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Agriculture: A Rare Bright Spot in Pakistan's Economy

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Pakistan's agriculture sector grew 6.3% in 2023-24, far outpacing the overall economy that grew just 2.38%, according to the  Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24 .  This is good news for about 40% of the country's population working in the agriculture sector. By contrast, India's agriculture growth slowed to  1.2%  in recent quarters. Studies have shown that strong growth in agriculture helps  reduce poverty  in developing nations like India and Pakistan.  Snapshot of Pakistan's Economy. Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24 The agriculture growth in Pakistan was the highest in 19 years. All major crops saw significant increases. Wheat output jumped 11.6% from 28.2 million tons last year to 31.4 million tons this year, the economic survey said. Cotton, severely damaged by floods and rains last year, reached 10.2 million bales compared to 4.9 million bales last year, growing by 108.2%.  Rice output  also saw a significant increase — up by 34.8% — reaching 9.9 milli

Republican Congressman Exposes Powerful Israel Lobby's Bullying Tactics

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In a rare act of courage by a serving congressman, Rep Thomas Massie of Kentucky has detailed strong-arm tactics of the Israel lobby to ensure unquestioning support for Israel. He said that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), also known as the Israel lobby, is unique in that it has designated representatives (Massie calls them "AIPAC persons") assigned to each Republican member of Congress to ensure the lawmakers vote for bills Israel supports. Massie has now banned his assigned  "AIPAC Person" from his office.  In spite of working on behalf of a foreign government, "AIPAC persons" are not registered as foreign agents under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act). Others, such as Paul Manafort (working for Russia) and Ghulam Nabi Fai (representing Pakistan's interests), have been prosecuted, convicted and jailed for violating FARA. No other foreign country has such an organization focusing individually on each member of Congress. There

Reko Diq: Value of Pakistan's Copper Deposits Soars Amid Surging Demand

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The value of copper assets has surged 31.7% in the last six months, significantly surpassing the rise in tech stocks (20.2%) and gold (20%) in the same period. Growing demand for copper is mainly driven by increasing adoption of green technologies such as electric vehicles and growth in AI (artificial intelligence) data centers using the latest Nvidia chips. At current prices, the value of copper and gold deposits at Reko Diq in Balochistan province is nearly $200 billion.   Comparing Asset Price Appreciation Over Last Six Months. Source: Wall Street Journal Interest in developing Pakistan's Reko Diq copper and gold mines has also grown with widening gap between demand and supply of the metals. Dennis Mark Bristow, CEO of the Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold Corporation, has said the Reko Diq mining project in Balochistan province is “absolutely on track” and would be able to begin production by 2028, according to news reports . Bristow said Reko Diq is an “enormous project” in

Global Baby Bust: Pakistan is A Rare Bright Spot Among Most Populous Nations in Asia

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There is an alarming rapid decline in fertility rates in both developed and developing nations, according to the United Nations.  Here is how the  Wall Street Journal  describes it: "The world is at a startling demographic milestone. Sometime soon, the global fertility rate will drop below the point needed to keep the population constant. It may have already happened".  Total Fertility Rates in 12 Most Populous Nations. Source: Wall Street Journal Birth rates are low and fertility is rapidly dropping for women across all levels of income, education and labor-force participation around the world. Fertility is falling among Pakistani women too but more slowly than elsewhere in Asia. In fact, Pakistani women have the third highest fertility rate (3.47) among the 12 most populous nations of the world.  Pakistan Fertility Rate. Source: Data Commons Birth rates have economic, social and geopolitical consequences. "The falling birthrates come with huge implications for the way

India's Modi Brags About Ordering Transnational Assassinations

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In a campaign speech on May 1, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi bragged about his campaign of transnational assassinations of individuals he has labeled "terrorists". “Today, India doesn't send dossiers to the masters of terrorism, but gives them a dose and kills them on their home turf", he is reported to have said, according to a  tweet  posted by his BJP party. Last month, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made a similar  admission . “If any terrorist from a neighboring country tries to disturb India or carry out terrorist activities here, he will be given a fitting reply. If he escapes to Pakistan we will go to Pakistan and kill him there,” Singh said in an interview to Indian TV news network News18.  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a BJP Campaign Rally. Source: BJP Earlier, Pakistan government accused India of carrying out  assassinations  of Sikh and Kashmiri separatists on Pakistani soil. “We have documentary, financial and forensic evidence of t

Pakistanis' Insatiable Appetite For Smartphones

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Samsung is seeing strong demand for its locally assembled Galaxy S24 smartphones and tablets in Pakistan, according to Bloomberg . The company said it is struggling to meet demand. Pakistan’s mobile phone industry produced 21 million handsets while its smartphone imports surged over 100% in the last fiscal year, according to media reports . The world's 5th most populous country has 192 million mobile phone users and 135 million broadband subscribers, according to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). It is the  world's 7th largest mobile phone market.  Pakistan Telecom March 2024 Indicators. Source: PTA Pakistani mobile phone manufacturers claim that almost all major mobile phone brands except iPhone are being assembled in Pakistan. “All mobile brands except iPhone are being manufactured in Pakistan and mobile phone import has been largely replaced with local manufacturing,” Aamir Allawala, vice chairman of the Pakistan Mobile Phone Manufacturers Association (PMPM

Pakistani Student Enrollment in US Universities Hits All Time High

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Pakistani student enrollment in America's institutions of higher learning rose 16% last year, outpacing the record 12% growth in the number of international students hosted by the country. This puts  Pakistan  among eight sources in the top 20 countries with the largest increases in US enrollment. India saw the biggest increase at 35%, followed by Ghana 32%, Bangladesh and Nepal at 28% each, Pakistan 16%, Colombia 13%, Italy 10% and Spain 5%.  Top 8 Source Countries of Foreign Students in US. Source: IIE OpenDoors "During 2022-2023, there were 10,164 Pakistani students, compared to 8,772 in the previous year, indicating an impressive 16% increase," according to IIE  Open Doors  Report for 2022-23. There has been an overall 33% increase in enrollment of Pakistani students in US colleges and universities.  Major Destinations of Pakistanis Studying Abroad. Source: UNESCO The most recent UNESCO data (2021) counts 71,865  Pakistani students  abroad in higher education. More r