Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pakistan's Year 2014 Review

I wish all my readers a very happy new year!

Pakistan's year 2014 saw major anti-terror actions by the military against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in their safe haven of North Waziristan and elsewhere in the country. The year-end massacre of children at a Peshawar school further galvanized the nation against terrorism. Pakistan Tehrike-e-Insaf's political rallies against the government drew huge turn-out  of young urban middle-class Pakistanis. Pakistani economy showed clear signs of improving confidence with 3G-4G mobile broadband roll-out, Chinese investment commitments and booming stock market.  Key challenges are successful execution of anti-terror campaign and energy-infrastructure projects.  Here are some the major highlights and lowlights of the year 2014 in Pakistan:


1. Outrage against the killing of 130 school children in Peshawar helped galvanize Pakistanis to fight terrorism. 

2. Civilian casualties from terrorism in Pakistan  significantly declined from 3001 in 2013 to 1774 in 2014, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal. Biggest drop occurred since OP Zarb e Azb started 15 June 2014 after the terrorist attack on Karachi Airport.

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal

3. President Ashraf Ghani's election and policies helped improve Afghan-Pakistan ties, just in time for the US military pull-out from the region. 

4. Deal signed for $45.6 billion to build Pak-China industrial corridor. It has the potential to set new FDI records and solve Pakistan's energy crisis and spar new wave of industrialization in special economic zones.

5. 3G-4G rollout and growth of smartphones helped increase access to Internet as subscribers signed up at a rate of a million a month to hit the 5 million mark in 5 months since the launch. High-tech startup ecosystem took shape with several successful startups in e-commerce, smartphone apps space, gaming, etc. Several VC deals closed. A dozen e-commerce startups are starting to take off in Pakistan. 

6. New face of political protests rallies emerged with massive turn-out of young urban middle class Pakistani turning out for Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf rallies with music, containers, and drones.

7. In 2014, the KSE-100 Index gained 6,870 points thereby generating a handsome return of 27% (31% return in US$ terms), making Pakistan's KSE world's third best performing marketTotal offerings in the year 2014 reached 9 as compared to 3 in the year 2013. After a gap of seven years, Rs 73 billion were raised through offerings in 2014 as compared to a meager Rs 4 billion raised in 2013. Foreign investors, that hold US$ 6.1 billion worth of Pakistani shares -which is 33% of the free-float (9% of market capitalization)-remained net buyers in 2014.

8. Pakistan organized biggest ever arms show IDEAS 2014 in Karachi. It attracted 333 defense-related companies including 50 companies from Pakistan. Delegates from 50 countries attended the show this year.

9.  Malala Yousufzai became youngest Nobel Prize winner. Education got a boost with new reports indicating increased enrollment

10. Several Pakistani-Americans, particularly women, made news in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in America. For example: Ashar Aziz, Umaima Mendhro, Shama Zehra, Mir Zafar Ali, Novaira Masood, Shan Kandawalla, Hana Dehradunwalla.

11. Pakistan was accepted as an associate member of CERN, one of the world's top research labs, ahead of India. 


1.  Slow recognition of the existential threat terrorism cost a lot of lives and hurt confidence in Pakistani state and economy.  Failure to convict terrorists made the situation worse. 

2. Violence against minorities continued with some of the most horrific incidents of killing and burning of innocent people. 

3. Abuse of blasphemy law took its toll on an increasing number of people...both Muslim and non-Muslim. 

4. Polio continued to take its toll on children with number of confirmed cases at an all-time high of 296 in 2014. 

5. India-Pakistan ties hit new lows after Hindu Nationalist hard-liner Narendra Modi was elected India's new prime minister. India stepped up covert war in Pakistan.

6. Poor governance created chaos with failure to respond to Model Town incident and rigging allegations. 

7. Execution of energy and infrastructure projects continued to lag.

8. Thar drought and children's deaths exposed incompetence and corruption of Sind provincial govt. Pakistan ranked worse than India on World Hunger Index for the first time in history.

Source: IFPRI

9. Pakistan-bashing books made brisk sales in the rapidly growing Indian book market.


Key lies in successful execution of anti-terror campaign and energy-infrastructure projects. It'll be a huge challenge for all Pakistanis, particularly the political and military leadership of the country. 

Here's a video discussion of Pakistan's Year 2014:

Related Links:


Anonymous said...

Pakistan’s telecommunication sector sold five million high-speed mobile Internet connections within five months of acquiring third-generation (3G) mobile spectrum licenses with China Mobile Pakistan (Zong) dominating the market, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority revealed on Monday in its first ever public report on 3G and 4G subscriptions.

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

I should some get credit for Lowlight #8. The fact that Pakiland fared worse than India on WHI for the first time in history was brought to your notice by me first, if I am not mistaken.

Wish you and all your readers a very happy new year.


Riaz Haq said...

KARACHI: For the third year in a row, Pakistan equity markets provided healthy returns to the investors. The KSE-100 index added 6,870 points to cross over the 32,000 level on the last trading day on Wednesday, generating return of 27 per cent for the year.

Though lower than the return of 49pc for each of the preceding two years, 2012 and 2013, the index gain was in line with the last 10-year average gain of 26pc and 20-year average of 21pc.

According to calculations by international market monitors, Pakistan ranked the third best performing market in 2014 and stood out among the 10 top markets around the globe.

Among the Asian frontier markets (as categorised by MSCI), Pakistan stood out as the top performer, outpacing Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Analyst Muhammad Tahir Saeed at brokerage Topline Securities observed that in spite of political upheavals, Pakistan remained one of the best performing markets led by foreign investors. “Government’s secondary market offerings, energy sector reforms and declining yield on government papers helped the bull-run in 2014,” asserted analyst Saeed.

Back of the envelope calculations showed that due to appreciation of 4pc in value of Pak-Rupee against the US-Dollar, gain in dollar terms turned out to be 31pc. Price-only (without dividend) KSE-100 Index was up 18pc (22pc in dollars) in the outgoing year.

Besides improving macros, major impetus to the market in 2014 came from higher foreign inflows. Foreign investors who hold $6.1 billion worth of Pakistan shares which accounts for 33pc of free-float and 9pc of market cap, remained net buyers in 2014. During the year, overseas investors bought $2.4bn and sold $2.0bn worth stocks, resulting in net inflow of $386m. This was in spite of $46m outflows in Dec 2014. The foreign fund managers had bought Pakistan equity in the net sum of $398m in 2013.

Market watchers said the outgoing year would also be remembered for mega public offerings led by sale of shares by the Government from its holdings. In all new offerings in 2014 stood at nine compared to three Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in 2013. After a gap of 7 years, the equity markets raised Rs73bn through new offerings in 2014.

Analyst Muhammad Mobeen at JS Global observed that his house expects the market to gain momentum in the new year with textiles and banks as the preferred sectors.

Brokerage Sunrise Capital stated in its report that the KSE could have performed even better but for political protests and sit-ins, which scared investors. Top three contributors in terms of points to bull run of 2014 were banks, chemicals and cement sector. “Banking sector surged by 28pc or 1,517 points in CY14, chemicals contributed 843.8 points in index surged by 42pc while cement that rose by 58pc added 795 points to the index”, analysts calculated.

According to Topline Securities, the year ahead could be looked at with optimism based on improving macros and better visibility of Pakistan amongst foreign investors. Pakistan market currently trades at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of 9.1 times for 2015 which is at a 8pc discount to MSCI Frontier Market (MSCI-FM) PE of 9.9x and at 30pc discount to its Asian peers. “We visualize KSE-100 Index to reach 36,000-38,000 points, up by 12-18pc from current levels going forward”, Topline said and put a caveat: “However the biggest risk to our positive outlook is global economic situation in light of falling oil prices. Any major crisis in global markets may force foreigners to offload their positions in all stock markets including Pakistan.”

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Currently what is the m-cap of all KSE listed companies and how does this in relation to Pak's nominal GDP?

What in your opinion are the sectors to watch out for potential investors in KSE?


Rizwan said...

KSE-100: Setting new highs on surging optimism
The market set new highs with rising volumes, up 2.3% WoW to close at 32,731pts. ADTO rose 18.9% WoW to 225mn shares, while average daily value traded showed 3.4% decline to US$127mn. In addition, foreign outflow witnessed last week seems to have lost momentum as FIPI saw outflow of US$15mn compared to inflow of US$7mn in the previous week.

ENGRO Fertilizer, National Foods, E.F.U. Life Assurance, Engro Foods Limited and Fauji Cement were the major gainers while Pak Suzuki Motors, J.D.W Sugar, Sui Southern Gas, Searle Pakistan and Abbot Laboratories were the major losers in the benchmark KSE-100 this week.

News This Week
Demerger of project: Hubco given tax exemption

Govt announces cut in oil prices and raises GST by 5%

Govt misses half-year collection target by PRs90bn

Reserves fall to US$14.94bn (SBP)

Draft securities bill submitted to NA

Attock Cement to set up coal-fired power plant

Harold Silverman, UK said...

Many markers are improving in the Subcontinent but they could be even better. What I am noticing for quite some time now many indices are flat lining in Pakistan whereas, India & Bangladesh are positively steeper.

Although Pakistan was on a better path 25 years ago, relatively poor governance, terrorism and increased militarization has had a severe impact on Pakistanis. While a military dictatorship has it's positives for the short term (up to a decade), in the long term it has been more damaging.

In the future I foresee many indices improving much faster in India & Bangladesh although they may be at par or behind Pakistan today

Anonymous said...

MUMBAI—Indian shares ended 2014 with 30% gains, posting their best annual performance in five years.

The S&P BSE Sensex closed at 27,499.42 points Wednesday, up 0.4% from Tuesday. The index had hit an all-time high of 28,822.37 on Nov. 28. The National Stock Exchange’s Nifty index also rose 0.4% to 8,282.70.

Investors poured billions of dollars into Indian stocks this year on hopes that the country’s new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speed up policy changes to boost the economy. Data from the country’s market regulator show foreign investors bought $16 billion worth of Indian shares in 2014.

India’s government expects the south Asian economy to grow 5.5% in the year through March, recovering significantly from the below-5% expansion in the previous two years.

“If reforms come through and the economy as well as corporate earnings show the expected recovery, foreign investors will continue to flock to India,” said Amar Ambani, head of research at brokerage firm IIFL. They could invest another $12 billion to $13 billion in the next six to eight months, he added.

Besides the optimism generated by Mr. Modi’s promise to overhaul the economy, a sharp drop in global crude oil prices has also helped cool inflation and improve growth prospects.

The possibility that the central bank may lower interest rates next year because inflation is declining could guide Indian markets even higher, said Jayant Manglik, president-retail distribution at Religare Securities Ltd.

Investors would also watch for any rate increases by the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mr. Manglik added. Higher rates in developed economies are a risk for Indian markets as these could prompt foreign investors to pull out of emerging economies.


Banks, automobiles and pharmaceutical stocks were the best performers this year, while metal and energy stocks were among those that got beaten down due to a fall in global commodity prices.

Axis Bank jumped 94% in 2014, while Maruti Suzuki surged 89%. Tata Steel was the biggest loser among the 30 Sensex stocks, declining about 6% during the year.

In the currency market, the rupee strengthened marginally against the U.S. dollar Wednesday, but ended the year weaker. In late-session spot-market trading, a dollar was buying 63.19 rupees, compared with 63.38 rupees Tuesday. For 2014, the rupee was down about 2%.

Riaz Haq said...

Creating a new breed of fighter pilots in #Pakistan #JF17 simulator #Qatar

From the inside of the main cockpit, designed as an exact replica of the JF-17’s driving seat, Daniyal Masoom demonstrates what he calls his pièce de résistance, the most advanced flight simulation platform ever designed in Pakistan.

It’s a little like being in The Matrix, you strap in and are immediately transported several thousand feet above sea-level. The roar of the fighter jet’s engines bellows from the speakers as the instrument panel lights up. From the moment you gain control of the aircraft, you’re hooked.

The partnership that spawned this technological marvel was formed in Dec 5, 1997. “That’s the day we enrolled at the PAF Academy, Risalpur,” says Syed Mohammad Raza, the other half of the duo behind Thrust Factor. A technically gifted engineer and mathematician, Raza had already developed a working prototype of the simulator platform by the time the two men decided to collaborate.

While they have no plans to abandon their day jobs yet, both men confess that designing simulators is their real passion.

Although they still call themselves a start-up, the duo have already had great success marketing their wares to foreign buyers with deeper pockets. A fully functional version of the cockpit installed on the sixth floor of the Safa Gold Mall is already in place in Qatar, with several other projects in the pipeline.

Thrust Factor is more than just a flight simulator. In video gaming terms, the system that Daniyal and Raza have designed can ‘talk to’ most video games available on the market. The simulators can even be linked via LAN to enable multiplayer gaming.

They have integrated everything from driving simulators to Moto GP games, and there is even talk of a fighting simulator.

“Players will strap motion sensors to their hands and feet and then go toe-to-toe. It’s gonna change the way people think about playing video games.”

The platform they’ve designed, both hardware and software, is completely indigenous. “We’ve made sure that every single part, every bit of raw material is something that can be easily found in markets of Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad or Multan,” says Raza.

Asked how they get the simulator to replicate the in-game movements, Raza proudly explains his ingenious solution to the problem of clumsy hydraulics. “It’s an electronic actuator that we designed ourselves. The patent is currently pending,” he tells us with much aplomb.

The result of his efforts is a bumpy yet realistic ride. “During a race, a driver will experience up to 3Gs. We want our users to experience at least half that, so that when they get out, they feel physically exhausted,” he says.

Starting out with Microsoft Flight Simulator X, the two have now upgraded their system so that it is compatible with XPLANE, a hyper-realistic flight simulator that is used by many militaries of the world to train pilots. Intuitive and easy to use even for the lay-man, Daniyal says that some of their best customers so far have been pilots. “At our last location, we had a group of PIA pilots who would come and fly 777s for hours and hours. They are now our biggest fans on Facebook.”

But this, Raza assures us, is just the beginning. They have already scaled up their R&D operation and are moving their lab from its humble 2-kanal confines on Adiala Road to a purpose-built facility near Burhan. “Money is a by-product of our success,” Raza says, but Daniyal is quick to add, “We’d like a lot of by-product.”

The next stop for both engineers is a platform that people can buy and install at home. “Something that costs Rs50,000-60,000 and can be connected with most gaming consoles.”

Riaz Haq said...

Faiz on New Year Celebration....Ay Naye Saal Bata Tujh Mein Naya Kiya Hai ..
Har Taraf Khalq Ne Kiyon Shor Macha Rakha Hai.....
فیض احمد فیض
اے نئے سال بتا تجھ میں نیا پن کیا ہے ؟
ہر طرف خلق نے کیوں شور مچا رکھا ہے؟
روشنی دن کی وہی ، تاروں بھری رات وہی
آج ہم کو نظر آتی ہے ہر ایک بات وہی
آسماں بدلا ہے افسوس ، نہ بدلی ہے زمیں
ایک ہندسے کا بدلنا کوئی جدت تو نہیں
اگلے برسوں کی طرح ہوں گے قرینے تیرے
کسے معلوم نہیں بارہ مہینے تیرے
جنوری فروری اور مارچ میں ہوگی سردی
اور اپریل مئی , جون میں ہوگی گرمی
تیرامن دہر میں کچھ کھوئے گا کچھ پائے گا
اپنی میعاد بسر کرکے چلا جائے گا
تو نیا ہے تو دکھا صبح نئی شام نئی
ورنہ ان آنکھوں نے دیکھے ہیں نئے سال کئی
بے سبب دیتے کیوں لوگ مبارک بادیں
کیا سبھی بھول گئے وقت کی کڑوی یادیں
تیری آمد سے گھٹی عمر جہاں سے سب کی
فیض نے لکھی ہے یہ نظم نرالے ڈھب کی

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s central bank chief sees the country’s economic growth almost doubling to 8 percent as politicians unite to battle terrorism in the wake of a child massacre at an army-run school last month.

“I’m optimistic because this is the first time in many years that the political parties are struggling in unison to find solutions,” Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, 59, said on Jan. 2 at his wood-paneled Karachi office, his first interview since he was appointed in April as the third head of the State Bank of Pakistan in four years. “They seem to be very serious.”

Opposition parties ended five months of street protests against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after Taliban militants killed 134 students on Dec. 16 in one of the country’s worst terror attacks. Wathra didn’t give a timeframe for growth to reach 8 percent, up from 4.1 percent in the year ended June. Pakistan’s economy last grew more than 8 percent in 2005.

Pakistan’s Turmoil

Sharif has struggled to revive the economy since taking office in May 2013 as terrorism and political discord hinder efforts to privatize state-run companies and ensure a steady power supply. Growth will pick up to 4.3 percent this fiscal year from an average 3.8 percent over the past four years, the International Monetary Fund projected last month.

“Eight percent growth is possible but not immediately,” said Yawar-uz-Zaman, vice president at Shajar Capital Pvt. in Karachi. “Provided we continue eliminating terrorists, which will encourage foreign and local investment, we may achieve this target in five years.”

All-Party Consensus

All political parties agreed to change the constitution to ensure that military courts can hold quick trials for accused terrorists, Sharif said in a Jan. 2 statement. It reiterated recent commitment to “degrading, dismantling and destroying all forms of terrorism,” moving from a decades-long policy of targeting militants that strike in Pakistan while indirectly supporting those that attack abroad.

Foreign direct investment rose 19 percent from a year earlier to $423 million in the five months since June, when the Pakistani military began bombing militants in tribal areas near the Afghan border.

“Pakistan could open up to business and foreign investment interest once again” when terror is quelled, Sakib Sherani, chief executive officer at Islamabad-based research company Macroeconomic Insights, said by e-mail. “The war on terror has done incalculable damage to Pakistan’s economy since 9/11.”

Terror attacks have cost Pakistan about $29 billion in the three years through June 2014 and the $232 billion economy has lost $102 billion since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the government estimates.

Asset Sales

Governor Wathra, who has 35 years of banking experience, said the administration also needs to do more to improve public finances. It scrapped its biggest share sale in eight years amid the anti-government protests and slumping oil prices.

“We certainly missed our target on the sale of OGDC,” Wathra said, referring to Oil and Gas Development Co. “We expect the divestment of Habib Bank to do extremely well. The banking market attracts a lot of foreign investors.”

Pakistan plans to garner about $1.2 billion by selling a 42 percent stake in Habib Bank Ltd., the nation’s largest by assets, as it works toward meeting goals under an IMF program.

Progress has been “broadly on track,” the Washington-based lender said. It last month disbursed a $1.05 billion loan, taking total receipts to $3.2 billion under the $6.8 billion facility agreed in 2013....

Riaz Haq said...

Here’s a list of some of's picks for the best music moments in 2014.

First Pakistan Idol
Although the show officially started in 2013, the season continued till the first few months of 2014 and it was a great start to the year musically, as scores of men and women in cities across Pakistan went out to audition.

When was the last time we saw thousands of people all over Pakistan make an effort for music? (No, dharnas don’t count).

Pakistan Idol was a great way to suss out the incredible talent we had no idea existed.

There were some moments in the show one can pass off as comic relief as contestants cracked jokes during auditions, and some were just plain ugly. In his attempt to follow the American Idol format, Ali Azmat forgot he is not actually Simon Cowell.

Hailing from Mandi Bahauddin, Zamad Baig charmed the judges and voters with his classical, Sufi renditions. With no formal musical training, he became the first ever Pakistan Idol. He later went on to do a collaborative performance with Ali Azmat on the show Cornetto Music Icons, and is currently working on releasing an album.

Speaking about his experience in the first ever Pakistan Idol season, Zamad said: "The experience was life changing, it was something happening for the very first time in Pakistan, so whoever was part of the venture learned a lot.

"I went in as a young boy, and came out with so much experience."

Strings produce Coke Studio Season 7
Was Rohail Hyatt a better producer than Strings?

That is one never-ending debate.

The last season Rohail produced was an elaborate affair with all those foreign musicians, but it felt like the show was running its course.

And then Strings (Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia) stepped in to produce season seven, playing a bit with nostalgia.

Being able to witness the likes of Zoheb Hassan and Amir Zaki in a show together brought back memories of a time when music in the country was thriving.

25 undiscovered musicians on Nescafe Basement 3
We haven’t seen much of this season so far, but the reason why it is one of the best moments for music is because of the 26 unknown musicians that producer Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan, popularly known as Zulfi, took on board with him.

Be it musicians from Karachi or Rahim Yar Khan, it seems this season Zulfi decided to pull out all the stops.

A group of young, promising musicians covered some great classics most of us grew up listening to, including songs by Roxette and the Back Street Boys.

Struggling underground, independent musicians are the new trend in the Pakistani music scene, serving as the ventilator that keeps things alive.

Poor Rich Boy and Khumariyaan, indie bands based in Lahore and Peshawar respectively, got selected for a concert tour in the US for Center Stage, which is an exchange program with the sole purpose of using performing arts as a means of spreading cultural awareness.


`In 2014, there were a handful of notable music festivals that were held in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.

Most of these festivals were organised by underground musicians in order to have a platform to reach out to their cult following.

These festivals include Storm in a Tea Cup, which was organised by True Brew Records and took place in January in Lahore, where underground bands from Karachi and Islamabad also performed.

Rockfest, organised in Islamabad by Kuch Khaas, also took place around the same time as Storm in a Tea Cup. The concert was part of the Khayaban-e-Lussun tour, organised by Nadir Shehzad Khan, the front-man of Karachi’s indie band Sikandar Ka Mandar.

This tour helped bands from the three cities come together and play shows for wider audiences.

Riaz Haq said...

First up, I would like to share few statistical data about the IT industry. Pakistan Software Export Board has updated the statistics and they are now claiming Pakistan’s export share to be USD 2.8 billion in 2014. I would not debate the value which they have claimed as it is always a pride to see the growth in IT sector. It was also seen that start-ups have taken a leap frog and there has been over 200% growth recorded in new start-ups coming up in 2014. Additionally, this year also marked significant success internationally where developers and start-ups won top awards and recognition globally.

On the policy front, Ministry of IT (MoIT), Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority have floated a draft of new policies to Telecom & IT industry for creating a mutually beneficial policy document. Although Youtube remains blocked throughout 2014 as well but with this policy there is a hope of its revival in 2015. The major success of MoIT & PTA came through (finally) auctioning of 3G & 4G spectrum licenses to mobile service operators. This generated revenue of over USD 1.0 billion for Government of Pakistan. This is also our first sector in review this year.

Globally 3G mobile internet service has been in place for a few years now and Pakistan was one of the few countries left where this service was yet to see the daylight. Finally, 2014 was the year where the entire nation found a reason to cherish after auction and subsequent launch of mobile broadband services by all but one mobile operator. Zong was the only operator with both 3G & 4G spectrums and Warid pulled a cheeky one by not buying the spectrum license and utilizing an already vacant spectrum. Although Mobilink, Ufone, Zong are one way or the other claiming reaching 1.0 million subscribers but little that general public knows that it is a figure for people using “free” 3G services. Telenor on the other hand is focusing on expanding its reach and is adding cities rapidly. Warid is testing its 4G LTE service in Lahore, Karachi & Islamabad but there have been reports of patchy and unreliable service. What I don’t understand is that except for Telenor, not even a single company is promoting what 3G or 4G will be used for. Until and unless they have applications and services available which take advantage of mobile broadband, this will remain a service on which subscribers will be watching Youtube or Dailymotion like services. Over the Top (OTT) based services, which includes but not limited to Video, calling over WiFi and localized Skype like services. On the other hand, creating localized app stores will also jump the uptake and revenues for telcos as the subscriber can pay monthly subscription and company can save on Internet bandwidth.

Moving on to the IT sector, 2014 was the year where we saw massive growth in new start-ups working their way up to the applications & services development scene. In recent Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) held in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Pakistani companies bagged 5 awards (2 Gold & 3 Silver). This is an achievement from 2013 where Pakistani software houses only managed to bag 4 silver medals. This year around the quality and quantity of software houses was definitely a notch above last year. P@sha has always been the advocate of promoting software houses and developers in Pakistan and in 2014 P@sha went a step ahead and aggressively supported them internationally as well. The Government of Pakistan must take notice of the efforts and extend its full support to P@sha along with the credit which is long due. PSEB, a Government answer to “support” likes to visit international exhibitions and boast numbers but it is P@sha which is making it possible for all software houses and IT services companies to unite on a single platform....

Riaz Haq said...

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) earned Rs105 billion or $1 billion (based on Thursday’s exchange rates) in fees from all licensees as total investment in the telecom sector crossed $1.8 billion during fiscal year 2014 (FY14), the telecom regulator revealed in its annual report.
According to the data, figures for telecom investment rose three times from $600 million, the level it achieved in FY13.
Almost half of the $1.8 billion was in the form of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow to the telecom sector that spent over $903 million on purchasing 3G and 4G licences and upgrading their infrastructure during the review period. FDI in the telecom sector alone accounted for more than half of the country’s total FDI ($1.6 billion in FY14).

Telecom sector revenues for FY14 clocked in at Rs465 billion, as it contributed Rs243.84 billion to the national kitty in that year – an all-time high in tax contribution by the sector.
Overall, the telecom imports in FY14 crossed $1.23 billion, of which 44.4% was for the imports of consumer items, such as cellular mobile handsets, according to the data.
As cellular operators and the consumers geared up for 3G and 4G services, the country witnessed record imports of $544 million of cellular mobile handsets and $682 million worth of telecom equipment, registering growth of 20.7% and 30.3% respectively, the report said.
Revealing statistics about the market share of cellular mobile operators (CMOs), the report added that Mobilink led the market with 27.7% subscriber share as of June 30, 2014 followed by Telenor (26.1%), Zong (19.4%), Ufone (17.4%) and Warid (9.3%).
On the enforcement front, the report said that the PTA addressed 98% of the total complaints in FY14. The telecom received a total of 36,092 complaints against telecom service providers including CMOs, PTCL, Long Distance Internationals, Wireless Local Loop operators and ISPs in the period under review, up from 29,714 complaints it received during the corresponding period of FY13. About 61% complaints were made against CMOs and 37% were made against the broadband giant PTCL, which holds a whopping 80% share in the broadband market.
Grey Telephony was another area where the regulator intensified its enforcement in FY14. PTA and FIA jointly conducted a total of 62 raids across the country during the period, arrested 52 people and confiscated 327 illegal gateway equipments in different cities of Pakistan, the report said.
The report further highlighted that as many as 539,024 Sims were blocked during FY14 – mobile numbers involved in illegal call termination (Grey Traffic) were identified and blocked through various means including heavy caller data and call centre reporting.

Riaz Haq said...

Multidimensional poverty
1 Niger
2 Ethiopia
29 India
35 Pakistan
67 Turkey
69 Egypt
97 Russia

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has a score of 54.1 and ranks 16 while India has a score of 50.9 and ranks 37 among 151 countries on Happy Planet Index 2014.

Among South Asians, Bangladesh is the happpiest ranking at 11 and scores 56.3. `

Riaz Haq said...

MITHI, Pakistan, Feb 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Worsening drought has led to over 80 percent of water resources in Pakistan's southern Tharparker district becoming unfit for people to drink, a new study says.

That has led to plans by the Sindh provincial government to invest 5.4 billion Pakistani rupees ($53 million) in installing 750 solar-powered reverse osmosis water purification plants across the sprawling desert district, to help get safe drinking water to the region's over 1.5 million people.

All of the facilities are expected to be set up and working by June this year, the government said.

Residents living near a first plant, inaugurated in January in the Misri Shah area of Mithi, the district headquarters of Tharparker, say it is transforming life in the parched region, where vanishing rain and drying groundwater supplies mean most available water is now saline or too high in fluoride.

"It is really hardly less than a miracle for us that we can now drink sweet and clean water, for the first time in my entire life," said 45-year-old Rekha Meghwar of Mithi, as she turns on the water plant's tap to fill her pitcher.

Billed as the 'Asia's largest (by capacity) solar-powered water purification plant', the facility will treat 3 million gallons of water daily, enough to meet the water needs of 300,000 people in Mithi and in 80 adjoining villages, according to officials in the Mithi town municipal office.

Constructed at a cost of 400 million Pakistani rupees or $4 million, the plant is expected to particularly benefit women, who currently often must fetch water from far-away hand-dug wells.

Sunita Bheel, a woman waiting in line for water from the new Mithi plant, said women in the area often walk two kilometers a day to fetch water from a hand-dug well owned by a landlord outside the village.


Local people said having water available for themselves, and their livestock, may stem increasing waves of migration from the area.

Anil Kumar, who lives in Morrey-Jee-Waand village, a few miles from Mithi, said 80 percent of people in his village and in seven other villages around it migrated last September to other areas in the region with supplies of dam water in an effort to find potable water for themselves and their livestock, and to seek jobs after crops failed.

"But they are now gradually returning to their villages when they learn about the sweet water (plant)," said the 65-year-old guar farmer, who looks after the property and belongings of neighbours who have migrated.

Today, Kumar rides every other day on his mule, strapped with two empty 30-liter drums, to the filtration plant to bring back water, he said.

Access to useable water is a key problem in drought-hit Tharparkar. Barely 5 percent of the population has access to clean and disease-free potable water, according to a study by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) and the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR).

One reason for this has been worsening fluoride contamination of underground water sources as less water recharges the drying system. The study found that the fluoride level at many locations in Tharparkar is at dangerous levels of over 13 mg/liter compared to the 1 mg/liter considered normal.

Excessive fluoride intake, from sources with more than 1.5 mg/liter of fluoride in the water, can cause problems such as bone deformation, dental problems, and damage to the kidneys and thyroid.


Tharparkar depends heavily on rain-fed ground water, as it has no rivers. It receives an average annual rainfall between 200 and 300 millimetres, 80 percent of it during summer monsoon season, which runs from July to September. The rainfall recharges groundwater that must then last for the other three quarters of the year.


Riaz Haq said...

One year after it went to war, #Pakistan is safer but doubts persist #ZarbeAzb #Taliban #TTP

One year after Pakistan’s army launched its offensive in the country’s northwestern tribal belt, Pakistani deaths from terrorist attacks are at an eight-year low but U.S. officials say more work is needed before the country can reverse its reputation as a top incubator of Islamist militancy.

After a decade of bloodshed that killed more than 50,000 civilians and soldiers, Pakistan’s military finally became fed up last June when a homegrown militant group, the Pakistan Taliban, attacked Karachi’s international airport. In response, Pakistan’s air force and army began pounding North Waziristan, destroying two cities there while also ordering the evacuation of more than a million residents.

Since then, the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan has plunged as the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda appear to have fewer havens.

During the first five months of this year, 500 civilians died in terrorist attacks in Pakistan compared with 787 during the same period last year and 1,536 in 2013, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, which monitors violence in the region. The last time the start of a year was so peaceful was in 2007 — before the Pakistan Taliban emerged as a serious threat to domestic security.

But analysts caution Pakistan still remains vulnerable to major terrorist attacks similar to the Taliban assault on the school in Peshawar in December that killed about 150 teachers and students. And whatever gains the Pakistan army has made are clouded by the perception that it simply shifted much of the problem across the border into Afghanistan — but the militants who are now there could easily migrate back into Pakistan with time.

“Some people were displaced, but we should not be misled,” said Ijaz Khan Khattak, former chairman of the International Relations Department at the University of Peshawar. “This is a long war, and in long wars, lulls do happen. This is just a small lull.”

Though U.S. officials credit Pakistan for making serious gains against both the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda, there is less optimism about its efforts in combating groups such as the Haqqani Network and Afghan Taliban, which focus attacks on Afghanistan.

And with tensions between Pakistan and neighboring India once again rising, few analysts expect Pakistani leaders to now follow through on their promise to also crack down on militant groups that have a decades-long history of carrying out attacks in India. There are also concerns that Pakistan still isn’t taking the threat posed by the Islamic State, which is trying to gain a foothold in the region, seriously.

“We think the operation has absolutely eliminated the safe havens in Miranshah and Mir Ali [in North Waziristan], which were real fundamental concerns for us, the Afghans, and also Pakistanis in recent years,” said one U.S. official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely about the matter. “The focus for us as we move forward: First, some of these militants have dispersed around Pakistan and continue to plan attacks against not only Pakistanis, but also against Afghans, Americans and others inside Afghanistan.”

The official added, “And it’s is going to take a sustained effort to make sure these groups don’t reconstitute in the cleared areas.”

For many Pakistanis, however, there is little doubt that the year-long operation is starting to show signs of real success.

As they’ve lost the ability to route money and resources through North Waziristan, and perhaps eventually Quetta, where much of the Afghan Taliban leadership resides, analysts say branches of the militant groups increasingly will turn to the Middle East based Islamic State for support. Of particular concern is that the conflict may then become even more sectarian in nature, similar to Islamic State’s offensive in Iraq.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan ranks 154 and India ranks 143 among 162 nations on IEP Global Peace Index

Afghanistan (160), Iraq (161) and Syria (162) are at the bottom

Terrorism has grown steadily over the last decade, a trend that shows no sign of abating. Deaths caused by terrorism increased by 61 per cent in 2013, which resulted in almost 18,000 people being killed in terrorist attacks. Of those deaths, 82 per cent occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. The threat of terrorism has also affected many of the world’s most peaceful countries, with terrorist attacks occurring in France, Denmark and Australia in the last year

In 2008, there were only three countries that had a score worse than 3 out of 5: Somalia, Iraq and Sudan. However, by 2015 this increased to nine countries: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Pakistan, highlighting the further deterioration amongst the least peaceful countries in the world.

Crucially, the uncertainty stemming from the shift in responsibility for security from foreign troops to Afghan forces means that the chances of sustained internal conflict remain high. Pakistan’s score has similarly deteriorated, on the back of a worsening of its perceptions of criminality; as a result, the country remains second from the bottom in South Asia. The country’s dire domestic security situation continues to be hampered by the presence of Islamist militant groups. Even though the number of deaths from internal conflict did not worsen significantly over the past twelve months, Pakistan suffered a handful of high-profile incidents—most notably the separate attacks on Jinnah International Airport and an army-run school in Peshawar. Albeit not to the same extent, the number of casualties from internal conflict also rose in India where a Maoist insurgency stills runs rife. The downgrade in India’s score is tempered, however, by an improvement in political stability. The world’s second mostpopulous country witnessed an historic election in 2014 as the Bharatiya Janata Party secured India’s first one-party majority since the mid-1980s.

TABLE 14 COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST MILITARISATION IN 2015, INCLUDING PERCENTAGE CHANGE, 2008-2015 Israel has the highest level of militarisation in the world according to the GPI and is also the most militarised country in the world according to the GMI.

Israel 3.853 3.708 -0.145 -4% North Korea 3.106 3.247 0.141 5% Russia 3.065 3.067 0.002 0% United States 2.476 2.546 0.070 3% Pakistan 2.353 2.436 0.083 4% France 2.482 2.428 -0.054 -2% India 2.329 2.351 0.022 1% Syria 1.946 2.249 0.303 16% Yemen 2.441 2.241 -0.199 -8%

The level of terrorism has grown steadily over the last decade, and shows no sign of abating. Deaths from terrorism increased by 61 per cent from 2012 to 2013, with almost 18,000 people being killed in terrorist attacks in 2013. Eighty-two per cent of these deaths occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.

The majority of deaths from terrorism have occurred in countries suffering from protracted civil conflict or war, with 82 per cent of deaths from terrorism in 2013 occurring in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. However, the impact of terrorism has been felt in an increasing number of countries across the globe, with the number of countries experiencing more than 50 deaths from terrorism in a year rising from 15 in 2012 to 24 in 2013. A total of 60 countries recorded at least one death from terrorism in 2013.

Riaz Haq said...

Alvi congratulates APS survivor on his President of Oxford Union election

President Dr Arif Alvi Sunday congratulated Ahmad Nawaz, a survivor of Army Public School, Peshawar terrorist attack on being elected as President of Oxford Union.
The president on his Twitter handle, said that youths were the biggest hope of Pakistan. Despite all setbacks, Pakistan would keep on shining and rising, he added.
Ahmad Nawaz had lost his brother Harris in the heinous Peshawar massacre on 16th December 2014 along with other students and members of the teaching staff.
“Our biggest hope are youth of Pakistan. I congratulate Ahmad Nawaz, an APS survivor who also lost his brother Harris in the heinous Peshawar massacre, on being elected as President of Oxford Union. We must register that despite all setbacks Pakistan will keep on shining & rising,” the president posted.