Monday, February 6, 2017

Pakistan's Focus on Infrastructure (Hardware) at the Expense of Human Development (Software)

American theologian and author James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) is reported to have explained the distinction between a politician and a statesman as follows: "A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation."

How does this apply to the current crop of Pakistani leaders in charge of running the country? Are they statesmen or mere politicians?

I think the answer to this question can be found in how they invest available national resources, particularly their longer term investments in education, training, nutrition and health care sectors which do not show results as quickly as building roads, metro bus, metro trains, ports and other physical infrastructure.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor:

Pakistani politicians, particularly PMLN and Nawaz Sharif, love to highlight China-Pakistan Economic Corridor  (CPEC) projects and their accomplishments in terms of motorways, metro bus, metro trains, ring roads and airports rather than education and health care. And the reason they do it is because such projects can be completed before the next elections while the returns on investments in education and health take much longer to become visible.

Pakistan's M2 Motorway

In a recent piece titled "Pakistan's misguided obsession with infrastructure", The Economist magazine  said Chinese diplomat assigned to work with Pakistan on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor acknowledged this problem. Here's an excerpt from The Economist:

"Lijian Zhao, a Chinese diplomat, says China is all too aware that Pakistan needs more than just big-ticket infrastructure if it is to flourish. Disarmingly, he praises the efforts of Britain and other countries to improve Pakistan’s “software”, such as education and the rule of law. “But China’s expertise is hardware,” says Mr Zhao."

Education and Literacy Rates:

Pakistan's net primary enrollment rose from 42% in 2001-2002 to 57% in 2008-9 during Musharraf years. It has been essentially flat at 57% since 2009 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16

Similarly, the literacy rate for Pakistan 10 years or older rose from 45% in 2001-2002 to 56% in 2007-2008 during Musharraf years. It has increased just 4% to 60% since 2009-2010 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16

Pakistan's Human Development: 

Human development index reports on Pakistan released by UNDP confirm the ESP 2015 human development trends.Pakistan’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.537— which is in the low human development category—positioning the country at 146 out of 187 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2013, Pakistan’s HDI value increased from 0.356 to 0.537, an increase of 50.7 percent or an average annual increase of about 1.25.

Pakistan HDI Components Trend 1980-2013 Source: Human Development Report 2014

Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.


The history of the industrialized world tells us that democracy, peace and prosperity can not be sustained in the long run without a solid foundation of a healthy and well-educated society. Pakistani leaders must learn from history and pay more attention to accelerate human development along with building the necessary infrastructure such CPEC projects. They must allocate greater resources and maintain sharp focus to improve education and health of the people of Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Democracy's Disappointing Record on Human Development

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan's Infrastructure and M2 Motorway

Pakistan's Lost Decades

Saving Pakistan's Education, Airline and Railway

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Pakistan Democracy: Neither Democracy Nor Development

Challenges of Indian Democracy

Pakistan's Economic History

Comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan

Economic and Human Development in Musharraf Years

India's Share of World;s Poor Up from 22% to 33%

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Musharraf Era Higher Education Reforms in Pakistan

Comparing 30-Year Dictatorships in Indonesia and Pakistan

Democracy vs. Dictatorship in Pakistan


Nitin B said...

So you're saying The Military should take over?
Or are you saying democracy has failed in Pakistan?

Riaz Haq said...

NBRX: "So you're saying The Military should take over?
Or are you saying democracy has failed in Pakistan?"

Take a look at the results and draw your own conclusion.

My own conclusion is that Pakistani politicians must deliver for democracy to survive.

Instead of just bragging about CPEC, they need to focus on serious deficits in the area of education and health care in Pakistan.

To reiterate my point, here's an excerpt from The Economist:

"Lijian Zhao, a Chinese diplomat, says China is all too aware that Pakistan needs more than just big-ticket infrastructure if it is to flourish. Disarmingly, he praises the efforts of Britain and other countries to improve Pakistan’s “software”, such as education and the rule of law. “But China’s expertise is hardware,” says Mr Zhao."

Anonymous said...

Ali A. said...

True! We are not against the infrastructure development. We are just questioning govt. priorities. Health and education should receive dedicated attention and funds, roads and metros come secondary to the former.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is moving towards development, economic growth: World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva

She highlighted following opportunities and challenges for Pakistan:

In my discussions with the government in Pakistan we focused on three areas of opportunity and challenge: the first is higher growth and jobs. The government wants annual economic growth of 6 to 7 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent achieved in fiscal year 2016. But this will only happen if investment doubles to 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Investments in energy, such as Tarbela, to end constant power cuts, as well as improvements in the business environment, so that companies hire more people, will be critical to success. A more favorable environment for private investment would open up opportunities for women, youth, and the underserved.

A second area is one of the best investments Pakistan can make: investing in its own people. Pakistan’s population of 200 million is expected under current projections to double by 2050 and so these investments cannot wait. Currently Pakistan spends only three per cent of its GDP on health, nutrition, and education. This needs to double if it is to make a significant impact. Pakistan will need to raise more tax revenue to pay for these services and improve on the way that the money is spent.

A third area that I discussed with Pakistan’s leaders is the intertwined challenges of water, energy and security. Tarbela was completed in 1974 as part of the Indus Basin Project following the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan in 1960. This Treaty, to which the World Bank is a signatory, has survived frequent tensions between India and Pakistan, including conflict, and provided a framework for irrigation and hydropower development in both countries for more than half a century.

The need for a regional integrated water resources management approach

Since the Treaty was agreed, population has multiplied, use has boomed, and now we also have climate change. In the first 45 years Treaty disagreements were resolved by the Indus Waters Commission. In the past 12 years these have been elevated to a Neutral Expert and a Court of Arbitration.

Rizwan said...

I would love to see some good news on the education and health front in Pakistan-sigh. Looks like we have to wait on that. Until then we will sputter along.

S Khan said...

What is the debt now compared to Musharraf era?

Riaz Haq said...

Khan: "What is the debt now compared to Musharraf era?"

It's not alarming yet but debt-to-gdp ratio is up from 57% in 2007 to about 65% now.

Riaz Haq said...

#PWC’s ‘brave’ report predicts #Egypt and #Pakistan will surpass #Canada’s #economy by 2050. #GDP … via @financialpost

The economies of emerging market minnows Egypt and Pakistan could surpass the Canadian economy by 2050, according to a “brave” new report by management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“By 2050, emerging economies such as Mexico and Indonesia are likely to be larger than the UK and France, while Pakistan and Egypt could overtake Italy and Canada,” PWC said in a report published Tuesday.

The findings — based on gross domestic product purchasing power parity (PPP) terms — also forecasts India will replace the United States as the world’s second largest economy after China by 2050.


The PWC forecast seems incredulous as Egypt’s GDP based on the more common market exchange rates (MER) stood at US$340 billion and Pakistan a mere US$284 billion in 2016.

By contrast, Canada’s US$1.5 trillion massive economy placed it as the 10th largest in the world.

By PWC’s MER measure, Canada’s GDP will slip to No. 17 by 2050, only narrowly beating both Egypt (No. 18) and Pakistan (19).

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of The Price Waters Cooper PWC's The World in 2050 Report

Pakistan 20th largest economy by 2030 ($1.87 trillion) & 16th by 2050 ($4.24 trillion) from 24th largest in 2016 ($988 billion)

By 2050, emerging economies such as Mexico and Indonesia are likely to be larger than the UK and France,
while Pakistan and Egypt could overtake Italy and Canada (on a PPP basis). In terms of growth, Vietnam, India
and Bangladesh could be the fastest growing economies over the period to 2050, averaging growth of around
5% a year. Figure 3 shows the projected average annual GDP growth rate over the next 34 years for all of the 32
countries we modelled. Total GDP growth is also broken down into how much is attributable to population
growth and how much to real GDP per capita growth.


2.1 Background to our World in 2050 reports
Our first ‘World in 2050’ report was published in March 2006, featuring projections for potential GDP growth
for 17 leading economies over the period to 2050. Our initial model covered:
 the 10 largest advanced economies: the G7 (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan),
Australia, Spain and South Korea; and
 the seven largest emerging economies, which we referred to collectively as the E7 (China, India, Brazil,
Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey).
We subsequently updated our projections in March 2008, January 2011, January 2013 and February 2015.
With each new edition up to 2015, more countries were added to our model, which now also covers:
 Argentina, Saudi Arabia and South Africa to complete coverage of the G20;
 the Netherlands, as a key European advanced economy;
 Poland and Malaysia, as two fast-growing medium-sized countries; and
 Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam as
additional relatively large emerging markets.


The largest movers over the next 35 years are projected to be Nigeria, Vietnam and Pakistan. Nigeria, which
currently ranks in 22nd place, could move up to 14th though this is dependent on diversifying its economy and
addressing weaknesses in institutions and infrastructure, as discussed further in Box 2. Vietnam could move
from 32nd to 20th, and Pakistan could move from 24th to 16th. Other strong emerging market performers include
Bangladesh who moves from 31st to 23rd and the Philippines, which moves up 9 places to 19th by 2050.


As previously touched upon, strong population growth will be a key driver of overall GDP growth in many of
today’s emerging market and developing countries, boosting their potential workforce and domestic consumer
markets. Figure 13 shows that the growth in the working age populations of many emerging markets, including
Nigeria, Pakistan and India, will outstrip growth in the total population. In contrast, for many advanced
economies, such as Japan, Italy and Germany, their populations will actually shrink in size by 2050. This
contraction will predominately be driven by a fall in the working age population; across the G7 economies,
average growth in the working age population will be negative over the period 2016-2050 at -0.3% per annum.

Riaz Haq said...

Progress in education by provinces in Pakistan:

Literacy rate for 10+ years in Pakistan's provinces:

KPK flat at 53% from 2013-14 to 2014-15

Punjab up from 61% in 2013-14 to 63% in 2014-15

Sindh up from 56% in 2013-14 to 60% in 2014-15

Balochistan up from 43% in 2013-14 to 44% in 2014-15

Primary Enrollment Rate by Province:

KPK up from 54% in 2013-14 to 56% in 2014-15

Punjab down from 64% in 2013-14 to 61% in 2014-15

Sindh up from 48% in 2013-14 to 51% in 2014-15

Balochistan up from 39% in 2013-14 to 46% in 2014-15

Rizwan said...

Knowledge is the bedrock of a healthy economy. There is no room, or excuse, for down or flat movement in education rate. I see that as a sign of poor planning/policy, lack of direction, carelessness, short sightedness, and failure. In summary, sheer stupidity. if these numbers are not in the 90's all the CPEC's are doomed to be like children withe stunted growth due to poor nutrition.

Riaz Haq said...

Forget #India, Its Neighbors #Pakistan, #Bangladesh & #SriLanka Are the Next Big Thing. #Economy … via @barronsonline

Forget India. Investors looking for the next big thing should look to its South Asia neighbors instead – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

With a combined 390 million people, the three countries represent what Morgan Stanley chief global strategist Ruchir Sharma calls “the quiet rise of South Asia” as opposed to India which has been “flattered by spasms of hype for years”. While overshadowed by their larger neighbor, the trio is enjoying fast-paced growth, embracing much needed reforms, and look set to enjoy a demographic dividend over the long term. “A substantially higher economic growth rate than in many other economies globally, coupled with fantastic demographics that will continue supporting growth for many years ahead”, East Capital fund manager Adrian Pop tells Barron’s Asia. The Stockholm-based firm manages nearly EUR3 billion in frontier markets.

Pakistan is the flag bearer of the positive changes taking place in the South Asian nations. Since coming to power five years ago, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has got inflation under control, cut the budget deficit and reined in the current account deficit. But more importantly, terrorism finally appears to be on the back-foot given more assertive action by the army. Chinese investment has also poured in: $50 billion will be spent on new roads, transport links and energy projects. “More power capacity is key for Pakistan to move to an even higher economic growth rate,” says Pop. That will benefit stocks in materials and energy. In December, the Pakistan Stock Exchange sold 40% of itself to consortium of Chinese investors.

The Karachi stock index is up by about 50% since the start of last year, propelled by index compiler MSCI’s decision to bump up the country to emerging markets status. That will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars from passive funds into the Pakistani benchmark. The rally in stocks has arguably left the market looking a little pricey as the KSE 100 index trades at over 12 times earnings, its heftiest valuation since late 2009. That’s still about a 15% discount to the MSCI emerging markets index, however, plus Pakistani stocks yield an attractive 4%-plus dividend.

Majumdar said...

Brof sb,

Bakiland's infrastructure is progressing in leaps and bounds and its stock exchanges are booming. Now I hope you will stop peddling the canard that democracy is bad for Bakiland.


Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Bakiland's infrastructure is progressing in leaps and bounds and its stock exchanges are booming. Now I hope you will stop peddling the canard that democracy is bad for Bakiland."

But why are education and health indicators stagnant since 2008?

Can hardware alone solve Pakistan's problems? Doesn't it desperately need better educated work force for it to move forward?

HH said...

It is more flashy to build mega projects, talk mighty about getting Kashmir, and pretend to stand tall against India etc because this keeps you in power whether it be military or civilian.
Education, health and economy will always take a back seat to military spending (>3% + GDP), religion because no one dare say a word about that. That was Pakistan before and that is Pakistan now.

Riaz Haq said...

HH: "Education, health and economy will always take a back seat to military spending"

Your claim is patently false. Just look at the data I shared in my post on progress on primary enrollment made before and after 2008.

.Pakistan's net primary enrollment rose from 42% in 2001-2002 to 57% in 2008-9 during Musharraf years. It has been essentially flat at 57% since 2009 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Similarly, the literacy rate for Pakistan 10 years or older rose from 45% in 2001-2002 to 56% in 2007-2008 during Musharraf years. It has increased just 4% to 60% since 2009-2010 under PPP and PML(N) governments.

Also, a big spending boost in higher education by President Pervez Musharraf helped establish 51 new universities and awarding institutions during 2002-2008. This helped triple university enrollment from 135,000 in 2003 to about 400,000 in 2008, according to Dr. Ata ur Rehman who led the charge for expanding higher education during Musharraf years. There are 161 universities with 1.5 million students enrolled in Pakistan as of 2014.

Kadeer said...

Another colossal project is CPEC. We have to keep in my mind that it is rare that infrastructure investment by a foreign country can correct economic problems in Pakistan.

But CPEC is this magic dust that will transform Pakistan at least everyone believes that and all eggs are put in the CPEC basket

Riaz Haq said...

Kadeer: "But CPEC is this magic dust that will transform Pakistan at least everyone believes that and all eggs are put in the CPEC basket "

It's wrong to describe CPEC as as "putting all eggs in the CPEC basket".

CPEC is not a basket; it's a catchall term for dozens of projects ranging from roads, ports, rail lines to massive energy development.

And China is the biggest but not the only investor; a significant amount is being financed by ADB and World Bank.

So CPEC for Pakistan is more like Marshall Plan plus.

BTW, China is the biggest infrastructure investor all over the world...from Africa to Asia to Latin America and Europe.

Read the following from Financial Times for more:

Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is perched on the world’s energy jugular. Sea lanes nearby carry most of China’s oil imports; any disruption could choke the world’s second-largest economy.

Owned, financed and built by China, Gwadar occupies a strategic location. Yet Islamabad and Beijing for years denied any military plans for the harbour, insisting it was a purely commercial project to boost trade. Now the mask is slipping.

“As Gwadar becomes more active as a port, Chinese traffic both commercial and naval will grow to this region,” says a senior foreign ministry official in Islamabad. “There are no plans for a permanent Chinese naval base. But the relationship is stretching out to the sea.”

Gwadar is part of a much bigger ambition, driven by President Xi Jinping, for China to become a maritime superpower. An FT investigation reveals how far Beijing has already come in achieving that objective over the past six years.

Investments into a vast network of harbours across the globe have made Chinese port operators the world leaders. Its shipping companies carry more cargo than those of any other nation — five of the top 10 container ports in the world are in mainland China with another in Hong Kong. Its coastguard has the globe’s largest maritime law enforcement fleet, its navy is the world’s fastest growing among major powers and its fishing armada numbers some 200,000 seagoing vessels.

The emergence of China as a maritime superpower is set to challenge a US command of the seas that has underwritten a crucial element of Pax Americana, the relative period of peace enjoyed in the west since the second world war. As US President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take power, strategic tensions between China and the US are already evident in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pledged to enforce its claim to disputed islands and atolls. Rex Tillerson, the Trump nominee for US secretary of state, said on Wednesday that Washington should block Beijing’s access to the islands. Relations were also dented over Mr Trump’s warm overtures toward Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province.

China understands maritime influence in the same way as Alfred Thayer Mahan, the 19th century American strategist. “Control of the sea,” Mr Mahan wrote, “by maritime commerce and naval supremacy, means predominant influence in the world; because, however great the wealth of the land, nothing facilitates the necessary exchanges as does the sea.”

Drummed into military service

The Gwadar template, where Beijing used its commercial know-how and financial muscle to secure ownership over a strategic trading base, only to enlist it later into military service, has been replicated in other key locations.

Riaz Haq said...

Smart Solutions to Improve #Pakistan’s #Education. #Technology to monitor #teacher attendance via @WorldBank

Story Highlights

The Sindh School Monitoring System spreads across 15 districts and to the remotest parts of the province. Plans are underway to expand it to the entire province.
This first digital system in the education sector in Pakistan allows transparent and effective monitoring of staff, students and school infrastructure.
More than 210,000 teaching and non-teaching staff have been profiled using biometric information, covering more than 26,200 schools.
Grade seven in the Qureshi Government Boys Secondary School in Karachi is bustling with activity. The science class is in session and the chemistry teacher is talking about atoms and molecules. The students listen eagerly as the sea breeze permeates the room.

In the adjacent staff room, Sultan Dogar has just arrived. He is the Field Monitoring Assistant from the Sindh government and comes every two months to monitor teacher presence and school infrastructure. He uses a fingerprint-based biometric and photo system supported by Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

More than 26,200 schools and 210,000 education staff spread across the province are being monitored. The transparent and effective system aims to address such problems as “absconder teachers” – teachers who are employed yet absent for a lengthy period--, missing basic facilities and infrastructure, closed schools and lack of reliable and timely information on school status and teacher presence.

To date, disciplinary action has been initiated against 40,000 absent teachers and 6,000 absconders.

As Dogar records the data, it is transmitted in real time to a centralized dashboard. The Education and Literacy Department has access to this information and uses it to plan and make informed decisions.

The system has been set up under the Sindh Global Partnership for Education project, which supports the government’s reform efforts over a three-year period.

The government has been at the forefront of this effort and sees immense value in it. ‘‘The Sindh School Monitoring System brings together technology and a robust accountability mechanism to address long-standing governance issues in education,” says Fazlullah Pechuho, Former Secretary Education and Literacy Department, Sindh.

“It is a scalable solution to address teacher absenteeism, missing facilities and student attendance and enrollment. By receiving data directly from the field, we are able to undertake key administrative and policy actions in a timely manner. We consider this an important step towards improving education outcomes in Sindh.”

Teachers also recognize the benefits. Mohammed Shakeel Siddiqui, Section In-charge, Qureshi Primary School, says: ‘‘The system addresses the issue of ghost teachers in school, very often reported in the media. Through thumb impressions, teacher presence is verified. You cannot go wrong. That is really good.’’

Teachers consider it a just and fair system.

‘‘The system acknowledges teachers like us who come regularly and identifies those who don’t. That is only fair,’’ says Shaheen Afrooz who teaches Urdu in a primary school.

Riaz Haq said...

#China investment boosts #Pakistan's economic growth- #CPEC #infrastructure #power #ports #coal Nikkei Asian Review

More than $35 billion of the CPEC investment will be allocated to energy projects. Once completed by the end of next year, power generation projects are likely to help Pakistan overcome its crippling power shortages, a major bottleneck for growth. This is a big reason the CPEC is welcomed by many in Pakistan's industry, who say it is going to be a "game changer" for the country.

China also recognizes that the CPEC initiative will help secure the quickest trade route connecting the country's western Xinjiang region and other landlocked areas to the Arabian Sea, which could facilitate economic development in the Chinese hinterland. The infrastructure development initiative will also allow China to mitigate the problem of overcapacity at home by exporting materials and equipment to Pakistan.

There are proposals to develop a power plant, an airport and highways and other facilities particularly around the port of Gwadar on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, which is strategically important for China as it provides the country easy access to the sea.


According to a local newspaper, $700 million of the $1.1 billion spent on CPEC-related projects in the July-September period last year was financed by loans from the China Development Bank. The amount is mainly earmarked for importing materials and equipment from China, which are needed to complete the projects.

Many in Pakistan have voiced concern over the country's rising debt obligations to China. Also, Chinese companies typically bring their own engineers and workers in large numbers to do work in Pakistan.

"Surging imports from China will damage local companies," said Ehsan A. Malik, CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, which represents 62 major companies and organizations. "Tax revenue and employment will not increase." He added, "CPEC may be a Trojan horse."

However, the logic of companies participating in CPEC is very simple. "We asked China, because nobody in the world finances coal projects," said Hussain Dawood, chairman of Dawood Hercules, a large Pakistani conglomerate that includes the Engro group, which is involved in the production of energy and chemicals.

"Investment in CPEC is not only from China," said Arif Habib, CEO of the Arif Habib group. "Companies from Germany, Denmark and Saudi Arabia are also showing interest."

Despite widespread concern about the health of China's economy, Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's minister of planning and development, said confidently: "The CPEC projects are a high priority for Chinese companies because they can expect good returns. Even though the Chinese economy is slowing down, the companies still have huge cash reserves."

Many Japanese companies also think the best thing to do now is to take advantage of Chinese-built infrastructure in Pakistan to expand their own business. No matter who invested, if energy and infrastructure investment gains momentum, it could stimulate Pakistan's economy.

Amid all the speculation, Pakistan is moving toward its goal of becoming the next big emerging market by gradually shaking off its reputation for terrorism, corruption and political blunders.

Xin Min Lau said...

Riaz said, " Amid all the speculation, Pakistan is moving toward its goal of becoming the next big emerging market by gradually shaking off its reputation for terrorism, corruption and political blunders."

Recent ISIS led attack will probably hold things back.

Riaz Haq said...

#Lahore #Metro #OrangeLine Budget Exceeds Total Spend on #Education & #Science: Prof Atta. #CPEC via @ProPakistaniPK

Renowned scientist and former Minister of Science, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman has called for increased collaboration between natural and social scientists to implement new ways of bringing peace to the world.

While delivering a lecture on “Science, Technology and Innovation: Imperatives for Socio-economic Development’ at an event in Karachi, he said,

Technology is a double-edged sword and it needs to be used for the betterment and welfare of mankind and not for their destruction, To earn peace for human beings.

When queries were raised about why scientists have not done much to contribute towards peace in the world, the former chairman of the Higher Education Commission replied that coordination between social scientists and [experts in] natural sciences is essential.

Dr. Rehman compared the GDP and economic development level of China and Singapore with Pakistan and recognized that development in these countries was made possible thanks to efficient utilization of manpower through quality education.

Orange Line Uses More Funds Than Our Educational Budget
He added that a limited budget is being spent on education, science and technology in Pakistan. He remarked that In Pakistan, the Orange Line train project has more funds allocated to its budget than the educational budget for the whole country. Dr. Rehman continued saying,

If Singapore’s exports are $400 billion, it is unfortunate that Pakistan’s exports are only $22 billion because Pakistan lacks in exporting technology and value-added goods.

Removing The Gaps
He highlighted the need to emphasize on polishing creative minds in order to eliminate the gap in knowledge, science and technology. He said that the universities are not measured by the number of enrollments or the buildings they have, but on the basis of research work they do.

Helping The Blind to “See”
Dr. Rehman talked about providing gadgets to the blind would be able to “see” and drive vehicles and devices which can let you communicate in several languages. He also introduced nanotechnology, e-materials, and ebb materials to the audience.

He emphasized how Pakistanis need to realize the importance of science and technology for economic empowerment and encouraged young scholars to play an active role in their field to promote research culture in Pakistan.

Quality Over Quantity
He stressed upon the importance of developing a research culture by providing incentives to faculty members and students adding that quality should be preferred at universities rather than multiplying their numbers and ignoring the quality.

In his concluding comments, HOD-Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Moonis Ahmar said the thirst for acquiring knowledge was non-existent among the general population of Pakistan. He prompted the young generation to concentrate on training and trying to exceed expectations in their field without squandering their time as “we cannot afford to remain poor and backward”.

Riaz Haq said...

#CPEC is world's most significant geopolitical & geo-economic project. #Aman17 #China #Pakistan … via @FinancialReview

The Pakistan port of Karachi has just played host to a multi-national naval exercise, involving military ships from 36 countries including from the Royal Australian Navy. The exercises was focused on defending sea trade routes; the all-important Indian Ocean lies to the south of the Arabian Sea.

AMAN-17 (aman means 'peace' in Urdu) was a chance for the nuclear-armed and fast-growing Pakistan Navy to show off its latest acquisitions, which include two new Chinese built warships.

The objective in bringing together vessels from the UK, US, Indonesia and China, among others, was to build a coalition on maritime issues and develop tactics against non-traditional threats such as smuggling.

India was conspicuous by its absence — not surprisingly given 70 years of war tension on both sides over Kashmir, nuclearisation and state-sponsored terrorism.

Apart from the normalised security threat, it was the opportunity for discussion of the massive economic and geopolitical challenges which informed much of the talk, especially with a view to China.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an audacious project funded by more than US$56 billion in loans from Beijing to give China trade access to a new mega-port called Gwadar in Pakistan.

The project involves railways, roads and power stations leading from the south of Pakistan through some of the most rugged and unstable parts of the country to the border with China in the north. It is, in the words of Pakistan's defence minister, Khawja Muhammad Asif, a 'game-changer'.

The land link, and the transformation of Gwadar into a large and secure hub, would shave two weeks off the travel time of shipping from China's east coast to the Middle East and beyond.


A maritime conference being held in tandem with the AMAN 17 exercises pointed to the CPEC project as a key to the overdue economic development not just of Pakistan but also the western Indian Ocean region.


Dennis Rumley, professor of Indian Ocean Studies at Curtin University in Perth, says if the sums add up CPEC could be one of the world's most significant geopolitical and geo-economic projects.

"Of course the Chinese want access to the Indian Ocean and why not? The problem with that access is it's going to take billions of dollars, it's going to the construction of railway that'll take at least five years in the best-case scenario and it's going to run through a region which is highly insecure," he said.

"You have to solve all those problems first and of course the money is not a grant it's a loan and there's a real possibility that given the economic situation in Pakistan they may be unable to repay the loan. So the long-term issues are rather fragile."

But Sydney-based funds manager Jack Lowenstein of Morphic Asset Management, who is a keen investor and visitor to Pakistan, has a more bullish take on the project.

He predicts the country's economic growth will pick up from 3-4 per cent to 5 per cent within a few years and CPEC will bring much-needed investment particularly to correct the nation's chronic power shortage.

"We believe the Chinese have far too much 'face' at stake to pull out and we see no evidence of the Pakistanis doing anything other than rolling out a very large red carpet," he said.

Almost 40 per cent of the world's trade passes through the Indian Ocean including most of Australia's fuel and food and the RAN has been active in the region and the Gulf since 1990.

Riaz Haq said...

In #Pakistan, it's middle class rising. #Urbanization #MiddleClass #genderequity

The general perception still, and unfortunately, held by many people, foreigners and Pakistanis, is that Pakistan is largely an agricultural, rural economy, where “feudals” dominate the economic, social, and particularly political space. Nothing could be further from this outdated, false framing of Pakistan’s political economy. Perhaps the single most significant consequence of the social and structural transformation under way for the last two decades has been the rise and consolidation of a Pakistani middle class, both rural, but especially, urban.


While a definition, and hence estimation of Pakistan’s middle class, or middle classes, has not been easy, the term has acquired much prominence in social and anecdotal references. Increasing references to the middle class — durmiana tubqa — both as a political category but also as an economic one, occur more regularly in the media. Often, Pakistan’s middle class is referred to by the consumer goods that it has increasingly been purchasing, from washing machines to motorcycles. But more importantly, the term is used for those having an active political constituency and presence. In many ways, the terms used in India after Narendra Modi’s 2014 election, of an “aspiring” or “aspirational” class — also somewhat vague but nevertheless signifying some political and developmentalist notion — have also found some currency in Pakistan

Data based on social, economic and spatial categories all support this argument. While literacy rates in Pakistan have risen to around 60%, perhaps more important has been the significant rise in girls’ literacy and in their education. Their enrolment at the primary school level, while still less than it is for boys, is rising faster than it is for boys. What is even more surprising is that this pattern is reinforced even for middle level education where, between 2002-03 and 2012-13, there had been an increase by as much as 54% when compared to 26% for that of boys. At the secondary level, again unexpectedly, girls’ participation has increased by 53% over the decade, about the same as it has for boys. While boys outnumber girls in school, girls are catching up. In 2014-15, it was estimated that there were more girls enrolled in Pakistan’s universities than boys — 52% and 48%, respectively. Pakistan’s middle class has realised the significance of girls’ education, even up to the college and university level.


In spatial terms, most social scientists would agree that Pakistan is almost all, or at least predominantly, urban rather than rural, even though such categories are difficult to concretise. Research in Pakistan has revealed that at least 70% of Pakistanis live in urban or urbanising settlements, and not in rural settlements, whatever they are. Using data about access to urban facilities and services such as electricity, education, transport and communication connectivity, this is a low estimate. Moreover, even in so-called “rural” and agricultural settlements, data show that around 60% or more of incomes accrue from non-agricultural sources such as remittances and services. Clearly, whatever the rural is, it is no longer agricultural. Numerous other sets of statistics would enhance the middle class thesis in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Chinese investors are contemplating to build a chemical and automobile city in Gwadar under the umbrella of #CPEC

Chinese investors are contemplating to build a chemical and automobile city in Gwadar under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

According to a private news channel, sources linked to CPEC project stated that the Chinese authorities have already initiated paperwork on said projects, which reflects their seriousness.

Analysts have advised owners of local automobile industry to start joint ventures with Chinese as this would help in transfer of technology as well as boost the local industry. Earlier, China announced to set up a steel factory under CPEC apart from various other projects.

China is developing the Gwadar port as a strategic and commercial hub under its ‘One-Belt One-Road’ initiative that promises shared regional prosperity. CPEC is one of many arteries of the ‘One-Belt One-Road’

In 2013, Pakistan handed over the Gwadar port to the Chinese company by annulling a deal with a Singapore company that could not develop the port after taking over in 2007. The ECC further approved amendments in the Gwadar Port Concession Agreement for operating and developing the Gwadar port and free zone.

On October 31, hundreds of Chinese trucks loaded with goods rolled into the Sost dry port in Gilgit-Baltistan as a multibillion-dollar project between Pakistan and China formally became operational.

The corridor is about 3,000-kilometre long consisting of highways, railways and pipelines that will connect China’s Xinjiang province to the rest of the world through Gwadar port.

Riaz Haq said...

Dr Ata ur Rehman on Geo TV's Jirga with Saleem Safi

2.6% of 17-24 yrs of age group enrolled in higher education in 2000 jumped to 13-14% now.

Riaz Haq said...

Only 10% of students have access to higher education in country

Access to education beyond higher secondary schooling is a mere 10% among the university-age population in India. This is the finding of a report "Intergenerational and Regional Differentials in Higher Education in India" authored by development economist, Abusaleh Shariff of the Delhi-based Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy and Amit Sharma, research analyst of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.
The report says that a huge disparity exists — as far as access to higher education is concerned — across gender, socio-economic religious groups and geographical regions. The skew is most marked across regions. Thus, a dalit or Muslim in south India, though from the most disadvantaged among communities, would have better access to higher education than even upper caste Hindus in many other regions. Interestingly, people living in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — designated as the north central region — and those in northeast India have the worst access to higher education. Those in southern India and in the northern region — consisting of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi — are relatively better placed in this regard.
In the age group 22-35 years, over 15% in the northern region and 13% in the southern region have access to higher education. In the north-central region, the number is just 10% for men and 6% for women whereas in the northeast, only 8% men and 4% women have access to higher education.

The report, brought out by the US-India Policy Institute in Washington, is based on data from the 64th round of NSSO survey 2007-08. It throws up quite a few other interesting facts. For instance, among communities, tribals and dalits fare worst with just 1.8% of them having any higher education. Muslims are almost as badly off, with just 2.1% able to go for further learning. Similarly, just 2% of the rural population is educated beyond higher secondary level, compared to 12% of the urban population and just 3% of women got a college education compared to 6% of men.
South India offers the best opportunities for socially inclusive access to higher education including technical education and education in English medium. For instance, the share of Hindu SC/ST in technical education in south India is about 22%, and the share of Muslims 25%. These were the lowest shares among all communities in south India. But this was higher than the share of most communities including Hindu OBCs and upper caste Hindus in most other regions. South India also has the highest proportion of higher education in the private sector at about 42%, followed by western India where it is 22%. The northeast has the least privatized higher education sector and is almost entirely dependent on government-run or aided institutions.

Riaz Haq said...

Education chaper 10 from Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-17

According to the Household Integrated Income
and Consumption Survey (HIICS)
National/Provincial levels with urban/rural
breakdown, the literacy rate of the popul
(10 years and above) remained at
compared to previous conducted PSLM Survey 2013-14


Gross Enrolment Rate (GER), is also
the participation rate, defined as the number
children attending primary school
the number of children with specific age group
(5 to 9 years) who ought to be attending school
The overall GER at the Primary level for the
age group at National/Provincial
2015-16 recorded at 87 percent as compared to
90 percent in 2013-14 showing a decline of 3
percent. A cursory look at the table, GER
indicates that the only Sindh province has shown improvement of 2%

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistanis among smartest people in the world, says Swedish investor

Swedish investor Mattias Martinsson said that Pakistanis are among the smartest people in the world while was speaking on Geo Pakistan early Saturday morning.

Pakistan’s specialty is its people. Many people want to work hard and get education. They will prove to be important assets for the country, he remarked.

His involvement in the Pakistan stock market bears testament to the foreign investors’ trust on the country’s market.

In 2011, when no one was willing to invest in Pakistani market it was Martinsson who established the country’s first foreign equity fund.

No investor was willing to invest in the equity fund, but Martinson and his partner invested a million dollars into it. Today, the fund is worth $100 million.

He remarked that he has been working with Pakistan stock market since 2005. “It has impressed me a lot.”

“I think differently from the rest. Don’t pay attention to what the other investors are thinking. Pakistan is one of the most important markers,” he said.

Pakistan’s market has the potential to progress as much as Indian market. However, many investors are still tremble at the thought of investing in Pakistan. If they start investing then the equity fund would be worth a lot more, he added.

Riaz Haq said...

For too long, Pakistani schools have been a means to provide jobs, rather than education
Pakistan is trying to spend its way out of its education crisis. It can’t. But the government can learn about accountability and efficiency from private schools

ith more than 20 million children out of school, Pakistan has, at last, begun talking about its education crises. Our media and civil society routinely grill politicians on a lack of funding for public schools. Opinion sections of national newspapers usually publish a few articles a week on how the lack of quality education is becoming an existential threat to Pakistan’s social cohesion. Foreign aid funded projects take primetime television ads to tell parents about the importance of educating their children.

It has had some impact; education has become a key talking point in political debates. The government regularly boasts about the growing education budget with promises to provide an “excellent environment” to students. But what is lacking in this increasingly noisy debate on Pakistan’s education crisis is the experience of parents and students on the ground.

The lack of nuanced policy is leading to an alarming trend. Education spending on the ground is being translated into schools as a means to provide jobs, rather than to provide children with a quality education.

There is a very strong political element to this, as legislators are customarily elected on the basis of how many jobs they can provide to their constituents, and hence hiring new teachers takes priority in budget allocation, particularly when close to a general election. For the government, this preoccupation appears to kill two birds with one stone; an easy fix for the education crises, and sought after permanent government jobs for their constituents. As a consequence, education departments are typically the single largest employers in most provinces.

Increasing the number of teachers across the country has also been an easy policy for everyone to get behind, especially since the public discourse on fixing the education crisis has largely been focused on the need to spend more on education. In 2016, Pakistani provinces spent between 17 to 28% of their budgets on education, while the global average was 14%. Combined that’s $7.5bn spent on public education nationally, with most provinces doubling their budgets within the past five years.

But Pakistan can’t simply spend its way out of its education crisis. On the ground, most of the spending is being used for hiring non-performing teachers or providing salary hikes for existing teachers. A small section of the spending is set aside for new education infrastructure however about half of it, on average, goes unspent by provinces every year. In fact, the proportion of spending on much-needed education infrastructure has decreased, as salaries take a larger than ever proportion of the spending total.

The problem is that this rapid rise in spending isn’t translating into education for all. School enrollment nationally has continued to stagnate. Even if enrollment drives are able to get students into schools, evidence shows that only one in four children who enroll in the first grade remains in school by the 10th grade. Even of those students who remain in school, most aren’t learning basic skills like literacy. Studies have shown that over half of all 3rd graders, children aged 9-10, in government schools are illiterate.

For change to happen the quality of the conversation around Pakistan’s education crisis needs to improve. The people need to demand better teachers who are accountable to the communities they teach in, while donors need to rethink about their fixation with unrealistic funding targets and instead support reforms which make schools more efficient.

Riaz Haq said...

What’s Really Keeping Pakistan’s Children Out of School?

Less than half of third graders in Pakistan can read a sentence in Urdu or local languages. Thirty-one percent can write a sentence using the word “school” in Urdu, and 11 percent can do it in English.

Children in government schools report that teachers have them clean, cook, massage their feet and buy them desserts. Children are categorized as smart or stupid as soon as they start school. Corporal punishment is severe. Parents will send their kids to a private school if they can afford a few dollars a month, but they do not see government schools as worth it.

Since 2010, Pakistan has more than doubled what it budgets for education, from $3.5 billion to $8.6 billion a year. The budget for education now rivals the official $8.7 billion military budget. The teaching force is as big as the armed forces.

But Pakistan has a learning crisis that afflicts its schoolchildren despite much debate and increase in funding for education because policy interventions by the government and foreign donors misdiagnosed what is keeping children out of school.


Although aid programs of the United States and Britain contribute a mere 2 percent of the education budget, those countries and the local elite, whose own children go to high-end private schools, have emphasized that Pakistanis demand education and that more children should be enrolled in school.

But the demand for education is already high, evidenced by the mushrooming of low-cost private schools that now enroll 40 percent of students in the country and charge as little as $2 a month.

Foreign donors also want Pakistanis to send their girls to schools, but a 2014 Pew survey found that 86 percent of Pakistanis believe that education is equally important for boys and girls, while another 5 percent said it was more important for girls. Even in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — where Malala Yousafzai is from — government high schools for girls are enrolled beyond their capacity.


Eighteen million of the 23 million out-of-school children in Pakistan are between 10 and 16 years old. Efforts to reach them have been negligible. These children opted out of a failing education system and now they have aged. They will not now go to school if it means starting in kindergarten. They need accelerated programs, or short crash courses in literacy and math to help them enroll with their age group.

Even if these children do not go back to school — international evidence suggests they won’t — they will, at least, become literate adults.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Social sector to get special focus in #CPEC 2nd phase to begin in 2019: #Chinese diplomat Lijian. #education #health | World |  | Pindi

Social sector will get special attention in the second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said Acting Ambassador of China Zhao Lijian.

The second phase begins with the start of new year, 2019, he said while talking here in FM-98’s program “Hum Qadam”. The initial phase of the CPEC has focused on infrastructure and energy projects in Pakistan which witnessed significant growth.

During the next 5 years, small projects will be the focus of attention under the CPEC, which include renovation of schools, innovation in hospital system, poverty reduction, model villages and supply of clean water for the public.

In addition to this, small scale power generation projects will be built in remote areas, Zhao liJian said adding in the education sector more than 22,000 Pakistani students are studying in China, while more Pakistani students will be sent their for higher education.

He said that more Pakistanis would be trained in China and Pakistan to overcome the problem of manpower for Chinese companies working on various projects in Pakistan. The Acting Ambassador said, the construction of Karakoram Highway from Hawelian to Thakot and Motorway M-5 from Multan to Sukkur will be completed soon.

Furthermore, he said that 7 key projects of energy have been completed in Pakistan including solar, wind and coal-generated projects, due to which significant reduction in energy problems has been seen, while work on more projects is going on speedily.

Referring to the negative reports about CPEC in local and western media, the Ambassador said, CPEC is being built with national consensus. He said that despite controversy in political matters between the political parties, complete consensus about CPEC and Pak-China relations is there inarguably.

He contended, public awareness is needed in response to negative reports published in this regard. Zhao LiJian further said that the people should be aware of the basic objectives of negative propagators, because their negative reports generally give the impression that the CPEC is a burden on Pakistan's economy on account of interest rates. All such reports are baseless without having any ground reality, he categorically stated.