Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Stanford Ranks 243 Pakistani Scientists Among World's Top 2%

Stanford University has ranked 243 Pakistani scientists among the world's top 2% scientists for 2019.  Among them are 81 Pakistani professors who are recognized in the lifetime research work list of 160,000 scientists. 

Stanford University


Stanford's Top 2% Scientists List:

Stanford University has ranked 243 Pakistani scientists among the world's top 2% scientists for 2019.  Among them are 81 Pakistani professors who are recognized in the lifetime research work list of 160,000 scientists. The list of the top 2% of the world's scientists has been created by experts from Stanford University based on data from Elsevier’s Scopus, the abstract and citation database. It covers 22 scientific fields and 176 subfields and provides standardized information on citations, h-index, co-authorship-adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions, and a composite indicator.    




Pakistani Professors on Stanford List


Highly Cited Researchers (HCR):


Last year, Clarivate Analytics listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  It included 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans. This Highly Cited Researchers list included 17 Nobel Laureates. It represented more than 60 nations, but more than 80% of them were from the 10 nations and 70% from the first five – a remarkable concentration of top talent. Here are the top 10 nations in order:  United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, France, Switzerland and Spain.

Most Highly Cited Pakistani Scientists. Source: Clarivate Analytics



The United States led among HCRs with 2,639 scientists followed by the United Kingdom's 546 and China's 482.  Top three institutions producing world's most highly cited researchers were: Harvard University (186), National Institutes of Health (148) and Stanford University (100).  Chinese Academy of Sciences ranks 4th with 99 highly cited researchers.

Research Output Growth: 

Pakistan is one of the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018, according to Nature Magazine. The publication reports that the "global production of scientific papers hit an all-time high this year...with emerging economies rising fastest".

Countries With Biggest Rises in Research Output. Source: Nature



Pakistan ranked first or second depending  on whether one accepts the text or the graphic (above) published by Nature.  The text says Egypt had 21% growth while the graph shows Pakistan with 21% growth. Here's an excerpt of the text: "Emerging economies showed some of the largest increases in research output in 2018, according to estimates from the publishing-services company Clarivate Analytics. Egypt and Pakistan topped the list in percentage terms, with rises of 21% and 15.9%, respectively. ...China’s publications rose by about 15%, and India, Brazil, Mexico and Iran all saw their output grow by more than 8% compared with 2017".

Scientific Output:

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Top 10 Pakistan Institutions in Scientific Output. Source: Nature Index

Pakistan's Global Ranking:

Pakistan ranks 40 among 161 countries for quality adjusted scientific output for year 2017 as reported by Nature Index 2018.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36. US leads with almost 15,800, followed by China's 7,500, Germany 3,800, UK 3,100 and Japan 2,700.

Nature Index:

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Pakistan vs BRICS:

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Top Asian Universities:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.


In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.

Summary:

Stanford University has ranked 243 Pakistani scientists among the world's top 2% scientists for 2019.  Among them are 81 Pakistani professors who are recognized in the lifetime research work list of 160,000 scientists. Last year Clarivate Analytics listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR). There were 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it.  Pakistan is among the world's top two countries where the research output rose the fastest in 2018. Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (WFC) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36.  In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.   British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Pakistani-American Starts Defense-Focused AI Company

Amir Husain, a Pakistani-American AI expert, has started a defense-focused artificial intelligence company, according to builtinaustin.com.  Amir Husain's AI company SparkCognition has been building artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) software for its various clients since 2013. After closing on a $100 million Series C round last year, the company claims to be “one of the most valuable startups in Texas and one of the most valuable AI startups in the United States.” Earlier this year, Amir Husain and his wife Zaib, both University of Texas at Austin alumni, donated $5 million to launch "Artificial Intelligence Institute" at their alma mater. 

Pakistani-American Couple Amir and Zaib Husain


“We started to develop software capabilities for a variety of (Department of Defense) clients and partners in the defensive industry,” founder and CEO Amir Husain said in a virtual event announcing the new company, as reported by the Austin-American Statesman. “We invented AI-powered weapon systems, prototyped a few and secured patents for many more. We have learned rich lessons and identified the shortcomings that prevent us now, as a country, from taking the lead in this critical new area.”

The new defense-focused AI company has announced several members of its board of directors who have served in high-ranking positions in the United States government. Most prominent among them are retired US Marine Corps General John Allen, former Air Force Under Secretary Lisa Disbrow, retired Navy Admiral John M. Richardson and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work.

Artificial intelligence is now being seen as the future of modern warfare. AI-powered networked drone swarms have recently been successfully deployed in Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict and the Gulf region. 

Defense analysts believe that Turkish and Israeli drones have helped Azerbaijan achieve decisive victory against Armenia. "Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare" says the Washington Post headline as tweeted by drone warfare expert Franz-Stefan Gady. In 2019, dozens of cheap drones were deployed against Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields to cut Saudi Aramco's production by half, according to multiple media reports. Saudi and US officials have blamed Iran for the destructive hit. This was the first time that cheap drone swarms loaded with explosives dodged sophisticated air defense systems to hit critical infrastructure targets in the history of warfare.  

Amir Husain was born is Lahore, Pakistan in 1977.  Husain enrolled in the Punjab Institute of Computer Science at the age of 15 and graduated from it two years later with a bachelor's degree in computer science. Amir is a serial entrepreneur. He has started and sold several companies. He started SparkCognition in 2013 with Michael Dell as its first investor. 

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Obama: Quickest Route to Indian Unity is Expressing Hostility Toward Pakistan

Discussion on India in President Barack Obama's memoir titled "A Promised Land" reveals what the former US President thought about India, particularly Indian hostility against Pakistan. Obama also reveals that President-elect Joseph R. Biden opposed the US Navy Seals raid to kill Usama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011. Biden was Obama's Vice President at the time. 

Obama's Book Excerpts: 

“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”.  

"Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”. 

All politics and violence in India revolve around "religion, clan and caste". 

"Despite genuine economic progress, India remained a chaotic and impoverished place: largely divided by religion and caste, captive to the whims of corrupt local officials and power brokers". 

Indians take "great pride in the knowledge that India had developed nuclear weapons to match Pakistan's, untroubled by the fact that a single miscalculation by either side could risk regional annihilation".  

"(Manmohan) Singh had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan after the (Mumbai) attacks, but his restraint had cost him politically. He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)" 

"Across the country (India), millions continued to live in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages or labyrinthine slums, even as the titans of Indian industry enjoyed lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of old would have envied". 

“Joe (Biden) weighed in against the (Usama Bin Laden) raid (on compound in Pakistan)”

Deaths From Poor Sanitation in South Asia. Source: Our World in Data


Biden-Trump Debate: 

In his first debate with Democratic Presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, President Donald Trump questioned India's coronavirus data while responding to Biden's accusation that his opponent has badly mishandled the pandemic. About 21 minutes into the debate, Trump said: "And, by the way, when you talk about numbers, you don’t know how many people died in China. You don’t know how many people died in Russia. You don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t exactly give you a straight count, just so you understand". 

Talking about climate change, Trump accused India of being a leading polluter. About an hour into the debate, Trump said: "China sends up real dirt into the air. Russia does. India does. They all do". There are reports suggesting India has surpassed China as the world's top polluter. Images captured by the Dutch space instrument, Tropomi, show high concentrations pollutants like Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone and other pollutants produced by car traffic, industry and power stations in India, according to a Business Insider report.

Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani on India:

"One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect", writes former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani in his latest book "Has China Won?". "If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India", adds Ambassador Mahbubani. It's not just Mahbubani who suspects the United States leadership does not respect India. Others, including former President Bill Clinton, current US President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria have expressed similar sentiments. 

Trump and Clinton:

There is some evidence to support Ambassador Mahbubani's assertion about America's lack of respect for India. For example,  ex US President Bill Clinton said in 1990s that India has a Rodney Dangerfield problem: It can’t get no respect, according to his deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott. In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Hillary Clinton referred to India as "a self-appointed frontrunner for a permanent UN security council seat."

More recently, US President Donald Trump mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Indian contribution to Afghanistan.  Trump said he got along very well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Indian leader was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan". "That's like five hours of what we spend... And we are supposed to say, 'oh, thank you for the library'. I don't know who is using it in Afghanistan," Trump said.

Western Media:

Indians were justifiably very proud of their great scientific achievement when the India Space Agency ISRO successfully launched the nation's Mars Mission back in 2013. The New York Times, America's leading newspaper, mocked India with a cartoon depicting the country as a dhoti-wearing farmer with his cow knocking on the door of the Elite Space Club. 

New York Times Cartoon


In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Fareed Zakaria: 

CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria is known to be among the loudest cheerleaders for India and a sharp critic of Pakistan. While he still refuses to say anything that could even remotely be considered positive about Pakistan, it seems that he is souring on his native India.

Speaking with Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel, Fareed Zakaria called the Indian state an “inefficient state”.“Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality, " he added. He did not clearly speak about the lynchings of Indian Muslims by people affiliated with the ruling BJP and the brutality of Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims, but he did ask: “What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? He noted sadly:”India seems like roadkill for China".

Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.

 Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:

1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.

2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.

3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.

4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.

4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.

5. Popularity of political leaders around the  world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.

6.  What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.

8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.

9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.

Summary: 

“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”, writes former US President Barack Obama in his memoir titled "A Promised Land.  Obama goes on to add: "Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”.  Singaporean diplomat, analyst and writer Kishore Mahbubani has argued in his latest book "Has China Won?" that America does not really respect India. Others, including ex US President Bill Clinton, current President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria, have expressed similar sentiments. It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.

Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:

https://youtu.be/KpAMVLwBJkM





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Friday, November 13, 2020

Turkish and Israeli Drones Enable Azerbaijan's Decisive Victory Over Armenia

Defense analysts believe that Turkish and Israeli drones have helped Azerbaijan achieve decisive victory against Armenia. "Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare" says the Washington Post headline as tweeted by drone warfare expert Franz-Stefan Gady. Low-cost Azeri drones killed thousands of Armenian soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh and destroyed hundreds of Armenian tanks and artillery pieces, giving a huge advantage to Azerbaijan and forcing the Armenian surrender.  Armenian Prime Minister accused Pakistan of sending troops to help Azerbaijan in the conflict. Pakistan rejected Armenian allegations and congratulated Azerbaijan on its victory. 

Turkish Drones

Azeris deployed a variety of drones in their war against Armenia to wrest control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that is legally part of Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenians. Azeris used Turkish Bayraktar drones which are large and reusable drones. They also Kamikaze drones made by Israel which are small and designed for one-time use in destroying targets.  The small Israeli-made suicide drones are sometimes also referred to as "loitering munitions". Azeris used big old WW2 Antonov AN-2 biplanes as decoys to fool Armenian air defense systems. 

Michael Kofman, military analyst and director of Russia studies at CNA, a defense think tank in Arlington, Va. is quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “Drones offer small countries very cheap access to tactical aviation and precision guided weapons, enabling them to destroy an opponent’s much-costlier equipment such as tanks and air defense systems.”  “An air force is a very expensive thing,” he added. “And they permit the utility of air power to smaller, much poorer nations.”

In 2019, dozens of cheap drones were deployed against Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields to cut Saudi Aramco's production by half, according to multiple media reports. Saudi and US officials have blamed Iran for the destructive hit. This was the first time that cheap drone swarms loaded with explosives dodged sophisticated air defense systems to hit critical infrastructure targets in the history of warfare.  

Small drones are hard to detect even by the most sophisticated radars. It's even harder to shoot down a drone swarm because of their small size and large numbers. After Abqaiq and Khurais attacks last year, Saudi sources revealed that 25 drones and missiles were used to hit the two sites that produced 5.7 million barrels of oil per day. The incoming low-flying small drones and missiles successfully evaded US-supplied sophisticated air defense system. Multi-billion dollar cutting edge American military hardware mainly designed to deter high altitude attacks has proved no match for low-cost drones and cruise missiles used in a strike that crippled its giant oil industry. 

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Turkish-Born Muslim Scientists Behind Pfizer's Successful COVID19 Vaccine

Pfizer has announced today that its COVID19 vaccine has been found to be more than 90% effective in its recently concluded large-scale trial. The two key scientists who developed this vaccine are Turkish-born Muslims named Dr. Ugur Sahin and his wife Dr. Ozlem Tureci, according to media reports.  The couple started BioNTech, a technology startup based in Germany, to develop treatments using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. A Morocco-born Muslim scientist Dr. Moncef Mohamad Slaoui is leading Operation WARP Speed announced by President Donald Trump to rapidly develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine in the United States. Covid19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world faces today. Muslim scientists are in the forefront of dealing with this challenge. This is particularly notable in a world where Islamophobia has gone mainstream in recent years. 


Dr. Sahin and Dr. Tureci


The Scientist Couple:

Dr. Sahin, 55, is the son of a Turkish Muslim immigrant who worked at a Ford factory in Cologne, Germany. He is now among 100 richest Germans, together with his wife and fellow board member Dr. Oezlem Tuereci, 53, according to weekly Welt am Sonntag. 

Sahin had been working on mRNA technology with his wife Dr. Tureci for more than 25 years. The couple, both children of Muslim Turkish immigrants who met while working at a cancer clinic, sold their first company, Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, for $1.66 billion in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. Then they started BioNTech whose market value on NASDAQ has soared to $21 billion as of Friday’s close from $4.6 billion a year ago. 

Deal With Pfizer:

BioNTech was working with Pfizer to develop a new flu vaccine when Covid19 emerged in China. As the epidemic raged in China—making it a good place to hold vaccine trials—Dr. Sahin struck a deal with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to test candidates there. 

China soon lost its appeal as a potential vaccine testing ground because of the nation's progress in containing the virus. It prompted Dr. Sahin's call to Dr. Kathrin Jansen, head of Pfizer vaccine research, on March 1 to suggest a new partnership to test Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S. Dr. Jansen didn’t hesitate. She told Dr. Sahin, “Of course, I’d be interested. It’s probably the most important thing we’ll ever do,” she told the Journal. Dr. Sahin offered to split the remaining development costs as well as the profits down the middle. Dr. Jansen accepted, he said, and the two companies began work on the project even before signing a contract. Pfizer said Dr. Jansen agreed in principle to work with BioNTech.

Dr. Moncef Mohamed Slaoui: 

Earlier this year. President Donald Trump picked renowned Moroccan-born Muslim American immunologist Dr. Moncef Mohamed Slaoui to  lead  Operation Warp Speed, America's COVID-19 vaccine program. Trump has compared this vaccine effort with the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb in the 1940s.

Dr. Moncef Slaou

Dr. Slaoui is a highly recognized scientist and a successful leader who has delivered as GSK's head of vaccines. He appears to have more of a can-do entrepreneurial approach to solving problems. He has recently been running a life-sciences VC fund in Philadelphia.

Announcing the appointment, Trump described Slaoui as “one of the most respected men in the world in the production and, really, on the formulation of vaccines.” “Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientist will be Dr Moncef Slaoui, a world-renowned immunologist who helped create 14 new vaccines,” Trump said at a White House news briefing. “That’s a lot of our new vaccines — in 10 years, during his time in the private sector,” he added.

Dr. Slaoui is an ethnic berber born in the Moroccan coastal city of Agadir which is famous for its beaches, according to Dr. Juan Cole of University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Dr. Cole has hailed Dr. Slaoui's appointment in his blog post titled "I guess “Islam” doesn’t Hate us After All: Trump pins hopes for Vaccine on Muslim-American Slaoui".

Dr. Slaoui is listed as an author on over 100 scientific papers. He worked for 30 years at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and for a decade he headed up its worldwide Research and Development department. He also served for two years as chair of GSK Vaccines, notes Yahia Hatim at Morocco World News.  Slaoui, a former professor of immunology at the University of Mons, Belgium, said that Operation Warp Speed will make available a few hundred million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

Muslim Americans in Health Care:

There are a large number of Muslim Americans on the frontlines of war against the novel coronavirus. Among them is Dr. Syra MadadPakistani-American head of New York City’s Health and Hospitals System-wide Special Pathogens Program, who is featured in a 6-part Netflix documentary series "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak".

Pakistani-American doctors are the 3rd largest among foreign-educated doctors in America. Among the notable names of Pakistani-American doctors engaged in the fight against Covid-19 are: Dr. Saud Anwar in Connecticut, Dr. Gul Zaidi in New York and Dr. Umair Shah in Texas. Their work has received positive media coverage in recent weeks.

Dr. Saud Anwar, a Connecticut pulmonologist and state senator, came up with a ventilator splitter to deal with the shortages of life-saving equipment. Dr. Gul Zaidi, an acute-care pulmonologist in Long Island, was featured in a CBS 60 Minutes segment on how the doctors are dealing with unprecedented demands to save lives. Dr. Umair Shah was interviewed about his work by ABC TV affiliate in Houston, Texas.

Summary:

Pfizer has announced that its COVID19 vaccine is 90% effective. The couple behind this success are the husband-wife team of Turkish Muslim scientists who together founded BioNTech in Cologne, Germany.  The US vaccine effort named Operation WARP Speed is also led by a Muslim American scientist Dr. Moncef Mohamed Slaoui. Covid19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world faces today. Muslim scientists are in the forefront of dealing with this challenge. This is particularly notable in a world where Islamophobia has gone mainstream in recent years. 


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Friday, November 6, 2020

Prop 22: California Voters Save the Gig Economy

While the world is focusing on the US presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden, the app-based service companies have made big news in the Silicon Valley tech world: The gig economy has been saved by California voters who passed Proposition 22 with 60% majority. The entire gig economy was facing the threat of extinction from California Assembly Bill 5 that required all gig workers to be classified as employees with full benefits rather than contractors. The voters in heavily Democratic California state also defeated anti-business Propositions 16 and  21. Prop 16 would have significantly raised commercial property taxes while Prop 21 would have imposed stricter rent controls.  Bob Shrum, a former Democratic strategist and the director of the Dornsife Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California, told the New York Times that “(T)he results in California show the Democrats that you can go too far. California is a very liberal state that is now resistant to higher taxes and welcoming to the new gig economy, which is where the industry was created.”  App-based ride-hailing company Uber has gone global and inspired many other entrepreneurs to experiment with the gig economy model.  Developing countries like Pakistan are seeing extraordinary growth in their digital economies.  Pakistan's digital gig economy has surged 69% during the COVID19 pandemic, putting the country among the world's top 4 hottest online freelancer markets

App-based Gig Economy


California Propositions:

California propositions are an example of direct democracy. Propositions are put up for popular vote during elections  to deal with issues by groups that feel strongly that the politicians are not serving their best interests. Passage of Prop 22 shows that the majority of Californians disagree with the Assembly Bill 5 passed their elected legislators. 

Gig Economy:

It is ironic that Democratic politicians in California, the birthplace of app-based gig economy companies,  are trying to kill the gig economy to please their labor union donors. They are ignoring many part-time workers who do gig work to supplement their incomes from regular jobs. On the other hand, the gig companies like Uber are showing flexibility to accommodate the concerns of gig economy workers by guaranteeing higher minimum wages and assistance with health insurance premiums. 

California Proposition 22:

Prop 22 exempts app-based companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash from  California AB 5. The new minimum hourly wage under Prop 22 is around $16.80, which is higher than the minimum pay under fair labor standards, provisions and regulations. Gig workers will also get a stipend they could use to buy an insurance plan from Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace.  These provisions helped sell Prop 22 as a reasonable compromise to voters of the deep blue state.


Global Impact:

App-based ride-hailing company Uber has gone global and inspired many other entrepreneurs to experiment with the gig economy model. The passage of Prop 22 in California will likely help the world's largest app-based service companies prosper not just in California but the also serve as an example for the rest of the world. Developing countries like Pakistan are seeing extraordinary growth in their digital economies. 

Digital Gigs in Pakistan:

Pakistan's digital gig economy has surged 69% during the COVID19 pandemic, putting the country among the world's top 4 hottest online freelancer markets, reports  Payoneer, a global payments platform company based in Silicon Valley, in its latest report. Payoneer attributes it to government programs such as Punjab government's e Rozgaar program that has been offering free online courses in digital freelancing. The sudden rush to learn skills online boosted the demand for instructors. The Pakistan government filled this demand by hiring alumni of programs like e Rozgaar who were successfully participating in the gig economy.

Summary: 

Passage of Prop 22 is a strong repudiation of California politicians in a deep blue liberal state. California voters have shown they are willing to experiment with the new gig economy. They have told the politicians in no uncertain terms that they do not approve of excessive regulation and higher business taxes. App-based ride-hailing company Uber has gone global and inspired many other entrepreneurs to experiment with the gig economy model. The passage of Prop 22 in California will likely help the world's largest app-based service companies prosper not just in California but the also serve as an example for the rest of the world. Developing countries like Pakistan are seeing extraordinary growth in their digital economies. Pakistan's digital gig economy has surged 69% during the COVID19 pandemic, putting the country among the world's top 4 hottest online freelancer markets

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Soaring Exports of Pakistan's Information Technology and Pharma Industries Amid COVID Pandemic

Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 44% during the first quarter (July, August and September) of the fiscal year 2020-21, according to a tweet by Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pharmaceutical exports saw 22.6% increase in the same period over last year.  Pakistan's information technology and pharmaceutical exports are soaring by double digits amid the COVID pandemic, much faster than the overall exports. 



Razzak Dawood on IT Exports



Technology Exports: 

"I am glad to note that our exports of Telecommunication & IT Services have done very well during the period Jul-Sep of this Financial Year (FY). The exports have grown by 41% to USD 444 million as compared to USD 315 million in the corresponding period in the last FY", Mr. Dawood tweeted today.

 

In Fiscal Year 2019-20 ending in June, 2020, the Information Telecommunication (IT) and IT enabled Services (ITeS) export remittances surged 23.71% to $1.230 billion from $994.848 million during the same period in the prior year, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics as reported by Pakistani media


Pharmaceutical Exports: 

Pakistan's pharmaceutical exports have also gotten off to a great start this year,  rising 22.6% in Q1 of the fiscal year 2021 to $68.1 million from $55.6 million last year.  Export of pharmaceutical products accelerated in September with 57.99% increase from a year earlier, according to the latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  

Textile Exports: 

With several major brands moving production to Pakistan amid the COVID19 pandemic, the country's exports have grown at a faster pace than those of Bangladesh and India, according to Bloomberg News. Pakistan's total textile shipments rose 7% in September, compared with India’s 6% and  Bangladesh’s 3.5%. 


South Asia Region's Exports. Source: Bloomberg




“Pakistan has seen orders shifting from multiple nations including China, India and Bangladesh,” said Shahid Sattar, secretary general at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, in an interview with Bloomberg's Faseeh Mangi. “Garment manufacturers are operating near maximum capacity and many can’t take any orders for the next six months.”

Pakistan's Textiles Growth. Source: Bloomberg


Bloomberg attributed Pakistan's export surge to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration  to be the first in South Asia  to ease the COVID19 lockdown after controlling the spread of the disease. It helped draw companies like Guess Inc., Hugo Boss AG, Target Corp. and Hanesbrands Inc.

Investor Confidence: 

 Pakistan's benchmark stock index KSE-100 has soared 52% since March, beating runners-up Vietnam and India, and gaining twice as much as China, according to Bloomberg News. In spite of the rapid rise, the valuation of the KSE-100 listed companies is among the world's lowest with forward price-earnings multiple of just 7.4 times. Pakistan is heading for an IPO spree, with as many as 10 companies lining up to go public.

IPO Spree in Karachi Stock Market. Source: Bloomberg



V-Shaped Recovery:

With coronavirus spread contained, Pakistan economy is rebounding with V-shaped economic recovery.   Pakistanis have once again defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties.  Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 44% during the first quarter (July, August and September) of the fiscal year 2020-21, according to a tweet by Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pharmaceutical exports saw 22.6% increase in the same period over last year.   The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now. There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% in June, 2020.  The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News.  Pakistan has successfully overcome the challenges posed  by the pandemic and its economic impact. Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.


Covid19 Cases in Pakistan. Source: Our World in Data


Broad Recovery: 

The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News. The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now.  There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output has increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% if compared to June 2020. Month-wise trend of QIM from July, 2018 to July, 2020.    

Pakistan Monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing. Source: PBS

Cement Sales: 

Pakistan is once again experiencing a construction boom with new incentives under Naya Pakistan Housing Program. Monthly cement sales rose to near all-time high of almost 5 million tons in July 2020 as construction activity picked up in both housing and CPEC-related projects. 

Pakistan Cement Sales. Source: Bloomberg


Car Sales:

Gasoline sales in June, 2020 hit new record  and local car deliveries rose to about 10,000 units as people returned to work after easing of lockdown in May, 2020. Kia Motors Corp.’s local unit is planning to add a second shift at its factory in Karachi from January.  

Pakistan Car Sales Recovery. Source: Bloomberg

Multiple Sectors Growing: 

Sectors including food, beverages & tobacco, coke & petroleum products, pharmaceuticals and non metallic mineral products saw an increase in production in July 2020.  Muzzammil Aslam, chief executive officer at Tangent Capital Advisors Pvt., was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “It has surprised everybody".  Aslam expects Pakistan economy at 4%-5% in current fiscal year, higher than the government’s 2.1% target. “The growth is led by an aggregate demand push.”

Summary:

Pakistanis have defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. Pakistan has successfully fought off the deadly COVID19 virus and begun to bounce back economically.  Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 44% during the first quarter (July, August and September) of the fiscal year 2020-21, according to a tweet by Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pharmaceutical exports saw 22.6% increase in the same period over last year.   With several major brands moving production to Pakistan, the country's exports are rebounding faster than its peers in South Asia.  Moody's rating agency has raised Pakistan's economic outlook from "under review for downgrade" to "stable". Pakistan's Planning Minister Asad Umar is talking of a "V-shaped recovery". Monthly cement sales have rebounded to pre-pandemic level, fuel sales have increased, tax collection is up,  exports are rising and the Karachi stock market is booming again. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Javed Bajwa have been on the same page in tackling the health and economic crises faced by Pakistan. Contrary to the critics of Pakistan's civil-military ties,  Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Pharma Industry

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Naya Pakistan Housing Program

Construction Industry in Pakistan

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Pakistan to Become World's 6th Largest Cement Producer by 2030

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid19 Crisis

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Pakistan's Exports Surging At The Fastest Rate in South Asia

With several major brands moving production to Pakistan amid the COVID19 pandemic, the country's exports have grown at a faster pace than those of Bangladesh and India, according to Bloomberg News. Pakistan's total textile shipments rose 7% in September, compared with India’s 6% and  Bangladesh’s 3.5%. 


South Asia Region's Exports. Source: Bloomberg




“Pakistan has seen orders shifting from multiple nations including China, India and Bangladesh,” said Shahid Sattar, secretary general at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, in an interview with Bloomberg's Faseeh Mangi. “Garment manufacturers are operating near maximum capacity and many can’t take any orders for the next six months.”

Pakistan's Textiles Growth. Source: Bloomberg


Bloomberg attributed Pakistan's export surge to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration  to be the first in South Asia  to ease the COVID19 lockdown after controlling the spread of the disease. It helped draw companies like Guess Inc., Hugo Boss AG, Target Corp. and Hanesbrands Inc.

Investor Confidence: 

 Pakistan's benchmark stock index KSE-100 has soared 52% since March, beating runners-up Vietnam and India, and gaining twice as much as China, according to Bloomberg News. In spite of the rapid rise, the valuation of the KSE-100 listed companies is among the world's lowest with forward price-earnings multiple of just 7.4 times. Pakistan is heading for an IPO spree, with as many as 10 companies lining up to go public.

IPO Spree in Karachi Stock Market. Source: Bloomberg



V-Shaped Recovery:

With coronavirus spread contained, Pakistan economy is rebounding with V-shaped economic recovery.   Pakistanis have once again defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now. There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% in June, 2020.  The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News.  Pakistan has successfully overcome the challenges posed  by the pandemic and its economic impact. Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.


Covid19 Cases in Pakistan. Source: Our World in Data


Broad Recovery: 

The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News. The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now.  There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output has increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% if compared to June 2020. Month-wise trend of QIM from July, 2018 to July, 2020.    

Pakistan Monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing. Source: PBS

Cement Sales: 

Pakistan is once again experiencing a construction boom with new incentives under Naya Pakistan Housing Program. Monthly cement sales rose to near all-time high of almost 5 million tons in July 2020 as construction activity picked up in both housing and CPEC-related projects. 

Pakistan Cement Sales. Source: Bloomberg


Car Sales:

Gasoline sales in June, 2020 hit new record  and local car deliveries rose to about 10,000 units as people returned to work after easing of lockdown in May, 2020. Kia Motors Corp.’s local unit is planning to add a second shift at its factory in Karachi from January.  

Pakistan Car Sales Recovery. Source: Bloomberg

Multiple Sectors Growing: 

Sectors including food, beverages & tobacco, coke & petroleum products, pharmaceuticals and non metallic mineral products saw an increase in production in July 2020.  Muzzammil Aslam, chief executive officer at Tangent Capital Advisors Pvt., was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “It has surprised everybody".  Aslam expects Pakistan economy at 4%-5% in current fiscal year, higher than the government’s 2.1% target. “The growth is led by an aggregate demand push.”

Summary:

Pakistanis have defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. Pakistan has successfully fought off the deadly COVID19 virus and begun to bounce back economically. With several major brands moving production to Pakistan, the country's exports are rebounding faster than its peers in South Asia.  Moody's rating agency has raised Pakistan's economic outlook from "under review for downgrade" to "stable". Pakistan's Planning Minister Asad Umar is talking of a "V-shaped recovery". Monthly cement sales have rebounded to pre-pandemic level, fuel sales have increased, tax collection is up,  exports are rising and the Karachi stock market is booming again. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Javed Bajwa have been on the same page in tackling the health and economic crises faced by Pakistan. Contrary to the critics of Pakistan's civil-military ties,  Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Naya Pakistan Housing Program

Construction Industry in Pakistan

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Pakistan to Become World's 6th Largest Cement Producer by 2030

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid19 Crisis

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network