Thursday, November 14, 2019

Two of 265 India-Linked Anti-Pakistan Fake News Sites Located in Pakistan

Researchers at Europe's Disinfo Lab have uncovered a network of 265 online news sites in 65 countries, including Pakistan, using the names and brands of defunct newspapers from the 20th century to push anti-Pakistan media coverage inside the regular news cycle. Two of these sites are located in Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore, according to Disinfo Lab's report. They are linked to social media accounts.  These two sites were spewing disinformation on Pakistan using the names of the long defunct Socialist Weekly (Karachi) and Khalsa Akhbar (Lahore), according to Pakistani researchers.  The real Karachi-based Urdu language Socialist Weekly and Lahore-based Punjabi language Khalsa Akhbar ceased publishing decades ago, long before the advent of online publishing.

Two of 265 Anti-Pakistan Websites in Pakistan. Source: EU Disinfo Lab

The fake news sites were aimed at reinforcing the legitimacy of anti-Pakistan NGOs by providing linkable press materials to reinforce an anti-Pakistan agenda. Two of these anti-Pakistan NGOs named by Disinfo Lab are European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), and Pakistani Women’s Human Rights Organization.

Anti-Pakistan Fake News Network Managed By Indians

EU DisinfoLab found that this anti-Pakistan campaign is managed by Indian stakeholders, with ties to a large network of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from the Srivastava Group. they also discovered that the IP address of the Srivastava Group is also home to the obscure online media “New Delhi Times” and the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which are all based at the same address in New Delhi, India.

Here are some of EU Disinfo Lab findings from these anti-Pakistan websites:

1. Most of them are named after an extinct local newspaper or spoof real media outlets.

2. They republish content from several news agencies (KCNA, Voice of America, Interfax).

3. Coverage of the same Indian-related demonstrations and events;

4. Republications of anti-Pakistan content from the described Indian network (including EP Today, 4NewsAgency, Times Of Geneva, New Delhi Times).

5. Most websites have a Twitter account as well.

But why have they created these fake media outlets? Disinfo Lab's analysis of the content and how it is shared found several ostensible reason for it:

1. Influence international institutions and elected representatives with coverage of specific events and demonstrations.

2. Provide NGOs with useful press material to reinforce their credibility and thus be impactful.

3. Add several layers of media outlets that quote and republish one another, making it harder for the reader to trace the manipulation, and in turn (sometimes) offer a “mirage” of international support.

4. Influence public perceptions on Pakistan by multiplying iterations of the same content available on search engines.

EU Dininfo Lab has shown that India's disinformation campaign goes well beyond planted stories in Indian media; it extends across 65 countries, including Pakistan, with a network of 265 online news sites. It appears that Indian intelligence agencies have stepped up their 5th generation warfare against Pakistan.

Related Links:

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Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

South Asian Contrast: Ayodhya and Kartarpur

November 9, 2019 will go down in South Asian history as a day of sharp contrasts: While Pakistan restored and opened Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur for Sikh pilgrims, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the construction of a Hindu temple on the site where Babri Masjid stood for centuries. Can India and its western apologists still claim to have shared values?



Shared Values:

At a congressional hearing on the Capitol Hill in Washington in October, 2019, American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar asked Ms. Alice Wells, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, the following pertinent question:

"Kashmiris have been restricted from communicating outside their country for 50+ days. In Assam, almost 2 million people are being asked to prove their citizenship. This is how the Rohingya genocide started. At what point do we question whether PM Modi shares our values?"

The question of shared values has been forcefully answered in the negative by the Indian Supreme Court in its Ayodhya verdict. This judgement by India's apex court has rewarded the criminal acts of Hindu Nationalists by ordering the construction of Ram Temple on the land where centuries-old Mughal-era Babri Masjid was destroyed in 1992.

Mr. Modi's actions and Indian Supreme Court's acquiescence have forced Financial Times's Gideon Rachman to conclude that  "India’s Narendra Modi has had a free pass from the west for too long". And Ed Luce, also from Financial Times, has written as follows: "During my session (at Bangalore Literary Festival) I was asked about the biggest threat to the future of global liberal democracy. My answer was Narendra Modi".

The only shared values between Washington and New Delhi are those of President Trump and Prime Minister Modi. Both leaders share hatred of minorities, particularly Muslims and  immigrants.

Kartarpur Corridor:

Pakistan restored and opened Gurdwara Darbar Sahib and signed an agreement with India to open a visa-free corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrim to visit the shrine on Baba Guru Nanak's 550th birthday.

Prime Minister Modi also wants to take credit for the corridor to attempt to show that he is not against minorities. But the fact is that Prime Minister Imran Khan left Modi little choice but to go along by making Kartarpur Sahib reality in record time.

Hindu Temples in Pakistan:

Pakistan Supreme Court recently took suo moto action to protect ancient Katas Raj temple in Chakwal district. The temple has a water pond that has been drying up due to falling water table in the region. The Supreme Court has ordered local officials to come up with a plan to restore the water pond to restrict ground water withdrawal by industries and farms to maintain the pond considered holy by Hindus.

Pakistan has also opened a 1,000-year-old Hindu temple in Sialkot for puja for the first time since partition in response to demand by the local Hindu community, according to media reports. In addition, Pakistan is restoring and reopening 400 Hindu temples across the country.

Indian Muslims:

While the actions of Prime Minister Modi's government have caused a great deal of concern among Muslims for their future in India, Indian Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict has shown that the institutions of Indian democracy are surrendering to the the growing power of Hindu Nationalists. Indian Muslim journalist Rana Ayub has summed up their fears in her Washington Post column as follows:

"Muslims in India fear that this would indeed be the beginning of reimagining India with Muslims as second-class citizens as envisaged by right-wing supremacists. A resounding message has been sent to the more than 200 million Muslims in the country that they must bear every humiliation and injustice with the silence expected of an inferior citizenry. I and millions of my co-religionists have been made to feel like an orphan yet again in the land we have loved, cherished and called our own. A land whose liberation from the British was fought by revolutionaries and freedom fighters that included our own forefathers. I wonder if that cherished freedom holds any meaning in the new India that seeks to erase my legacy and my existence".

Jinnah was right:

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah saw the threat posed to Muslim interests by Hindu majoritarianism in India as far back as 1938.  Speaking to the Muslim League in the Central Legislative Assembly, he set out his stance of permanent majorities and minorities as follows:

 “From the first contact it is not a democratic majority in the seven Congress provinces [that came to power after the 1937 election]. It is not a democratic majority that has formed the Government and is carrying on; it is the permanent Hindu majority which cannot be altered by any change whatsoever and therefore it is the travesty of the system which may be worthwhile in England. But when it is planted here, you see, that it is a failure. What is the result – the permanent Hindu majority and the ministry that is a Hindu ministry.”

Summary:

While Pakistan is trying to make amends by promoting religious freedoms for minorities, Prime Minister Modi's India is turning into a Hindu Rashtra by making Muslims second-class citizens. Yet, India's western apologists are still promoting the idea of strategic partnership based on shared values. Mr. Modi's actions and Indian Supreme Court's acquiesce have forced Financial Times's Gideon Rachman to conclude that "India’s Narendra Modi has had a free pass from the west for too long".

Here are video clips of US Congress's Hearing on Kashmir held on Oct 22, 2019:

https://youtu.be/nMrydKhvi9M




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Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

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Indian Textbooks

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Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Skills Gap in South Asia: Indian and Pakistani Youth Lack 21st Century Skills

Only 18% of Pakistanis and 19% of Indians under the age of 24 have the skills required for 21st century jobs, according to a United Nations and Business Coalition for Education study. It's the percentage of all school age children on track to complete secondary AND reach the learning benchmarks spelled out  by National Achievement Test (NAT) 2016 for Pakistan  and NCERT 2017 for India.

South Asian economies have experienced some of the fastest growth rates in the world. They are driven by young and growing populations in the region. Sustaining growth will become increasingly difficult unless significant investments are made to prepare South Asian youth for 21st century jobs.

Today, South Asia is home to the largest number of young people of any global region, with almost half of its population of 1.9 billion below the age of 24, according to data produced by the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), the Education Commission, and UNICEF.

Youth unemployment remains high (at 9.8% in 2018) because of changing labor market demands and over — or under — qualification of job candidates, according to the report.



In most South Asian countries, the projected proportion of children and youth completing secondary education and learning basic secondary skills is expected to more than double by 2030. Still, on current trends, fewer than half of the region’s projected 400 million primary and secondary school-age children in 2030 are estimated to be on track to complete secondary education and attain basic workforce skills.



Current efforts underway to fill the skills gap in the biggest South Asian economies of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are grossly insufficient. Only 47% of Indian, 40% of Pakistani and 55% of Bangladeshi youths will have the skills required by 2030.

These estimates were generated based on a 2019 update of the Education Commission’s original 2016 projections model for the Learning Generation report. Most recent national learning assessment data used for each country as follows: BCSE 2015 for Bhutan, GCE O Levels 2016 for Sri Lanka, LASI 2015 for Bangladesh, NAT 2016 for Pakistan, NCERT 2017 for India, Nepali country assessment 2017 for Nepal, O Level Exam 2016 for Maldives. Afghanistan is not included due to lack of recent learning assessment data at the secondary level.

Expectations of huge demographic dividends in South Asia will not be met unless policy makers significantly increase focus and investments to rapidly up-skill their youthful populations.

Related Links:

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Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

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Pakistan's Growing Human Capital

History of Literacy in Pakistan

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Pakistani Video Game Player Among World's Top 10 Earners

Karachi-born Pakistani Syed Sumail Hasan, 19, is the world's youngest video gamer to surpass $1 million in earnings. In fact, he has earned $3.6 million so far as an international Dota 2 player, ranking him the 10th biggest winner in the world, according to esportsearnings.com website which tracks players' earnings. Sumail started playing Dota 2 at the age of 7. He now lives in a Chicago suburb as a permanent resident of the United States.

Syed Sumail Hassan

Arsalan Ash Siddique, 23 years old player from Lahore, Pakistan, caused a stir in Fukuoka Japan when he defeated world's top players to win EVO championship in February, 2019, according to Asahi Shimbun. In his victory speech, Arslan acknowledged many unknown Pakistani players who are also quite strong but could not join the competition because they could not get the visa to travel to Japan.



It wasn't easy for Arsalan to reach Japan to participate in the contest. He had to jump through many hoops and travel through several transit countries each of which made it difficult for him. When he arrived at Haneda airport in Japan,  he only had Pakistani rupees and no exchange would accept them. Hungry and tired he tried his luck at the food court but no one would accept the Pakistani currency. His next flight was from Narita airport an hour away by public transport. To travel he needed to buy a ticket but did not possess any local currency, according to SBS Urdu.

Arsalan Ash Siddique (Center)

Arsalan was exhausted and ready to give up his dream when he finally got through to his Japanese sponsors who helped him out. Needless to say he got no help from Pakistani diplomats through his challenging journey.

In spite of visa denials and other travel challenges faced by Pakistani players, the country ranks 25th in the world for players' earnings in 2019, according to esportsearnings.com.  Ranked above Pakistan are  mainly rich industrialized nations from North America, Europe and East Asia. All South Asian nations rank below Pakistan. Players from India rank 63rd, Sri Lanka 98th, Afghanistan 108th, Bangladesh 115th and Nepal 123rd.

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Mobile Game Industry in Pakistan

Pakistani Investors: Invest in Local Tech Startups

Invest in Pakistan Summit in Silicon Valley

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Upward Income Mobility in Pakistan Better Than in India and Most Other Nations

Economic mobility across generations, also known as intergenerational mobility (IGM), is a key measure of human progress. It shows that Pakistan is doing relatively well, according to a World Bank sponsored study. The analysis examines whether those born in poverty or in prosperity are destined to remain in the same economic circumstances into which they were born, and looks back over a half a century at whether children’s lives are better or worse than their parents’ in different parts of the world.

Inter-Generational Income Mobility Map of the World 2018. Source: World Bank

Intergenerational Income Mobility Study:

The World Bank study uses a newly created 2018 database—the Global Database of Intergenerational Mobility (GDIM)—that covers more than 95 percent of the global population.  Intergenerational income mobility measures how children's incomes compare with their parents' incomes at similar stages of life over a period of 50 years.

Inter-Generational Income Inequality Scatter Plot of the World 2018. Source: World Bank

The study found that higher intergenerational income mobility is associated with lower income inequality.

More and more Pakistanis are sharing in their nation's development, according to World Economic Forum (WEF). Pakistan ranks 47 among 74 emerging economies ranked for inclusive development by WEF released recently at Davos, Switzerland. Inclusive development in the South Asian country has increased 7.56% over the last 5 years. World Economic Forum assesses inclusive development  based on "living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness."

Educational Mobility:

Pakistan ranks among the 10 worst performing countries in absolute educational mobility, defined as the share of adults that are more educated than their parents, and relative mobility, defined as the correlation between individuals’ education and that of their parents.

Intergenerational Educational Mobility. Source: World Bank

In terms of intergenerational education mobility, only 9.4% of Pakistanis born in the bottom half make it to the top compared with a median of 15% among developing economies. Compared with other South Asian countries (in IGM in education), however, Pakistan (9.4%) is doing marginally better than India (8.9%) and Bangladesh (8.6%), but worse than Nepal (11.4%), Afghanistan (12.3%), Sri Lanka (15.9%), and the Maldives (24.8%), according to the World Bank.

Comparison of Intergenerational Mobility in Pakistan. Source: World Bank 


WEF Inclusive Development Report 2018:

The WEF inclusive development index ranks Pakistan at 47, below Bangladesh at 34 but above India at 62. The 7.56% rate of increase in inclusive development in Pakistan is higher than 4.55% in Bangladesh and 2.29% in India. China ranks 26 and its inclusion is rising at a rate 2.94%.

WEF IDI Rankings. Source: WEF

Pakistan has improved its ranking from 52 last year to 47 this year, while India's rank worsened to 62 this year from 60 last year.  China's ranking also worsened from 15 last year to 26 this year.

Another WEF report compiled by Oxfam said the richest 1% of Indians took 73% of the wealth generated last year.

Income Share Change in Asia's Poorest Quintile: 

The share of national income of Pakistan's poorest 20% of households has increased from 8.1% to 9.6% since 1990 , according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (NESCAP) Statistical Yearbook for 2015.  It's the highest share of income for the bottom income quintile in the region.

The countries where people in the poorest income quintile have increased their share of total income include Kyrgyzstan (from 2.5 per cent to 7.7), the Russian Federation (4.4 per cent to 6.5), Kazakhstan (7.5 per cent to 9.5) and Pakistan (8.1 per cent to 9.6).  India's bottom income quintile has seen its share of income drop from 9% to 7.8%.

Bottom Quintile Income Share Change. Source: UNESCAP Statistical Yearbook

Although more people in China have lifted themselves out of poverty than any other country in the world, the poorest quintile in that country now accounts for a lower percentage of total income (4.7 per cent) than in the early 1990s (8.0 per cent). The same unfortunate trend is observed for a number of other countries, including in Indonesia (from 9.4 per cent to 7.6) and in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (from 9.3 per cent to 7.6).

CPEC Transforming Least Developed Regions:

Development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is transforming Pakistan.  Among the parts of the contry being transformed the most by CPEC are some of the least developed regions in Balochistan and Sindh, specifically Gwadar and Thar Desert. Here is more on these regions:

Gwadar Port City:

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traffic grew by 23% last year, according to Anna Aero publication.  A new international airport is now being built in Gwadar to handle soaring passenger and cargo traffic.




In addition to building a major seaport that will eventually handle 300-400 million tons of cargo in a year, China has built a school, sent doctors and pledged about $500 million in grants for an airport, hospital, college and badly-needed water supply infrastructure for Gwadar, according to Reuters.

The Chinese grants include $230 million for a new international airport in Gwadar, one of the largest such disbursements China has made abroad, according to researchers and Pakistani officials.

New development work in Gwadar is expected to create as many as 20,000 jobs for the local population.

Thar Desert:

Thar, one of the least developed regions of Pakistan, is seeing unprecedented development activity in energy and infrastructure projects.  New roads, airports and buildings are being built along with coal mines and power plants as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There are construction workers and machinery visible everywhere in the desert. Among the key beneficiaries of this boom are Thari Hindu women who are being employed by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) as part of the plan to employ locals. Highlighted in recent news reports are two Hindu women in particular: Kiran Sadhwani, an engineer and Gulaban, a truck driver.

Kiran Sadhwani, a Thari Hindu Woman Engineer. Source: Express Tribune

Thar Population:

The region has a population of 1.6 million. Most of the residents are cattle herders. Majority of them are Hindus.  The area is home to 7 million cows, goats, sheep and camel. It provides more than half of the milk, meat and leather requirement of the province. Many residents live in poverty. They are vulnerable to recurring droughts.  About a quarter of them live where the coal mines are being developed, according to a report in The Wire.

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters

Some of them are now being employed in development projects.  A recent report talked of an underground coal gasification pilot project near the town of Islamkot where "workers sourced from local communities rested their heads after long-hour shifts".

2012 Intergenerational Mobility Study:

A 2012 study of 22 nations conducted by Prof Miles Corak for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found income heritability to be greater in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, China and 5 other countries than in Pakistan.

The study's findings, presented by the author in testimony to the US Senate Finance Committee on July 6, 2012, rely on the computation of "inter-generational earnings elasticity" which the author explains as follows:


"(It) is the percentage difference in earnings in the child’s generation associated with the percentage difference in the parental generation. For example, an intergenerational elasticity in earnings of 0.6 tells us that if one father makes 100% more than another then the son of the high income father will, as an adult, earn 60% more than the son of the relatively lower income father. An elasticity of 0.2 says this 100% difference between the fathers would only lead to a 20% difference between the sons. A lower elasticity means a society with more mobility."

Intergenerational Mobility in Pakistan:

Corak calculates that the intergenerational earnings elasticity in Pakistan is 0.46, the same as in Switzerland. It means that a difference of 100%  between the incomes of a rich father and a poor father is reduced to 46% difference between their sons' incomes. Among the 22 countries studied, Peru, China and Brazil have the lowest economic mobility with inter-generational elasticity of 0.67, 0.60 and 0.58 respectively. The highest economic mobility is offered by Denmark (0.15), Norway (0.17) and Finland (0.18).


The author also looked at Gini coefficient of each country and found reasonably good correlation between Gini and intergenerational income elasticity.

 In addition to Corak, there are other reports which confirm that Pakistan has continued to offer  significant upward economic and social mobility to its citizens over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future".

 More evidence of upward mobility is offered by Euromonitor market research indicating that Pakistanis are seeing rising disposable incomes. It says that there were 1.8 million Pakistani households (7.55% of all households) and 7.9 million Indian households (3.61% of all households) in 2009 with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more. This translates into 282% increase (vs 232% in India) from 1995-2009 in households with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more. Consumer spending in Pakistan has increased at a 26 percent average pace the past three years, compared with 7.7 percent for Asia, according to Bloomberg.

Summary:

The latest World Bank Study based on 2018 data shows that Pakistan continues to offer higher intergenerational economic mobility than most of the rest of the world. It reconfirms an earlier 2012 study of 22 nations by Miles Corak.   More and more Pakistanis are sharing in their nation's development, according to World Economic Forum (WEF). Pakistan ranks 47 among 74 emerging economies ranked for inclusive development by WEF released recently at Davos, Switzerland. Inclusive development in the South Asian country has increased 7.56% over the last 5 years. World Economic Forum assesses inclusive development  based on "living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness."

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Pakistani-Americans Among Top 5 Upwardly Mobile Groups in the United States

A recent study shows that Pakistani-Americans are among 5 most upwardly mobile groups in the United States. Other top most upwardly groups are Chinese-Americans from Hong Kong, Taiwan and People's Republic of China and Indian-Americans.

US Offers Upward Mobility For Immigrants: 

Immigration to the United States continues to offer a route to escape poverty — if not for poor immigrants themselves, then for their sons, according to a study published by a team of economic historians at Princeton, Stanford and the University of California, Davis.

Average income rank of sons with parents in 25th percentile. Source: New York Times

Top 5 Upwardly Mobile Groups in America:

The study shows the adult outcomes of sons born in 1980 who grew up in poor families at about the 25th percentile of income distribution in the United States. Pakistani-American sons born in poor households are now at 59th percentile of income in the United States.

Sons of immigrants from Hong Kong in 25th percentile have the highest economic mobility are 64th percentile followed by China at 63rd, India at 62nd and Taiwan at 60th percentile. Sons of American born fathers are at 46th percentile, much lower than for the sons of immigrants. Only the sons of immigrants from the Caribbean island nations of  Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have lower mobility.

Economic Mobility in Pakistan:

A 2012 study of 22 nations conducted by Prof Miles Corak for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found income heritability to be greater in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, China and 5 other countries than in Pakistan.

The study's findings, presented by the author in testimony to the US Senate Finance Committee on July 6, 2012, rely on the computation of "inter-generational earnings elasticity" which the author explains as follows:


"(It) is the percentage difference in earnings in the child’s generation associated with the percentage difference in the parental generation. For example, an intergenerational elasticity in earnings of 0.6 tells us that if one father makes 100% more than another then the son of the high income father will, as an adult, earn 60% more than the son of the relatively lower income father. An elasticity of 0.2 says this 100% difference between the fathers would only lead to a 20% difference between the sons. A lower elasticity means a society with more mobility."

Intergenerational Mobility in Pakistan:

Corak calculates that the intergenerational earnings elasticity in Pakistan is 0.46, the same as in Switzerland. It means that a difference of 100%  between the incomes of a rich father and a poor father is reduced to 46% difference between their sons' incomes. Among the 22 countries studied, Peru, China and Brazil have the lowest economic mobility with inter-generational elasticity of 0.67, 0.60 and 0.58 respectively. The highest economic mobility is offered by Denmark (0.15), Norway (0.17) and Finland (0.18).


The author also looked at Gini coefficient of each country and found reasonably good correlation between Gini and intergenerational income elasticity.

 In addition to Corak, there are other reports which confirm that Pakistan has continued to offer  significant upward economic and social mobility to its citizens over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future".

 More evidence of upward mobility is offered by recent Euromonitor market research indicating that Pakistanis are seeing rising disposable incomes. It says that there were 1.8 million Pakistani households (7.55% of all households) and 7.9 million Indian households (3.61% of all households) in 2009 with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more. This translates into 282% increase (vs 232% in India) from 1995-2009 in households with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more. Consumer spending in Pakistan has increased at a 26 percent average pace the past three years, compared with 7.7 percent for Asia, according to Bloomberg.

Geniuses From Pakistan:

Pakistani-American have been described as "geniuses" by CNN analyst Van Jones. Here's Jones talking about Muslim-Americans and Pakistani-Americans in 2016:

"Honestly, if a Muslim family moved next door to you, you would be the happiest person in the world. First of all, the chances of your kids getting into trouble just went way down. OK, went way down.

Because (American) Muslim community has the lowest crime rate, the highest entrepreneurship, the highest educational attainment for women in the country (US). They are the model American community.

And so, when you have people who are now afraid to come here--that's starting to happen--you have geniuses from Pakistan, who are from Indonesia, who now (think to themselves) "I'm not safe here".

That becomes an economic problem for America long term. So that we're starting to do stuff here that doesn't make good sense for what has made us great so far."

Summary:

Pakistani-Americans are among the top 5 groups in terms of upward economic mobility, according to a study by researchers at Princeton, Stanford and UC Davis. Other immigrant groups with high mobility in America include Chinese and Indians. A 2012 study of 22 nations conducted by Prof Miles Corak for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found income heritability to be greater in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, China and 5 other countries than in Pakistan.  Pakistani-American have been described as "geniuses" by CNN analyst Van Jones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr5cLv8Dj2I




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Monday, October 28, 2019

Karachi's New Port Terminal Wins "Container Terminal of the Year" Award

Karachi's SAPT (South Asia Port Terminal) Automatic Container Yard and Housing Project is one of 18 winners of "Year in Infrastructure 2019" awards announced by Bentley Systems.

South Asia Port Terminal, Karachi, Pakistan

The annual awards highlight the work of Bentley software users advancing infrastructure design, construction, and operations throughout the world. 12 independent jury panels of distinguished industry experts selected  the 54 finalists from 571 nominations submitted by more than 440 organizations in more than 60 countries.

Hutchison Ports Pakistan is the country’s first deep-water container terminal, designed to accommodate super post Panamax ships, the largest container ships operating today. It is situated at the Keamari Groyne basin and provides the most convenient access to large vessels entering Karachi.

The new container port recently notched up a new productivity high — claimed to be the best-ever at a Pakistani port — when it handled the 8,562-TEU Hyundai Courage. The terminal handled 2,683 moves in about 13 hours, with berth productivity reaching 203.4 moves per hour and gross crane rates averaging 32.3 moves per hour. While in berth, the vessel loaded and discharged 3,501 TEU. That productivity beats the previous high of 1,953 moves in 11 hours, which the terminal achieved on the Hyundai Global, the company told JOC.com.

The US$1.4 billion container terminal operates as a partnership between Hutchison Ports Pakistan, a member of the Hutchison Ports network, and Karachi Port Trust. Hutchison Ports has invested US$600 million to develop the terminal and install the latest technology, whereas Karachi Port Trust has invested over US$350 million on reclamation work and dredging.

Hutchison Ports Pakistan also works with Pakistan Customs to improve clearance systems and procedures and enable easier and faster cargo clearance for end users. With this high-tech, deep-water facility at Karachi Port, Pakistan has the basis to compete with global peers as a modern trading economy.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Karachi's Bahria Town Private City is Bigger Than San Francisco

Karachi's Bahria Town being built on the outskirts of Pakistan's financial capital is among the world's largest privately developed and managed cities.  It is spread over an area of a little over 70 square miles, larger than the 49 square miles area of San Francisco. When completed, Bahria Town will house over a million people, more than the entire population of San Francisco.

Bahria Town Karachi
The city comes complete with private roads, community parks, mosques, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, libraries, business parks, restaurants, recreation facilities, sports grounds, shopping malls etc. It has been the subject of litigation by local  villagers who claim that their land was unlawfully taken away from them to build this new city. Pakistan Supreme Court recently reviewed their cases and forced a settlement worth Rs. 406 billion to be paid by Bahria Town developer named Malik Riaz Hussain.

Bahria Town and other similar private cities and gated communities are popular with Pakistan's rising middle class. They are looking to escape the chaos of the nation's burgeoning cities unable to cope with the massive and uncontrolled waves of urbanization. The issues facing Pakistani cities range from lack of basic services to rising urban crime.

The private city promises to “turn the vision of modern Pakistan into a reality”, with private and secure supplies of water, gas and electricity, garbage collection as well as private security and well maintained wide tree-lined roads.

In a recent article published by India's Scroll.in, Samira Shackle argues that "the reason a privatized city is so much quicker and easier to build is not down to the inherent superiority of the free market, but because it removes power from people and communities and centralizes it into the hands of one person or corporation". "This is the same dynamic at play in China, for example, where the nominally communist government has been able to build vast new towns and cities from scratch because it doesn’t have to worry about eminent domain or democratic accountability", Shackle explains.

As of 2016, the real estate developers had built over 250 gated communities across Pakistan. Hundreds more are being developed in response to rising demand from upwardly mobile Pakistanis.

Eden Housing Gated Community in Lahore, Pakistan


These communities cater to insatiable demand for world-class and well-appointed housing with modern infrastructure including well-built wide roads and reliable supply of water and electricity. Additionally, they offer various state-of-the-art amenities such as schools, hospitals, mosques, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and parks located within secure communities, according to a report by Adrian Bishop, editor of Opp.Today.

Gated communities are being offered at multiple price points and payment plans that suit not just the rich but the middle class buyers as well. They offer condos (flats), townhouses and single-family homes on lot sizes ranging from 125 square yards to  2000 square yards. These communities are fueling a construction boom in Pakistan.

Defense Housing Authority (DHA), Bahria Town (Malik Riaz), Eden Housing (Aleem Khan), Emaar Properties (of UAE) and Ghurair-Giga (of UAE) are among the biggest developers of gated communities in Pakistan.

Bahria Town Islamabad


In addition to major Pakistani cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, new gated communities are being developed in second and third tier cities as well. Recently, Bahria Town announced its newest development of a gated community in Nawabshah, a city of just over a million residents in southern Sindh province.

Here's an excerpt of a 2013 AFP report on Bahria Town gated community in Islamabad:

Cars glide softly over the smooth tarmac carpeting the gentle hills of Pakistan’s largest gated community, past immaculate green verges dotted with statues of cattle — which, unlike their real counterparts elsewhere in the country, pose no threat to traffic. 

There’s a horse riding centre, a golf course, a posh cinema, an immaculately air-conditioned cafĂ© and a mini zoo with “the only black panther in Pakistan”, whose growling excites young couples taking a walk. 

Elsewhere 20 metre models of the Eiffel Tower and Nelson’s Column — complete with lions — watch over this vision of suburbia which seems a world away from the rest of Pakistan’s seething, traffic-choked and crumbling cities.

https://youtu.be/ZvKOCZuZAiM

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Gated Communities in Pakistan

Urban Middle Class Growth in Pakistan

Sohail Warraich on Rise of Pakistani Middle Class

Pakistan's Rising Middle Class

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

 DHA Karachi Green City

Emaar Crescent Bay Karachi

Pakistani Construction Boom


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Atoms Shoes: Young Pakistani Couple's Startup Gets $8.1 Million in Series A

Atoms shoes, founded by a young Pakistani couple, has attracted $8.1 million investment, according to media reports. Atoms' investors include Silicon Valley based venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.  It's the latest success in the entrepreneurial journey that Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali started in Pakistani town of Okara around 2010.

Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali Wearing Atoms' Sneakers
Okara, Pakistan:

Atoms.com story began in 2010 when twenty-something Waqas Ali met a shoemaker Muhammad Hussain in Okara at a local panchayat (council meeting), according to Dawn. Waqas brought up the idea of selling shoes online but it did not particularly appeal to Hussain who thought people want to touch, smell, wear and feel shoes before buying them.

Waqas soon dropped out of college and persuaded Sidra to join him in pursuing his dream of selling shoes online. They chose "Hometown" as the brandname for their shoes and set up their business online. The initial funding was a $10,000 prize Waqas won in a competition for start-up sponsored by P@SHA Social Innovation Fund, a Google-backed grant program for Pakistani entrepreneurs.

Markhor:

In 2014, the company was rebranded as Markhor, named after a wild goat which is Pakistan's national animal. The company specialized in high-end hand-crafted leather shoes sold online to mainly western clientele.

Markhor website lacked Paypal or any other financial transaction service for cross-border transaction.  Ali applied for and received a B-1 business visa to travel to the United States and open a bank account there. This enabled them to accept payments online for their shoes.

During his visit to the United States, Waqas met with other e-commerce entrepreneurs from companies such as Warby Parker and Everlane, and met the company’s first two angel investors, who each invested $15,000 to help get Markhor (then called Hometown) off the ground. The success of a $107,000 Kickstarter campaign, a few months later, was due in part to the connections Ali made on his trip to the United States, according to an article in The Atlantic.

Sidra and Waqas were accepted in YCombinator, Silicon Valley's top incubator. The incubator introduced them to top venture investors in San Francisco Bay Area.

Atoms:

The couple has now started their second business, an online retailer for minimalist sneakers branded Atoms.  The company has recently raised $8.1 million Series A funding, according to Tech Crunch. It is being led by Initialized Capital, the investment firm started by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan, with other backers including Kleiner Perkins, Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin, Acumen founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, TED curator Chris Anderson, the rapper Chamillionaire and previous backers Aatif Awan and Shrug Capital.

Atoms offers shoes in quarter sizes for "perfect fit".  The company says it's not unusual for people to have different size shoes for each foot. It sends customers three pairs of shoes and allows them to keep the left and right shoes that fit them best.  It offers free returns for the rest.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Invest in Pakistan Summit in Silicon Valley

Pakistanis in Silicon Valley

Rasoolpur: Pakistani Village With 100% Literacy, No Crime

Pakistani Village Girl Launches VC-Funded Fashion Tech Startup

Marvel Pays $7.5 Billion For Cavium Co-Founded by Pakistani-American

OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

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Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 




Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pakistani Journalist Sohail Warraich in Silicon Valley

I had a chance to meet well-known Pakistani journalist Sohail Warraich recently during his visit to Silicon Valley. He was here to record an interview with successful Pakistani-American entrepreneur Osman Rashid, founder of Chegg and Kno.

Sohail Warraich is a senior journalist and political analyst as well as a popular host of "Ek Din Geo K Sath" aired on Geo TV. Warraich's show features interviews with top politicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs, entertainers, sportsmen and other personalities and celebrities. He often points out contradictions and hypocrisies in the lives of his guests on his show by asking them: "Kia yeh khula tazad naheen" (Is it not an obvious contradiction)?  Warraich is known to be close to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is currently in jail for owning overseas assets beyond means. He wrote Nawaz Sharif's hagiography  "Ghaddar Kaun". Warraich believes the rise of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party have been enabled by the strong support of the military and Imran Khan's popularity with Pakistan's rising middle class.

L to R: Sohail Warraich, Misbah Azam, Riaz Haq

Osman Rashid is the son of  a Pakistani diplomat. He was born in London and raised in Islamabad. He came to the United States from Pakistan in 1990s to study electrical engineering at University of Minnesota and earned a BSEE there. He is a successful serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Osman Rashid invited me and a few other Pakistani-American friends to meet Warraich over dinner at his Los Altos home.  In response to my question about about the current state of affairs in Pakistan, Warraich shared his insights below:

1. Pakistan's middle class is rising and increasingly asserting itself in politics.

2. Pakistani military is the most dominant force in the country. It enjoys broad support among the middle class Pakistanis.

3. The rise of Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) have been enabled by the support of the military and the middle class.

4. Middle class support for the military will eventually fade and there will eventually be conflict between the two. It could lead to significant political changes in the country.

5. The situation of the people of Thar is improving with the development of coal mining and construction of power plants.  There are better roads and growing employment opportunities for the locals. Warraich has visited Thar multiple times recently and found that the media reports of hunger and poverty and lack of health care are highly exaggerated. Such reports could be politically motivated to defame Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistani Author-Journalist Raza Rumi in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American Astrophysicist Dr. Nergis Mavalvala in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American Moeed Yusuf in Silicon Valley

Islamic Scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi in Silicon Valley

Pakistan Civil Society Activist Jibran Nasir in Silicon Valley

Conspiracy Theories Dominate Pakistan Elections Coverage

Rising Middle Class in Pakistan

Can Imran Khan Lead Pakistan to the Next Level?

Pakistani Hindu Women Ride High on Thar Development

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan