Sohail Warraich is a senior journalist and political analyst as well as a popular host of "Ek Din Geo K Sath" aired on Geo TV. Warraich's show features interviews with top politicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs, entertainers, sportsmen and other personalities and celebrities. He often points out contradictions and hypocrisies in the lives of his guests on his show by asking them: "Kia yeh khula tazad naheen" (Is it not an obvious contradiction)? Warraich is known to be close to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is currently in jail for owning overseas assets beyond means. He wrote Nawaz Sharif's hagiography "Ghaddar Kaun". Warraich believes the rise of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party have been enabled by the strong support of the military and Imran Khan's popularity with Pakistan's rising middle class.
|L to R: Sohail Warraich, Misbah Azam, Riaz Haq|
Osman Rashid is the son of a Pakistani diplomat. He was born in London and raised in Islamabad. He came to the United States from Pakistan in 1990s to study electrical engineering at University of Minnesota and earned a BSEE there. He is a successful serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.
Osman Rashid invited me and a few other Pakistani-American friends to meet Warraich over dinner at his Los Altos home. In response to my question about about the current state of affairs in Pakistan, Warraich shared his insights below:
1. Pakistan's middle class is rising and increasingly asserting itself in politics.
2. Pakistani military is the most dominant force in the country. It enjoys broad support among the middle class Pakistanis.
3. The rise of Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) have been enabled by the support of the military and the middle class.
4. Middle class support for the military will eventually fade and there will eventually be conflict between the two. It could lead to significant political changes in the country.
5. The situation of the people of Thar is improving with the development of coal mining and construction of power plants. There are better roads and growing employment opportunities for the locals. Warraich has visited Thar multiple times recently and found that the media reports of hunger and poverty and lack of health care are highly exaggerated. Such reports could be politically motivated to defame Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
Here's a video clip of dinner at Osman Rashid Silicon Valley house that I attended:
South Asia Investor Review
Pakistani Author-Journalist Raza Rumi in Silicon Valley
Pakistani-American Astrophysicist Dr. Nergis Mavalvala in Silicon Valley
Pakistani-American Moeed Yusuf in Silicon Valley
Islamic Scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi in Silicon Valley
Pakistan Civil Society Activist Jibran Nasir in Silicon Valley
Conspiracy Theories Dominate Pakistan Elections Coverage
Rising Middle Class in Pakistan
Can Imran Khan Lead Pakistan to the Next Level?
Pakistani Hindu Women Ride High on Thar Development
Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan
#IMF says #China (28.3%) will be the biggest contributor followed by #India (15.5%) and #UnitedStates till 2024. New #growth engines in top 20 in 5 years will be #Turkey, #Mexico, #Pakistan and #SaudiArabia, while Spain, Poland, Canada and Vietnam drop out https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-19/which-20-countries-will-dominate-global-growth-in-2024
The global economy, weighed down by tensions that have stalled international trade and elevated uncertainty, is expected to see slower growth in the next half decade across a wide swath of economies.
China’s growth rate is expected to continue to slow, and will be a smaller driver to global GDP growth in the near term. China’s share of global GDP growth is expected to fall from 32.7% in 2018-2019 to 28.3% by 2024 -- a relatively steep 4.4 percentage point reduction.
The U.S., while still expected to contribute a sizable portion to world growth, is projected to fall to third place, after India. America’s share of global growth is expected to slip from 13.8% to 9.2% by 2024, while India’s share is projected to rise to 15.5% and eclipse the U.S. over this five-year period.
Indonesia will remain in the fourth spot as its economy is expected to have a 3.7% growth share in 2024, a slight downward adjustment from 3.9% in 2019.
The U.K. will see its importance wane amid Brexit as its economy drops from ninth as a share of world growth in 2019, to 13th.
Although world GDP growth attributable to Russia is at 2% now and expected to stay there in five years, the country is likely to displace Japan as the number five growth contributor. Japan will fall to ..
#Pakistan #Economy Stats: 800,00 new tax filers. #Exports up 12%. New circular debt down 68%. #Trade deficit down to 41-month low. #KSE100 up 5,000 points in 50 days. Remittances and tax revenue up by 10% and 25%, respectively. CAD down 55% in Jul-Aug FY20 https://tribune.com.pk/story/2083236/6-resurrection-economy-imran-khan/
Eight hundred thousand new tax filers. Exports up 12%. New circular debt down by 68%. These are three positive headlines on Pakistan’s economy no one wants to put in a headline. But they’re only the tip of the iceberg as there’s a dramatic upswing in our macroeconomic indicators. Trade deficit down to 41-month low. KSE gaining almost 5,000 points in 50 days. Remittances and inland revenue up by 10% and 25%, respectively. Foreign portfolio investments at record levels in the last quarter. Current account deficit down by 55% in the first two months of the fiscal.
The juxtaposition of this good news with the punishing state of the real economy — measured by inflation and unemployment — means we’re standing in the darkest hour of Imran Khan’s resurrection of the economy. I call it a resurrection because the exciting part isn’t that we’re passing through the worst and things will get better in the real economy within a year, but because the sources of growth and fundamentals of the economy are transforming. In this column, I’ll unpack the method behind the madness of PTI’s perplexing economic transformation project.
Recall, Ishaq Dar and Miftah Ismail delivered a sick Pakistani economy on a stretcher in the emergency room to Asad Umar who had the unenviable task of giving chemotherapy to a metastasising cancer of fiscal and current account deficits ripping through the economy. Now, chemotherapy is an extremely debilitating medicine. You get sicker, start vomiting and lose your hair. Some patients are so sick of the medicine they prefer to not be treated. But if the patient has a healthy prognosis, the doctor’s priority is to save the patient’s life, no matter how painful the treatment.
This is exactly what Umar sought to do, with a homegrown reform process (versus one done by IMF). Being the impatient patient, we mistook the debilitating medicine as the enemy versus the actual disease (a sick economy). Things got so bad that we changed doctors mid-treatment but not the treatment journey itself. And now the results of that chemotherapy are beginning to show in the dramatic upswing of macroeconomic indicators. Does this mean the patient is healthy again? Not yet. We’re still in treatment but it’s working.
And now, for the exciting part. Say the reason we got lung cancer was that we loved smoking. Once recovered from the chemotherapy, will we return to smoking or will we kick the habit and become a fundamentally different person? In Pakistan’s case, we were smoking dollars we didn’t have by keeping the rupee artificially overvalued so elite consumption could be subsidised. This led us to keep borrowing money and fall into debt traps with the IMF. What’s exciting is this government’s commitment to keeping the rupee at its real value. This is creating a collapse in import-dependent businesses — painful, but in the long term will force businessmen to get into productive sectors of the economy versus staying on as traders. This is how market incentives work.
Another area of transformation: taxes. Pakistan’s economy is unhealthy because we don’t raise enough revenue to meet our expenses, causing us to borrow money and getting trapped in escalating debt. The core issue here is we never had the political will to go after anyone except the salaried middle class. Now, FBR is going after retailers, wholesalers and real estate transactions, which is great for raising the tax base and will also force people to invest in productive businesses versus parking their money speculatively in real estate.
Book Review: The New Pakistani Middle Class by Ammara Maqsood
The book unveils multiple facets of the country’s middle class, its trajectory since Pakistan’s creation and its understanding of and experience with the concept of a modern progressive nation and religion. Hina Shaikh reviews Dr Ammara Maqsood‘s ethnographic debut.
Pakistan has a rising middle class, now a critical segment of the country’s population, exhibiting great variation in its political, social and even economic positioning. There is, however, lack of sound socio-scientific research and literature on the evolution of this segment of the population. There are, of course, certain generalisations such as the middle class is mostly urban and a big consumer group belonging to a certain income threshold. However, the middle class is mostly dealt with in the economic or political context i.e. how this growing segment of the population impacts the economic or political landscape.
Dr Ammara Maqsood’s ethnographic debut The Pakistan’s New Middle Class unveils multiple facets of the country’s middle class, its trajectory since Pakistan’s creation and its understanding of and experience with the concept of a modern progressive nation. Her work focuses on how Pakistan’s rising urban middle class engage with religion (Islam) and its image as a progressive nation.
While providing a fresh way of understanding the middle class, the book examines the Muslim middle class in the postcolonial South Asian context and traces the evolution of this class from the late 18th century India. While the ethnography is specific to Lahore, Dr Maqsood discloses several emerging trends common across South Asia. For example, her comparison of the shift towards personal piety amongst Pakistan’s new middle class to reformism in Kerala, where middle class Muslims associate religious reformism with a modern outlook through promotion of education. Dr Maqsood feels such trends should be understood as a global impulse to cleanse rather than conform to a certain school of thought. Hence, there is a persistent shift in the new middle class to certain kinds of practices, across various sects of Islam – Deobandi, Wahabi and Barelvi — lacking a clear direction but up for constant negotiation.
The account is highly contextualised and relevant (especially to a those in the Indian sub-continent) to the current narrative around the search for a collective Muslim identity in modern progressive times. Though set in Lahore, her findings are frequently extended, and convincingly so, to the rest of urban Pakistan. The author also consistently provides references to relevant experiences from several other parts of the Muslim world. For example, Dr Maqsood gives examples from West Asia, Iran and India, about growth in Islamic consumerism — especially during Ramzan — and the increasing popularity of religious study circles. The book can thus appeal to most readers trying to understand how the Muslim middle class belonging to any part of the globe struggles to situate itself in today’s world.
The author’s central inquiry is around the question of how the country’s new middle class perceives itself both as a Pakistani and as a member of the larger global community. In that process, Dr Maqsood closely studies the connection and contrast between the old (established) and the new (upwardly mobile) middle class. While both groups are similar in their yearning for modernity and a progressive Pakistan, they differ in the perception the same. This contrast is an important contribution of this book as it provides a diligent understanding of the evolution of post-colonial Muslim societies, addressing the issue of class within the urban milieu.
BBC News - #Pakistan #AzadiMarch: #Women absent from anti-#ImranKhan protest by bearded protesters, waving black and white flags and dressed in mustard yellow descending on #Islamabad https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50246861
The convoy of bearded protesters, waving black and white flags and dressed in mustard yellow, descended on Pakistan's capital Islamabad hoping to force Prime Minister Imran Khan from office less than 18 months into the job.
The vast majority were members of Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazal-ur-Rehman (JUI-F), one of Pakistan's largest Islamist parties, travelling from all over the country to try to oust the cricketer-turned-politician.
But as eye-catching as they were, there was something else more noticeable: the lack of any women.
Their absence, however, was not a mistake: pamphlets released before the Azadi (freedom) march set off last Sunday told women to stay at home to "fast and pray".
It worked. BBC Urdu reporters say not a single woman was part of the JUI-F convoy as it wound its way around Pakistan over the course of the next five days.
Then, as it reached the capital for a mass rally alongside other opposition parties on Friday, another command was rumoured to have been sent out: female reporters were reportedly banned from covering the event.
"A man came and started saying women aren't allowed, women CANNOT be here. Leave! Slowly but in a minute's time a crowd of men encircled us and started chanting the slogans, we had to leave," tweeted journalist Shiffa Z Yousafzai..
JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman was quick to say they had a "lot of respect for our women" and that female journalists could attend the rally in "full dress code", APP news agency reported.
Meanwhile, Naeema Kishwar Khan, who represents JUI-F in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, denied women had been formally banned and defended the lack of female representation.
"If you look in the army, there are men in the front, and women provide medical help behind," she told BBC Urdu. "Our movement is like a war, the situation is deteriorating. If not, women would not be behind."
According to BBC Urdu reporters, the women who did attend - some of whom were linked to the other opposition parties taking part - kept a low profile.
On social media, the outcry began to grow. But journalist Benazir Shah shrugged it off. "I see this is for the better," she told BBC Urdu.
"The women of this country do not need to be part of a battle between two men and their egos, which is what this march is, a power play between two men.
"This march is not a movement for social change, as the one the world is witnessing in Lebanon, which has the equal participation of women and men. JUI-F aims to remove a democratically elected government and it uses whatever foul play it can to do so, such as religion.
"The women of this country should not be on the wrong side of history."
CMR (Civil-Military Relations) theories separation or concordance (Rebecca Schiff) Pakistan
One of the key questions in CivilMilitary Relations (CMR) theory has always been to ... While concordance theory does not preclude a separation between the civilian and ... (1945–55); India postIndependence and 1980s; Pakistan (1958–69).
After observing that most civil-military theory assumes that the civilian and military worlds must necessarily be separate, both physically and ideologically, Rebecca L. Schiff offered a new theory—Concordance—as an alternative. One of the key questions in Civil-Military Relations (CMR) theory has always been to determine under what conditions the military will intervene in the domestic politics of the nation. Most scholars agree with the theory of objective civilian control of the military (Huntington), which focuses on the separation of civil and military institutions. Such a view concentrates and relies heavily on the U.S. case, from an institutional perspective, and especially during the Cold War period. Schiff provides an alternative theory, from both institutional and cultural perspectives, that explains the U.S. case as well as several non-U.S. civil-military relations case studies.
While concordance theory does not preclude a separation between the civilian and military worlds, it does not require such a state to exist. She argues that three societal institutions—(1) the military, (2) political elites, and (3) the citizenry must aim for a cooperative arrangement and some agreement on four primary indicators.
1. Social composition of the officer corps.
2. The political decision-making process.
3. The method of recruiting military personnel.
4. The style of the military.
If agreement occurs among the three partners with respect to the four indicators, domestic military intervention is less likely to occur. In her book, The Military and Domestic Politics, she applied her theory to six international historical cases studies: U.S., post–Second World War period; American Post-Revolutionary Period (1790–1800); Israel (1980–90); Argentina (1945–55); India post-Independence and 1980s; Pakistan (1958–69).
Suhail Warraich talks to Naya Daur Media about the confiscation of his book in Pakistan.
Suhail Warraich's latest book 'Yeh Company Nahin Chale Gi' was published yesterday but reportedly thousands of the book's copies mysteriously went missing from the bookshelves across the country. According to some reports, copies were confiscated by authorities from the publisher as well.
Talking to Naya Daur Media, Suhail Warraich said that he wasn't sure if the copies had been confiscated but 'certain circles' were unhappy with the cover of the book. When asked what circles had expressed their dislike of the cover, he said they were both from the government and the state institutions.
Talking about censorship in the country, Warraich said that he did not consider himself among the journalists who criticised the state institutions. He added that he'd prefer changing the cover of the book so that it can be marketed again and read by the people of Pakistan.
Suhail Warraich said his book covered all the major issues that the government faced during the last two years.
Note: The book cover shows the following:
1. Prime Minister Imran Khan is sitting on the floor dressed as a child and blowing into an inflatable beachball at the feet of Army Chief General Bajwa
2. A common man is lying helplessly on the floor under Bajwa's boots.
3. Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz are watching it all from outside through a window as silent spectators .
How will PM Khan’s removal affect Pakistan’s fragile democracy?
Now, out of power, Imran Khan actually has a better chance of striking a blow for democracy and civilian supremacy – if he chooses to do so.
The PTI’s social base, primarily composed of the urban middle class and elite, is almost exactly that which has historically strongly supported the military’s interventions in politics. If Imran Khan explicitly targets Bajwa, the polarisation of this class into pro-Imran and pro-army factions may, unwittingly, sow the seeds of democratic reform. Already, there are some signs that the PTI base is expressing more scepticism about the army’s role in politics. As long as such divisiveness does not spill over into violence, it may, with luck, end up serving Pakistan’s interests in the long run.
But this is grasping at straws. It ignores that Khan does not have a problem with the military, just one military man. It ignores that in politics, memories can be short. Most of all, it ignores that we have been here before, with the military apparently having taken one misstep too far, only for its influence to proceed unimpeded.
"Hands Were Tied, Blackmailed": Imran Khan's All-Out Attack On Pak Army
Imran Khan, who came to power in 2018, reportedly with the backing of the military, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was replaced by PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif.
In an unusual attack on Pakistan's military, ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that his government was a "weak one" which was "blackmailed from everywhere" as the power was not with him and "everyone knows where that is".
Imran Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
In an interview to Pakistan's Bol News on Wednesday, Imran Khan was asked to recall the events of the night of the no-confidence vote against him, who was issuing orders and who had impeded the cases against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said his government had been "weak" when it came to power and had to seek coalition partners, adding that if the same situation were to arise again, he would opt for re-elections and seek a majority government or none at all.
"Our hands were tied. We were blackmailed from everywhere. Power wasn't with us. Everyone knows where the power lies in Pakistan so we had to rely on them," the 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician said, without elaborating any further who he was referring to.
Imran Khan, who came to power in 2018, reportedly with the backing of the military, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was replaced by PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif.
He said it was imperative for the country to have a "strong army" due to the threat posed by the enemies but said there was also the need to strike a "balance" between having a strong army and a strong government.
"We relied on them all the time. They did a lot of good things too but they didn't do many things that should've been done. They have the power because they control institutions such as NAB (National Accountability Bureau), which wasn't in our control," he said.
The former Prime Minister said while his government had the responsibility, it did not have all the power and the authority.
The Pakistan Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 73 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. However, the army has continuously denied its involvement in politics.
According to experts, Imran Khan, who was ousted on April 10 after the National Assembly passed a no-confidence motion against him, had apparently lost support of the Army after he refused to endorse the appointment of Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the ISI spy agency chief last year. Finally, he agreed but it soured his ties with the Army.
During the interview, Imran Khan said, "No management works if I have responsibility but have no complete power and authority. A system works only when responsibility and authority are in one place."
Mr Khan said the current political situation was a problem for the country as well as the establishment.
"If the establishment doesn't make the right decisions then I can assure in writing that (before everyone else) they and the army will be destroyed because of what will become of the country if it goes bankrupt," he said.
"Pakistan is going towards a default. If that happens then which institution will be (the worst) hit? The army. After it is hit, what concession will be taken from us? Denuclearisation," Mr Khan said.
After Imran Khan’s Ouster, Pakistan Is Going Through an Unprecedented Political Crisis by Ayyaz Mallick
Pakistan’s ousted leader, Imran Khan, is continuing his bid to regain power after surviving an assassination attempt last week. With the traditional parties discredited and divisions opening up in the military, the country is entering uncharted waters.
In late 2021, a row developed between Khan and army chief General Bajwa, who had up to this point been the PTI leader’s chief benefactor and ally. Bajwa attempted to transfer the intelligence chief, Lt General Faiz Hameed, who was the Khan government’s de facto whip and organizational muscle man. Khan dithered and resisted, intimating that he might be planning to appoint Hameed as the next army chief so as to secure another term in power.
However, Bajwa had made up his mind. The opposition sensed an opening as relations soured between the two men, and Khan’s political allies now jumped ship. A vote of no confidence in Pakistan’s parliament forced him out of office. Khan claimed that he was the victim of a US-sponsored regime-change conspiracy on the basis of an unpleasant meeting that Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington had held with a State Department official.
The post-Khan administration brought together political has-beens with their progenies and protégés under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Fearing Khan’s substantial reserves of popularity, they did not call for fresh elections to get over the taint of the highly manipulated 2018 ones. Instead, they took the reins of power so they could enjoy the perks of office, cuddle up to General Bajwa, and have some say in the appointment of the next army chief.
The PDM government has also implemented austerity policies with the same ruthlessness as its predecessor. Cuts to Pakistan’s already threadbare fuel and electricity subsidies have compounded the impact of soaring inflation, which has been fueled by global trends as well as the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee in the name of market adjustment.
As Antonio Gramsci reminds us, a crisis can sometimes last for decades, revealing incurable structural contradictions. The current political turbulence in Pakistan arises from a deep-rooted and long-standing structural crisis of this nature. Only a political force with social depth and programmatic coherence can permanently resolve this crisis by fundamentally transforming the socioeconomic order.
In the absence of such a force, the constant jockeying for position between different factions of the country’s ruling bloc will continue, occasionally resulting in deadlock. The United States is not playing the same role as imperial sponsor or mediator that it did in similar crises of the past, and Pakistan’s relationship with China will not offer a substitute for its leaders.
We thus appear to be hurtling toward the kind of catastrophic equilibrium that Gramsci once warned about, in which large sections of the masses and key pillars of the hegemonic order become detached from their traditional vehicles. Khan, who was the latest (and perhaps last) popular figure working in coordination with the ruling bloc, now seems intractably opposed to it.
With political maneuvers no longer capable of papering over the structural fault lines, we are entering a context where, as Gramsci put it, the field becomes “open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic ‘men of destiny.’” Now may be the time of monsters.
Pakistan’s New Middle Class
Neo Pei En, Phedra, Amit Ranjan
15 December 2022
New Middle Class
The new middle class is distinct from the old middle class. Its members work in mid-level positions, often in the private sector or have families making money through semi-skilled jobs in the Middle East or North America. They rose mainly during Musharraf’s rule, whose economic reforms allowed many to join the middle class though his subsequent actions disillusioned them. In 2008, more than 50 per cent of Pakistanis lived in towns of more than 5,000 people or more – this increasing urbanisation indicates most of the middle class could be found in urban areas.
This new middle class is also evolving as it uses social media to interact with the outside world more. It is “a global pioneer in digitally fuelled amplification of protests” and has the power to take down governments. Currently, its identity is diversifying with the additional mix of freelancers and gig workers. The ease of accessing information with the rise of the internet contributed to the middle class’ increased connectivity with the world through digital means. This would, therefore, continue to have an effect on the Pakistani middle class. It may lead to new developments as protests are now initiated online and can reach more people instantaneously, which is a great way to swiftly gather a large following.
As is seen in many countries, including Pakistan, there is a global consensus that the rise of new information and technologies has changed the political arena. With heightened access to the internet and unrestricted information, the middle class, particularly the youths, are likely to receive more information and be mobilised from such online platforms that would influence their political views. This can be seen from the throngs of middle-class youths that support Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who have been mobilised by the PTI through digital media both in the past and in the present. The PTI’s ability to use social media platforms, broadcast videos and initiate blog postings have led them to successfully attract the viewership of the youths and the middle class. The evolution of the new middle class, which has also included increased access to the internet, combined with the political parties’ deft use of digital media, will change how political parties function in Pakistan in the long run.
Further, other factors, such as Imran’s populist politics, may have a part to play in galvanising apolitical youths. With their contempt for politicians of the past and their corrupt ways, the new middle class and youths threw their support behind Imran for his promises to implement large-scale political change and his stand against status quo politics. The effects of this support in pushing Imran back to being the leader of Pakistan remain to be seen. Given their fervent support for Imran and his politics, the middle class is likely to have a role to play if that happens.
Over the course of Pakistan’s history, the middle class has seen itself morphing, transiting from the old to one that now includes the new middle class. The new middle class appears to subscribe to a slightly different set of religious values and leadership compared to the old middle class. The identities and aspirations of the new middle class, along with their engagement in Pakistani civil society, may continue to change as they grow in size and influence. In the contemporary times, many in this new middle class viewed the old leaders as corrupt politicians who have damaged the country. In this regard, Imran’s pledge to fight corruption and his vow to create a Naya Pakistan (new Pakistan) are directly responding to the imperatives of the new middle class. As a result, a sizeable portion of the middle class supports him, which could trigger political changes and restore Imran to power.
Post a Comment