June 27, 2024

Growing Pakistani Diaspora in North America

The US government granted 16,320 immigrant visas to Pakistani nationals. Another 11,861 immigrant visas were given to Pakistanis by the Canadian government in the same period.  The total number of new Pakistani immigrants admitted as permanent residents in North America in 2023 was 28,181. 

There are currently over a million Pakistanis living in North America. These include 687,942 Pakistanis in America as of 2020, according to the US Census. And 303,260 Pakistanis residing in Canada as of 2021, according to Statistics Canada. There are nearly 6 million people from India living in North America, according to government data. 

Pakistani Diaspora in North America. Source: US, Canadian Governments

Non-immigrant visas issued annually by the US government to Pakistani passport holders have almost doubled over the last 5 years, from 40,679 in 2018 to 80,852 in 2023, according to Gallup Pakistan. Meanwhile, immigrant visas issued annually to Pakistani citizens have increased by about 60% in the last 5 years, from 10,114 in 2018 to 16,320 in 2023. 

Pakistani immigrants make up the 25th largest group in America, far behind immigrants from Mexico, India and China. In Canada, Pakistani immigrants are the 5th largest group of foreign-born residents. 

Top 8 Source Countries of Foreign Students in US. Source: IIE OpenDoors

Pakistani student enrollment in America's institutions of higher learning rose 16% last year, outpacing the record 12% growth in the overall number of international students hosted by the country. This puts Pakistan among eight sources in the top 20 countries with the largest increases in US enrollment. India saw the biggest increase at 35%, followed by Ghana 32%, Bangladesh and Nepal at 28% each, Pakistan 16%, Colombia 13%, Italy 10% and Spain 5%. 

"During 2022-2023, there were 10,164 Pakistani students, compared to 8,772 in the previous year, indicating an impressive 16% increase," according to IIE Open Doors Report for 2022-23. There has been an overall 33% increase in enrollment of Pakistani students in US colleges and universities. 

The average annual household earnings of Pakistani-Americans are $149,178, according to the latest update issued by the United States Census Bureau for 2022. The update estimates the median income of 132,958 Pakistani-American households at $106,281. Average is calculated by adding up all incomes and dividing it by total number of households. Median income level divides the top 50% of families from the bottom 50%.  It shows that Pakistani-American household incomes are roughly at par with the Asian-American households' median of $104,646 and average of $149,363. The highest income ethnic group in the US are Asian Indian households with a median of $152,341 and average of $197,732.  Asians are significantly richer than Whites (mean $78,636, average $112,415) and African Americans (mean $52,238, average $76,888). The word "alone" in the labels in the following table excludes mixed race households. 

South Asian Americans Households. Source: US Census Update 2022

Asian Americans are the best educated racial group in the United States. From 2012 to 2022, the percentage of adults age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more increased from 34.5% to 41.8% for the non-Hispanic White population; from 21.2% to 27.6% for the Black population; from 51% to 59.3% for the Asian population; and from 14.5% to 20.9% for the Hispanic population, according to the US Census
Educational Attainment By Racial Groups (Source: US Census)

Among Asian Americans, the Indians (three quarters) have the highest educational attainment with at least a bachelor's degree, followed by Koreans and Pakistanis (about 60%), followed by the rest.  

Asian American Educational Achievement by Countries of Origin. Source: US Census

Asians, including Chinese/Taiwanese, Indians and Pakistanis, tend to be concentrated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology) fields where incomes are generally much higher than in other occupations. 

As of 2019, there were 35,000 Pakistan-born STEM workers in the United States, according to the American Immigration Council. They included information technologists, software developers, engineers and scientists. These figures do not include medical doctors and healthcare workers. 

Foreign-Born STEM Workers in America. Source: American Immigration Council

Foreign-born workers make up a growing share of America's STEM workforce. As of 2019, foreign-born workers made up almost a quarter of all STEM workers in the country. This is a significant increase from 2000, when just 16.4% of the country’s STEM workforce was foreign-born. Between 2000 and 2019, the overall number of STEM workers in the United States increased by 44.5 percent, from 7.5 million to more than 10.8 million, according to American Immigration Council

India and Pakistan Among Top 10 Countries Receiving US Immigrant Visas. Source: Visual Capitalist

India topped the top 10 list of foreign-born STEM workers with 721,000, followed by China (273,000), Mexico (119,000), Vietnam (100,000), Philippines (87,000), South Korea (64,000), Canada (56,000), Taiwan (53,000), Russia (45,000) and Pakistan (35,000).  Enormous number of Indian STEM workers in the United States can at least partly be attributed to the fact that India's "body shops" have mastered the art of gaming the US temporary work visa system. Last year, Indian nationals sponsored by "body shops" like Cognizant, Infosys and TCS received 166,384 H1B visas for work in the United States. By comparison, only 1,107 Pakistanis were granted H1B visas in Fiscal Year 2022.  In addition to H1B work visas, 9,300 Indian nationals and 7,200 Pakistani nationals received immigrant visas to settle in the United States as permanent residents in 2021. 

Doctor Brain Drain. Source: Statista

In addition to 35,000 Pakistan-born STEM workers, there were 12,454 Pakistan-born and Pakistan-trained medical doctors practicing in the United States, making the South Asian nation the second largest source of medical doctors in America.  Pakistan produced 157,102 STEM graduates last year, putting it among the world's top dozen or so countries. About 43,000 of these graduates are in information technology (IT).

H1B Visas Issued in Pakistan. Source:

Every year, applicants sponsored by Indian body shops claim the lion's share of H1B visas. In 2022, Indians received 166,384 new H1B visas, accounting for nearly three quarters of all such visas issued by the US government. The figures reported as India IT exports are in fact the wages earned by millions of Indian H1B workers in the United States.  

Many developing countries are experiencing brain drain. But India is losing its best brightest at a much faster rate than others. Some call it "The Great Indian Brain Drain". This is the reason why Indians in the United States are the best educated and the highest earning group.  In a recently published book titled "The Other One Percent", authors Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur and Nirvikar Singh explain this phenomenon. 

They write that the vast majority of Indians who migrate to the United States are from privileged backgrounds in terms of caste, class and education. They have gone through “a triple selection” process that gave Indian-Americans a boost over typically poor and uneducated immigrants who come to the United States from other countries. The first two selections took place in India. As explained in the book: “The social system created a small pool of persons to receive higher education, who were urban, educated, and from high/dominant castes.” India’s examination system then selected individuals for specialized training in technical fields that also happened to be in demand in the United States. Kapur estimated that the India-American population is nine times more educated than individuals in the home country. Here's an excerpt of it:

"A major focus of this book is on demonstrating and understanding the multiple selections that shaped the Indian-American population. These selections applied not only to education (that, in terms of attaining college degrees, made the India-born population three times more educated than that in the host country and nine times more educated than the home country’s population) but also to class and caste (favoring, by large margins, the “upper” and dominant classes and castes of India), profession (engineering, IT, and health care), and both the region of origin (Gujarati and Punjabi were overrepresented in the first two phases, and Telugu and Tamil in the third phase) and region of settlement (in specific metropolitan clusters in and around New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Houston and Dallas). In addition to direct selection is what we call the “selection+” advantage: we suggest that group characteristics or norms, such as the fact that Indians had the highest propensity to live in married-couple households of any major immigrant group, added to the advantages of being an already selected group. We show, in particular, how family norms were useful in keeping the Indian-American poverty level low (under 5 percent) and family income high (the highest in the United States). It is also likely that the selection process enabled, without explicitly intending to, the generation of high levels of social capital (through linguistic/ professional networks such as Gujarati entrepreneurs in the hotel industry, Telugu and Tamil workers in the IT industry, IIT engineers, Malayali nurses, Bengali academics, etc.)"

Related Links:

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Are Some Pakistanis Feeding into Indian Delusions of Grandeur?

Many Pakistanis are singing effusive praises of India on social media platforms and racking up millions of views, according to a report in the Indian  mainstream media. These Pakistanis are boosting their earnings by feeding into the Indians' delusions. The "India Today" report claims that, in the last 6 months alone, the number of channels using the hashtag #pakistanireactiononindia on YouTube increased by 1,000, and the number of videos by 5,000. Calling it an "industry" is an acknowledgment of the profit motive of the Pakistani YouTubers. These YouTubers steer clear of anything that even remotely challenges their unadulterated praise of India. For example, they make no mention of India ranking worse than Pakistan on income poverty, hunger and overall happiness. Nor do they talk about thousands of Indian farmers killing themselves every year.  Nor do they mention extremely high levels of unemployment in Modi's India. 

Modi Claims "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest)

India's Population:

India is the world's most populous country with a population (1.4 billion) over 6 times larger than Pakistan's (230 million). India has the world's largest number of social media users and hundreds of millions of book readers. The profit motive for praising India extends beyond just the social media. It also includes book publishers and authors who see an opportunity to profit from it. India's English language book market is the world's third largest, behind that of the United States at the top and of the United Kingdom at number 2.  It is the fastest growing market today which will make India the world's number 1 market in the next ten years.  It could happen sooner if the book sales in the US and the UK decline faster or those in India grow more rapidly than they are already.

Indian Delusions: 

Delusions are a symptom of mental disorders, and are characterized by a belief in something that is not true. Here's how India Today describes what it calls "The Praise India Industry" and how it is received by Indians: 

"Indians love people from abroad lauding their achievements, but seem to derive the biggest satisfaction when Pakistanis gush over India's success. Pakistanis have understood that and have tapped into that, creating an entire industry of YouTubers in Pakistan". 

India's leaders and their western boosters have been promoting the country as an emerging superpower to counter rising China. They cite the size of India's economy, demography, military and consumer market to back up their assertions. These claims are challenged by India's former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman, former head of IMF in India, in an article titled "India's Size Illusion".  In a similar article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious questions about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region. 

Akhand Bharat (Greater India) Mural in India's New Parliament Building

Modi's 56 inch Chest:

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's 2019 failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  These events should force India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

India's Illusions:

Indian government's former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has enumerated and challenged arguments for what he calls "India's Size Illusion" as follows:

1. India’s economic size has not translated into commensurate military strength. Part of the problem is simple geography. (German Chancellor Otto Von) Bismarck (1815-1898) supposedly said that the US is bordered on two sides by weak neighbors and on two sides by fish. India, however, does not enjoy such splendid isolation. Ever since independence, it has been confronted on its Western frontier by Pakistan, a highly armed, chronically hostile, and often military-ruled neighbor. More recently, India’s northern neighbor, China, also has become aggressive, repudiating the territorial status quo, occupying contested land in the Himalayas, reclaiming territory in the east, and building up a large military presence along India’s borders. So, India may have fish for neighbors along its long peninsular coast, but on land it faces major security challenges on two fronts.

2.  Then there is the question of market size. As Pennsylvania State University’s Shoumitro Chatterjee and one of us (Subramanian) have shown, India’s middle-class market for consumption is much smaller than the $3 trillion headline GDP number suggests, because many people have limited purchasing power while a smaller number of well-off people tend to save a lot. In fact, the effective size of India’s consumer market is less than $1 trillion, far smaller than China’s and even smaller relative to the potential world export market of nearly $30 trillion.

Indo-Pacific Dominance:

In an article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious doubts about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

1. China has been building dozens of advanced warships that seem poised to head toward the vast body of water through which 80 percent of global seaborne trade transits.....Indeed, a deeper (US) partnership with India — the world’s largest democracy, on an upward economic trajectory, seemingly perfectly positioned to counter China on land and at sea — has been something of a holy grail for at least four U.S. administrations.......Yet what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a decade ago called a “strategic bet” on India does not seem to be paying off. Indian naval and political power in the Indian Ocean region is faltering, giving way to influence by Beijing. Many of these problems are of India’s own making.

2. There is increasing discussion and advocacy among China’s foreign policy scholars and former officials about an Indian Ocean fleet. Indeed, the idea is consistent with China’s efforts to acquire military facilities in the Horn of Africa, on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast, in Myanmar and in the UAE, which offers access to the Persian Gulf. China has also engaged in intelligence collection efforts in the region and increased its port visits and diplomatic presence.

India's "Accidental" Missile Firing:

India's March 9 "accidental firing" of Brahmos nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile into Pakistan has raised serious questions about the safety of the Indian nuclear arsenal. Do the people in charge of India's nukes have basic competence to handle such weapons? Was this really an "unauthorized" or "accidental" firing? Why was there a long delay by New Delhi in acknowledging the incident?  Could Pakistan be blamed if it assumed that extremist right-wing Hindu elements had taken control of the missile system in India and fired it deliberately into Pakistani territory? Has the Indian government risked the lives of 1.6 billion people of South Asia?

Could this "errant" missile have brought down commercial passenger planes that were in the air at the time of this "accidental" firing? Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg detailing air traffic in the flight path of the Indian Brahmos:

"Several planes passed through the direct trajectory of the missile that day, which flew from the Indian garrison town of Ambala and ended up in Mian Channu in Eastern Pakistan. They included a Flydubai jet heading to Dubai from Sialkot, an IndiGo plane going from Srinagar to Mumbai and an Airblue Ltd. flight from Lahore to Riyadh. All crossed the missile’s trajectory within an hour of its accidental launch, data from flight-tracking application Flightradar24 show.  Other international flights in the vicinity of the missile’s trajectory -- and within its range -- included a Kuwait Airways Co. jet heading to Guangzhou, China from Kuwait City, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Riyadh from New Delhi, and a Qatar Airways service from Kathmandu to Doha, the data show. No advisory to pilots operating in the vicinity -- known as a notice to airmen or NOTAM -- was issued". 

India: A Paper Elephant:

In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir in 2019, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Guess Why Pakistani Analyst Uzair Younus is Making Headlines in India!

Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani: America Does Not Respect India

World Happiness Report: India Among Saddest Nations of the World

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

WB Poverty Update: India Biggest Contributor to Increase in Poverty

India in Crisis: Unemployment, Hunger Persist After Waves of Covid

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?

Is the West Unwittingly Helping Modi Realize His Akhand Bharat Hindutva Dream?

Has Pakistan Lost All Wars? 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Agriculture: A Rare Bright Spot in Pakistan's Economy

Pakistan's agriculture sector grew 6.3% in 2023-24, far outpacing the overall economy that grew just 2.38%, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24.  This is good news for about 40% of the country's population working in the agriculture sector. By contrast, India's agriculture growth slowed to 1.2% in recent quarters. Studies have shown that strong growth in agriculture helps reduce poverty in developing nations like India and Pakistan. 

Snapshot of Pakistan's Economy. Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24

The agriculture growth in Pakistan was the highest in 19 years. All major crops saw significant increases. Wheat output jumped 11.6% from 28.2 million tons last year to 31.4 million tons this year, the economic survey said. Cotton, severely damaged by floods and rains last year, reached 10.2 million bales compared to 4.9 million bales last year, growing by 108.2%. Rice output also saw a significant increase — up by 34.8% — reaching 9.9 million tons compared to 7.3 million tons. 

Strong crop output is in part the result of higher yields from increased water and fertilizer availability to farmers, according to the economic survey. 

The survey said the water availability during Kharif 2023 increased to 61.9 million acre-feet (MAF) from 43.3 MAF in Kharif 2022 (when the floods hit). For Rabi 2023-24, the water availability was 30.6 MAF, showing an increase of 4.1% over Rabi 2022-23.

Domestic fertilizer production during FY24 (July-March) rose by 17.3% to 3.25 million tons compared to 2.77 million tons in the same period of FY23. Fertilizer imports also increased by 23.7%, reaching 524,000 ton­s. The availability of fertilizer increased by 18.1% to 3.77 million tons. 

Pakistan's Rice Exports Soared 80% in Current Fiscal Year. Source: FT

The value of Pakistan’s rice exports soared to $3.6 billion over the last 11 months, up from $2 billion in July to May 2022-23. Its previous record for was 4.8 million metric tons of rice exports, valued at about $2.5 billion in 2021-22, according to the Financial Times

Pakistan is among the world's largest food producing countries. It produces large and growing quantities of cereals, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. Currently, Pakistan produces about 38 million tons of cereals (mainly wheat, rice and corn), 17 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 70 million tons of sugarcane, 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Total value of the nation's agricultural output exceeds $70 billion.  Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help the farm sector become much more productive to serve both domestic and export markets.  

Agriculture is considered a key tool for reducing poverty in developing countries like Pakistan. It employs almost half of the rural workforce, contributes around 20% to the country's GDP, and provides raw materials for agro-based industries, according to a study by Yaping Liu, Asad Amin, Samma Faiz Rasool, and Qamar Uz Zaman.  However, some studies suggest that agriculture may only help mitigate rural poverty in the long term, while other sources say that sustainable agriculture practices can significantly improve agricultural production and reduce poverty.

Related Links:

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Republican Congressman Exposes Powerful Israel Lobby's Bullying Tactics

In a rare act of courage by a serving congressman, Rep Thomas Massie of Kentucky has detailed strong-arm tactics of the Israel lobby to ensure unquestioning support for Israel. He said that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), also known as the Israel lobby, is unique in that it has designated representatives (Massie calls them "AIPAC persons") assigned to each Republican member of Congress to ensure the lawmakers vote for bills Israel supports. Massie has now banned his assigned  "AIPAC Person" from his office. 

In spite of working on behalf of a foreign government, "AIPAC persons" are not registered as foreign agents under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act). Others, such as Paul Manafort (working for Russia) and Ghulam Nabi Fai (representing Pakistan's interests), have been prosecuted, convicted and jailed for violating FARA. No other foreign country has such an organization focusing individually on each member of Congress. There is no British person or Russian person or Chinese person assigned to each member of Congress, Massie says.  He has so far defied and survived the onslaught of the Israel lobby which has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in attack ads against him to defeat him in his district. He won over 70% of the votes cast in the recent primary against his Republican challenger funded by AIPAC. Massie is a serious technology entrepreneur and a businessman. He is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with several inventions to his credit. He is a libertarian who opposes all foreign aid to any country, not just Israel. 

Rep Thomas Massie (R-Ky)

When asked why other members of Congress do not talk about it, here's how Massie explained it to Tucker Carlson: "It doesn’t benefit anybody. Why would they want to tell their constituents that they’ve basically got a buddy system with somebody who’s representing a foreign country? It doesn’t benefit the congressman for people to know that. So they’re not going to tell you that".  

Massie said the current Congress has spent more time in support of Israel than on any other issues, including domestic issues, in the last year, raising the question as to who do these Congressmen really work for: the American people who sent them to Washington to solve their problems or a foreign government? 

Israel is the Largest Recipient of US Foreign Aid. Source: CFR

Massie cited several bills recently passed by the US Congress under pressure from AIPAC. Among them are billions of dollars in aid to Israel, the TikTok ban and the bill against anti-semitism which Massie describes as a ban on the New Testament that says "Jews killed Jesus". Massie has called the TikTok ban a "Trojan Horse" for First Amendment rights of free speech. 

Congressman Massie's Tweet. Source: X

Massie is also opposed to aiding Israel because, as he puts it: "Approximately 1% of Gaza’s CIVILIAN population has been wiped out by Israel in 7 months. We should not fund this war". 

US Military Aid to Israel. Source: CFR

Here's part of the exchange between Carlson and Massie that occurred on the Tucker Carlson show

MASSIE: It’s like your babysitter. Your AIPAC babysitter who is always talking to you for AIPAC. They’re probably a constituent in your district, but they are, you know, firmly embedded in AIPAC.

CARLSON: And every member has something like this.

MASSIE: Every Re– I don’t know how it works on the Democrats’ side. But that’s how it works on the Republican side. And when they come to D.C., you go have lunch with them. And they’ve got your cell number and you have conversations with them. So I’ve had like–

CARLSON: That’s absolutely crazy.

MASSIE: I’ve had four members of Congress say, “I’ll talk to my AIPAC person.” And like that’s clearly what we call them, my AIPAC guy. I’ll talk to my AIPAC guy and see if I can get them to, you know, dial those ads back.

CARLSON: Why have I never heard this before?

MASSIE: It doesn’t benefit anybody. Why would they want to tell their constituents that they’ve basically got a buddy system with somebody who’s representing a foreign country? It doesn’t benefit the congressman for people to know that. So they’re not going to tell you that.

The Israel lobby showers its friendly politicians with money from wealthy Jewish donors. It also works to ensure the defeat of those politicians who dare to speak out against Israeli policies in the Middle East. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, put it on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

President Jimmy Carter who helped broker peace between Israel and Egypt knows the Israel lobby well. He told Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now" many years ago: "I think it’s accurate to say that not a single member of Congress with whom I’m familiar would possibly speak out and call for Israel to withdraw to their legal boundaries or to publicize the plight of the Palestinians or even to call publicly and repeatedly for good faith peace talks.....  And I would say that if any member of Congress did speak out, as I’ve just described, they would probably not be back in the Congress the next term ". 

The fact that Republican Congressman Massie and several progressive Democratic Congresspeople are questioning the power of the Israel lobby in shaping the US Middle East policy is an indication of a growing rebellion against the strong-arm tactics used by AIPAC to bully US elected representatives to blindly support Israel. Could it be that the mortal fear of the AIPAC is just beginning recede in Washington DC? Or is it something similar to what is happening on the US college and university campuses

Here's a link to the full video of Tucker Carlson's interview with Rep Thomas Massie: