Saturday, March 23, 2019

Christchurch Massacre: Best and Worst of Humanity

Has the world seen the best and the worst of humanity since the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand? How did New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern handle the aftermath of the tragedy? Is her genuine compassion and decisiveness a shining example of leadership? How was the response to the tragedy from major world leaders like US President Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan? What does it say about them?

Who came out to show support for Muslim communities around the world? How did New Zealanders show solidarity with Muslims? How did Muslims in Silicon Valley deal with the aftermath of the tragedy? Who joined them in mourning?

Who celebrated the massacre of innocent Muslims and why? What do White Nationalism and Hindu Nationalism have in common? Are these two sides of the same coin? Who was BS Moonje and why did he meet Mussolini? Who was Golwalkar and why did he admire Hitler? What is Modi's connection with Golwalkar's RSS movement? What did he say about Hitler's treatment of Jews as "a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by"?

What did Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik say about Hindu Nationalists in his manifesto? Are White Nationalists and Hindu Nationalists reinforcing each other on social media platforms? What role does social media play in promoting extremist ideologies? What can be done to manage this problem?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf (ifaqeer) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


https://youtu.be/BXGWZvTNOkk






Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis

Islamophobia Goes Mainstream in 2017

A Conversation With White Nationalist Jared Taylor on Race in America

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Modi and Trump

Anders Breivik: Islamophobia in Europe and India

Hindu Nationalism Goes Global

Hindutva: The Legacy of the British Raj

Thursday, March 21, 2019

India Among Biggest Losers and Pakistan Among Biggest Gainers in World Happiness Rankings

World Happiness Report 2019 says that India is among the world's biggest losers while Pakistan is among the biggest gainers on World Happiness Index. Under Prime Minister Narendra's Modi's leadership, India's ranking has worsened from 118 in 2016 to 140 in 2019. In the same period, Pakistan's ranking has improved from 92 in 2016 to 67 in 2019. World Happiness index is considered a better representation of people's well-being than other economic and social indicators individually.

World Happiness Trends in India and Pakistan. Source: United Nations
Contrary to the Indian and western media hype about Modi-nomics, it was recently reported that unemployment rate in India has reached its highest in 45 years. Indian GDP growth figures have been challenged as too optimistic by top Indian and western economists. Modi's demonetization has turned out to be a major disaster for India's largely cash-based economy. Farmers are continuing to take their own lives by the thousands each year as the agrarian crisis continues to take its toll. India's community fabric has been fraying with sharp spike in social hostilities against minorities.

Social Hostility Against Minorities in South Asia. Source: Bloomberg

This year's United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network's annual World Happiness Report ranked 156 countries based on 6 indicators: income per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity and corruption.



Countries in Scandinavia continue to to top the list while Sub-Saharan African nations remain at the bottom. Pakistan ranks 67 among 156 countries, tops South Asia region. China ranks 93, Bhutan 95,  Nepal 100, Iran 117, Bangladesh 125, Iraq 126, India 140 and Afghanistan at 154.

Indian Prime Minister Modi has been accused by his critics of stoking tensions with Pakistan ahead of this year's general elections to divert attention from his government's poor performance.  Some analysts believe that recent Indian airstrikes in Pakistan have helped bolster Modi's domestic support among his among his right-wing Hindu Nationalists base.

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist
While Modi may have made domestic political gains, India's international perception as a "great power rising" has suffered a serious setback as a result of its recent military failures against Pakistan.  Pakistan spends only a sixth of India's military budget and ranks 17th in the world, far below India ranking 4th by globalfirepower.com.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Modi's GDP Growth Figures Challenged by Economists

Social Hostilities Spike in India Under Modi

Modi's Demonetization Disaster

Is India a "Paper Elephant"?

Farmers Suicides in India

India's Hindu Nazis

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among top 25

CPEC Myths and Facts

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pakistan Survey Reveals Positive Trends in Children's Health

The latest national health survey in Pakistan indicates rising immunization rates, growing access to skilled health care and declining child mortality rates. However, the improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are real but slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey:

PDHS (Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey) is a nationally-representative household survey that provide data for a wide range of monitoring and impact evaluation indicators in the areas of population, health, and nutrition. It is conducted about every 5 years.

The 2017-18 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (2017-18 PDHS) was carried out by the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), Islamabad, Pakistan.  It involved 16,240 households.  ICF provided technical assistance through The DHS Program, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that provides support and technical assistance in the implementation of population and health surveys in countries worldwide.

Declining infant mortality rate:

The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths in children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births in the same year, is universally regarded as a highly sensitive (proxy) measure of population health.  A declining rate is an indication of improving health. IMR in Pakistan has declined from 86 in 1990-91 to 74 in 2012-13 and 62 in the latest survey in 2017-18.

Pakistan Child Mortality Rates. Source: PDHS 2017-18

During the 5 years immediately preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The child mortality rate was 13 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-5 mortality rate was 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. Eighty-four percent of all deaths among children under age 5 in Pakistan take place before a child’s first birthday, with 57% occurring during the first month of life (42 deaths per 1,000 live births).

Rising Vaccination Rate:

Vaccines are proven to prevent infectious disease and spread of such disease among children and the larger populations. Polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can now be prevented by vaccination.

Childhood Vaccination Rate in Pakistan. Source: PDHS

The latest PDHS survey indicates that 66% of the children in Pakistan have received all basic vaccinations, up from 35% in 1990-91 and 55% in 2012-13. Only 4% have had no vaccinations, down from 28% in 1990-91.

Pre-Natal and Delivery Care:

Access to proper medical care and hygiene during delivery can reduce the risk of complications and infections that may lead to death or serious illness for the mother, baby, or both (Van Lerberghe and De Brouwere 2001; WHO 2006). PDHS survey data show that in Pakistan, 69% of the births in the 5 years preceding the survey were delivered by a skilled provider, and 66% were delivered in a health facility.

Pre-Natal and Delivery Care in Pakistan. Source: PDHS

There has been steady improvement of the maternal health care indicator for women receiving ante-natal care (ANC) from a skilled provider, which increased from 26% in 1990-91 to 86% in 2017-18. Similar improvement in the percentage of deliveries at health facilities has been witnessed; these deliveries increased from 13% to 66%. Also, the percentage of births attended by skilled providers increased from 17% to 69% over the same period of time, according to PDHS 2017-18.

Birth Rates Declining:

Pakistan has seen a steady decline in fertility rates over time, from 5.4 births per woman as reported in the 1990-91 PDHS to 3.6 births per woman in the 2017-18 PDHS—a drop of about two births per woman in almost three decades. However, the decline is minimal in the recent period.


Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in Pakistan. Source: PDHS


There has been a consistent decrease in fertility among all age groups over the last four DHS surveys, though the decline is less pronounced recently.

Human Development Ranking:

It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) represents human progress in one indicator that combines information on people’s health, education and income.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

Child Nutrition in Pakistan. Source: PDHS
Child Nutrition:

PDHS survey shows that the nutritional status of children in Pakistan has improved over the last five years. The percentage of stunted children declined from 45% in 2012-13 to 38% in the 2017-18. A similar downward trend, from 30% to 23%, was observed for underweight children over the same period. Children who are wasted also declined from 11% to 7%. Children who are obese remained at 3% over this period.

Summary:

There are rising vaccination rates and growing access to skilled health care with declining child mortality in Pakistan, according to the latest national health survey in Pakistan. Neonatal mortality rate is down from 55 to 42 per 1,000 births in the last 5 years.  Vaccination rates are up with 66% of the children in Pakistan having received all basic vaccinations in 2017-18, up from 35% in 1990-91 and 55% in 2012-13. Only 4% have had no vaccinations in 2017-18, down from 28% in 1990-91.   Skilled health care professionals are delivering 69% of children now, up from 48% five years ago. 66% of children are now vaccinated, up from 54% five years earlier. Infant mortality rate (IMR) within first year of birth was recorded at 62 deaths per 1,000 live births, down from 74 in the last survey of 2012-13. Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has declined from 5.4 births per woman 990-91 to 3.6 births per woman in 2017-18.   It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

Related Links:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

IRI Pakistan Poll Shows Strong Public Approval For PTI Government

A combined 57% of respondents say that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is doing either a “very good job” (17%) or a “good job” (40%) so far, according to a nationwide poll conducted by International Republican Institute (IRI). It represents the first independent public opinion poll in Pakistan on PTI's popularity since the party won the 2018 general elections.  Overwhelming majority  (84%) say that the election results are either “very accurate” (46%) or “somewhat accurate” (38%). A combined 83% believe that the election was either “completely free and fair” (50%) or “mostly free and fair” (33%).

IRI Pakistan Poll Results. Source: IRI

Imran Khan's Strong Approval:

Majority of Pakistanis (57%) believe Prime Minister Imran Khan's government is doing either a “very good job” (17%) or a “good job” (40%) so far, according to an IRI survey conducted on behalf of the Center for Insights in Survey Research. Data was collected between November 1 and November 22, 2018 through in-home, in-person interviews. The sample consisted of 3,991 respondents aged 18 and older and is representative of voting-age adults nationally. The margin of error was 1.6%.

A combined 56% approve of the PTI government. A plurality of respondents (40%) said that they are willing to give the government time to deliver on campaign promises.

“The survey suggests that the government’s performance will be judged primarily on its ability to address pressing economic concerns,” said Johanna Kao. Inflation was singled out as the most important problem in Pakistan (39%), followed by poverty (18%) and unemployment (15%).  Nearly 77% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 see the lack of jobs as the biggest challenge facing young people in Pakistan.

IRI Pakistan Poll Results. Source: IRI
Confidence in 2018 Election Results:

The poll also indicates high levels of confidence in the results of the July 2018 national elections. A clear majority (84%) say that the election results are either “very accurate” (46%) or “somewhat accurate” (38%). A combined 83% believe that the election was either “completely free and fair” (50%) or “mostly free and fair” (33%).

Summary:

The first independent poll conducted by an international organization shows that the majority (84%) of Pakistanis have confidence in the 2018 elections that resulted in PTI's victory and put Prime Minister Imran Khan in the nation's top elected office. Majority (57%) say that the new government is doing either a “very good job” (17%) or a “good job” (40%) so far.

Related Links:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Army Caps and India's ODI Series Defeat by Australia

When the Indian national cricket team took to the field for its third ODI against Australia in Ranchi on March 8, 2019, they wore military caps to show support for the Indian military against Pakistan. This was an unprecedented act of politicization of international sports on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's watch in India. Pakistan born Usman T. Khawaja, Australia's opening batsman, responded to it with a maiden century that helped his team win by 32 runs after losing first two ODIs.  Khawaja then proceeded to score the series highest total score of 383 to help Australia win the remaining two ODIs and the series 3-2.

Pakistan Born Usman Khawaja Batting for Australia Against India at Ranchi
Usman Tariq Khawaja:

Usman Tariq Khawaja, born in Islamabad, Pakistan, is the first Muslim member of the Australian national cricket team.  He currently represents Australia and Queensland. Khawaja made his first-class cricket debut for New South Wales in 2008 and played his first international match for Australia in January 2011.

Pakistan born Usman T. Khawaja, Australia's opening batsman, responded to Indian team's jingoism with a maiden century that helped his team win the 3rd of 5 ODIs by 32 runs after losing first two ODIs.   Khawaja then proceeded to score the series highest total score of 383 to help Australia win the remaining the remaining two ODIs and the series 3-2. Khawaja was named player of the match for 3rd and 5th ODIs.

India's Sports Jingoism:

In an Op Ed for Huffpost, Indian journalist Binoo John summed up what happened in Ranchi in the following words: "No team in the history of modern cricket has worn military camouflage caps or symbols during an international match to make a statement".

What happened in Ranchi is part of a pattern of Modi-led Indian hostile actions that include an almost total boycott of all cultural and sports exchanges that have historically helped lower tensions between the two South Asian neighbors.  Pakistani artists are no welcome in India's entertainment industry. Pakistan players are banned from Indian cricket leagues.

Politicization of Culture and Sports:

Modi government has completely ignored Indian parliament's foreign affairs committee report that recommended: “Taking a holistic picture, the committee are of the considered opinion that cultural, sporting and humanitarian exchanges need to be approached from a broader perspective as this could emerge as one potential area of creating peace constituencies in both the countries.”

In February 2019, the International Olympic Committee decided to suspend all Indian applications to host future events and urged international sports federations not to stage competitions in the country after two Pakistanis were denied visas to compete in New Delhi.

Hindu Nationalism:

Hindu Nationalists, led by RSS Karsevak Modi and aided by the jingoistic Indian media, are radicalizing India's population by promoting hatred against minorities. Attacking Pakistan fits in well with the Hindu Nationalist Islamophobic narrative. Madhav Golwalkar, considered the founder 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" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS wrote, "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."

Indian Think Tanks:

Hindu Nationalists are aided by what Indian journalist Pankaj Mishra calls "New Delhi’s burgeoning military-intellectual complex is exacerbating rather than moderating the country’s warlike mood". Mishra is referring to India's large and rapidly growing think tank industry with many "armchair generals..marching India into trouble". Here's the relevant excerpt of Mishra's Bloomberg Op Ed about India's think tanks:

"Perched in privately funded think tanks, many of these connoisseurs of “surgical strikes” did not seem in the least shocked or disturbed that an Indian leader who has, as the Economist put it last week, “made a career of playing with fire” was now playing with Armageddon by launching airstrikes into Pakistan. Rather, they echoed the Hindu nationalist consensus that India was now finally dictating the terms of engagement with its rival — a triumphalism shattered the very next day when Pakistan raised its own threshold for conflict with India by striking within Indian territory and bringing down an Indian warplane. Eisenhower’s fear in 1961 of vested interests acquiring “unwarranted influence” is freshly pertinent in today’s New Delhi. With hopes rising that India would soon be a superpower closely allied to the U.S., as well as a strategic counterweight to China, much Indian and foreign money has gone into creating a luxurious ecosystem for strategic experts and foreign-policy analysts".

Here's an Australian 60 Minutes video about Islamabad Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja:

https://youtu.be/OdkY30QGPFE




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Cutting Sports Ties in South Asia

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Is Pakistan Ready for War with India?

Pakistan-Made Airplanes Lead Nation's Defense Exports

Modi's Blunders and Delusions 

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

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Jet

Pakistan Navy Modernization

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Bollywood Eyes Pakistan Market Amid Declining Revenues

Sunday, March 10, 2019

India: Rising Great Power or Paper Tiger?

Is India what The Economist magazine describes a "paper elephant" in spite of huge increases in its military spending? Has this perception been reinforced by post-Pulwama events between India and Pakistan? Have the failures of Indian military in Balakot and Kashmir caused a reassessment of the western narrative that says "India is a rapidly rising and Pakistan is collapsing"?

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist

Do Indians, particularly its Hindu Nationalists, suffer from what Indian diplomat and politician Sashi Tharoor has described as "India's Israel Envy"? Is the Hindu Supremacist ideology similar to Naziism and Fascism? Does it represent a serious threat to world peace? Can it lead to a global disaster with billions dead if the two South Asian nations target each other with nuclear weapons?

Have post-Pulwama events brought Kashmir on the international agenda? New York Times editorial board has written: "As long as #India and Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of #Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences." Does this suggest that Kashmir issue is back on the agenda? IOC, the world's second largest organization of 57 countries, has condemned “in the strongest possible terms recent wave of Indian terrorism in occupied Jammu and Kashmir that has resulted in the deaths of 48 people in the month of November alone, making 2018 one of the deadliest years." Is this a rejection of Indian position on Kashmir?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqir) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com).

https://youtu.be/Xc2oHd-T5qs




Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Rise of "Hindu Nazis" in India

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Is Pakistan Ready for War with India?

Pakistan-Made Airplanes Lead Nation's Defense Exports

Modi's Blunders and Delusions 

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

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Jet

Pakistan Navy Modernization

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Who Won the 1965 War? India or Pakistan?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent 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.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Balakot and Kashmir:

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16".  These claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Western Narrative:

The widely accepted western narrative about India and Pakistan goes like this: "India is rapidly rising while Pakistan is collapsing". In a 2015 report from South Asia, Roger Cohen of New York Times summed it up as follows: "India is a democracy and a great power rising. Pakistan is a Muslim homeland that lost half its territory in 1971, bounced back and forth between military and nominally democratic rule, never quite clear of annihilation angst despite its nuclear weapons".

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist

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, 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".

Ineffective Indian Military:

Academics who have studied Indian military have found that it is ineffective by design. In "Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence",  the author Steven I. Wilkinson, Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale, has argued that the civil-military constraints that have helped prevent a coup have hurt Indian military effectiveness and preparedness in at least three important ways:

(1) the weakening of the army before the 1962 China war;

(2) the problems caused for defense coordination and preparation by unwieldy defense bureaucracy, duplication of functions among different branches and lack of sharing of information across branches and

(3) the general downgrading of pay and perks since independence which has left the army with huge shortage of officers that affected the force's discipline capabilities.

Summary:

India's international perception as a "great power rising" has suffered a serious setback as a result of its recent military failures against Pakistan which spends only a sixth of India's military budget and ranks 17th in the world, far below India ranking 4th by globalfirepower.com.  "Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures 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.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Here's a discussion on the subject:

https://youtu.be/tEWf-6cT0PM




Here's Indian Prime Minister Modi making excuses for his military's failures:

https://youtu.be/QIt0EAAr3PU




Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Drought-Stricken Pakistan Receives Heaviest Snowfall in 48 Years

Pakistan is seeing an unusually wet winter this year after a very long drought. The country's northern areas received up to 1.8 and 2.1 m (6 and 7 feet) snowfall in January and the first week of February 2019, the heaviest in 48 years. Other parts of the country have seen torrential rains and flooding that required launching of relief efforts by Pakistani military and national and provincial disaster management agencies.

Pakistan Rain and Snow. Source: AccuWeather
Abdul Wali Yousafzai, a senior officer in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa irrigation department told Anadolu Agency that the "snowfall and rain will not only help to raise our water table but also be beneficial for our forests that had been affected by drought".  Prime Minister Imran Khan also welcomed it as "a blessing from God".  "The rainfall will raise the water table while the snow will melt into our river. It's a blessing from God," he said.

Unusually wet weather in arid Balochistan has caused deaths, injuries, property losses and displacement of people. At least 13 people are dead and dozens have been injured in the province. In addition, 1,970 houses having collapsed, 565 buildings partially damaged and 227 shops destroyed, according to Balochistan Disaster Management Agency.

Lack of rain and snow has caused recurring droughts in Pakistan since 2000 hitting hard the local population in many parts of Pakistan, Islamic Relief NGO reported February 11. The situation since 2013 has been particularly alarming due to 74% decrease in rainfall impacting hard on water management, agriculture, livestock, health, food security and livelihoods. It is in this context that the heavy snow and rains are being welcomed in the country. This offers at least temporary relief in a drought-stricken land.

The big picture is that Pakistan remains beset by a severe water crisis that could pose an existential threat if nothing is done to deal with it.  The total per capita water availability is about 900 cubic meters per person, putting the country in the water-stressed category. Agriculture sector uses about 95% of the available water. There are significant opportunities to achieve greater efficiency by using drip irrigation systems being introduced in Punjab. The New Water Policy of 2018 is a good start but it requires continued attention with greater investments and focus to deal with all aspects of the crisis.

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

https://youtu.be/nrfF3ppBzpo





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Winter Sports in Pakistan

Groundwater Depletion in Pakistan

Water Scarce Pakistan

Cycles of Drought and Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan to Build Massive Dams

Dust Bowl in Thar Desert Region

Dasht River in Balochistan

Sunday, March 3, 2019

JF-17 Manufacturer's Stock Soars After Pakistan Air Force's Success Against India

Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 Block 2 serial 15-201 fighter jet, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan last week. The news has boosted the stock price of CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Corporation) which jointly developed JF-17 Thunder with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).

JF-17 Thunder Fighter:

The development of JF-17, a modern highly capable and relatively inexpensive fighter jet, is the crowning achievement to-date of the Pakistan-China defense production cooperation. It's being deployed by Pakistan Air Force with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The latest version is capable of launching a variety of nuclear and conventional weapons ranging from smart bombs and air-launched cruise missile Raad to anti-ship missiles.

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) got its start decades ago by setting up maintenance facilities for advanced fighters like French Mirage and US F-16s and by manufacturing Mushshak and Super Mushshak trainer aircraft. It is now also building JF-17s as well as a variety of drones, including combat UAV Burraq being used in Pakistan's war against militants in Waziristan.

India-Pakistan Aerial Combat:

Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 Block 2 serial 15-201 fighter jet, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan last week.

Indian officials have confirmed the loss of IAF's MiG 21, acknowledging that MiG-21 Bison, Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft were all scrambled to head off the PAF strike squadrons over Kashmir.

The confirmation that JF-17 Thunder was used in successful aerial combat came in a tweet from Retired PAF Air Marshal Shahid Latif who tweeted: "Proud to announce, I was project director for JF-17 Thunder program jointly produced by Pakistan and China during the [2001-2008] tenure of general Pervez Musharraf. Today, same jets targeted and shot down Indian jets which entered Pakistani airspace."

Stock Market Reaction:

Within hours of the Pakistan Air Marshall's tweet, the publicly traded shares of Shenzhen-listed Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology (CAC-SCIT), a sister company of JF-17 maker Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC), rose 10% five minutes on Wednesday - hitting the maximum daily increase allowed on the Chinese stock market, according to the South China Morning Post.  The shares in CAC-SCIT, which makes car parts, rose a further 10% on Thursday. CAC is not publicly listed.  CAC-SCIT shares had dropped back 5.57% by midday on Friday.

JF-17 Export Potential:

The JF-17 recently won an export order from Nigeria. Next possible customer is Myanmar where JF-17 was recently seen in an air force parade. The New York Times has reported that a joint China-Pakistan defense manufacturing hubs in Pakistan is being set up to win new export customers among Muslim countries. Pakistan is already in talks with Malaysia for sale of JF-17s to Malaysian Air Force. There is potential to export close to a billion dollars worth of JF-17 Thunders.

PAF's Tail Choppers:

Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui is a member of PAF's 14 Squadron called ‘Tail Choppers’ which was officially re-equipped with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 fighters on February 16, 2017, according to AirForces Monthly magazine.  Here's an excerpt from the magazine:

"The initial batch of 16 JF-17s replaced some of the last remaining Chengdu F-7Ps that had been in service with the ‘Tail Choppers’ at PAF Base Minhas. The ‘Tail Choppers’ became the fifth PAF squadron to operate the type after 26 Squadron ‘Black Spiders’, 16 Squadron ‘Black Panthers’, the Combat Commanders School, and 2 Squadron ‘Minhas’. The squadron was the second to re-equip with Block 2 aircraft. However, it the first to fly the Block 2 operationally with the air-to-air refuelling probe fitted. On June 19, 2017, a JF-17 shot down an Iranian reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Panjgur, Balochistan, 28 miles (45km) inside Pakistani territory."

Summary:

Confirmation that PAF's Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui flying JF-17 Block 2 shot down an Indian fighter jet has boosted investor interest in the aircraft with double digit percentage increase in CAC's share price. It is likely to boost Pakistan's exports of this fighter jet to Nigeria, Myanmar and Malaysia.

Here's a 2018 Pakistani music video featuring Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui:

https://youtu.be/tEgDU5KT9cE




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

China-Pakistan Defense Production Collaboration Irks West

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Is Pakistan Ready for War with India?

Pakistan-Made Airplanes Lead Nation's Defense Exports

Modi's Blunders and Delusions 

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

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Jet

Pakistan Navy Modernization

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Who Won the 1965 War? India or Pakistan?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Balakot & Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16". Both of these claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Pakistani F-16:

PAF's Hasan Siddiqui (above) shot down IAF's Wing Commander Abhi (below)
Indian government and media claimed that an Indian Air Force pilot shot down a Pakistani F-16 on February 26, 2019 over Kashmir. This claim and the evidence offered were examined by Belling Cat, a fact-check site that successfully investigated the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine. Belling Cat's Veli-Pekka Kivimäkithere concluded that "no compelling evidence offered as of yet that an F-16 would have been shot down, and all signs point to MiG-21 wreckage having been on display thus far".

Abhijit Aiyar Mitra, an Indian aviation expert participating in an India Today TV Show, embarrassed the show host on a live show when asked to identify a wrecked engine as being an F-16 engine. The expert correctly stated that Pakistani F-16s are equipped with Pratt and Whitney engines and what the TV host was calling a Pakistani F-16 engine was made by a different manufacturer.

Both Kivimäki and Mitra concluded that the image offered as evidence of Pakistani F-16 engine was in fact from a MiG 21 wreckage.

Balakot Casualties:

Announcing the Indian air strikes in Pakistan, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale claimed the strike killed “a very large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, trainers, senior commanders, and groups of jihadis who were being trained for Fidayeen action were eliminated.” Another senior government official told reporters that about 300 militants had been killed.

The Indian government claim was soon followed by a video clip purportedly capturing a portion of that air strike on social media. Fact Check site snopes.com analyzed this video and declared the Indian claim "false".

Reuter reporters visited the target area in Balkot in Pakistan and talked to an eyewitness who said, “No one died. Only some pine trees died, they were cut down. A crow also died.” Here's an excerpt from the Reuter's report:

People in the area said Jaish-e Mohammad did have a presence, running not an active training camp but a madrassa, or religious school, less than a kilometer from where the bombs fell. “It is Taleem ul Quran madrassa. The kids from the village study there. There is no training,” said Nooran Shah, another villager.

Indian Warplane Down:

There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Summary:

All of the Indian claims about "JeM militant casualties" and shooting down of Pakistani F-16 have been debunked by independent fact-checkers and foreign media reporting on it.  Villagers in Balakot told Reuters that "Only some pine trees died, they were cut down. A crow also died.”  Belling Cat's Veli-Pekka Kivimäkithere and Indian analyst Abhijit Mitra have said that the images of the wreckage being offered as proof of downed F-16 are in fact from MiG-21. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Here's a video clip of Indian aviation expert Abhijit Mitra embarrassing his India Today host:

https://youtu.be/FJ8MmTvRZ8Q