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British Forensic Audit: Nawaz Sharif Family Owns Assets Worth $820.8 Million

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Forensic audit of Nawaz Sharif family's assets has put its value at $820.8 Million, according to Broadsheet Award ordered by arbitrator Sir Anthony Evans. It was disclosed in documents released by Broadsheet LLC and Pakistan government. The forensic audit was conducted by Stroz Friedberg audit firm based in the  United Kingdom . It was hired by Facebook to conduct forensic audit of Cambridge Analytica, the analytics firm used by US President Donald Trump during the 2016 election. Broadsheet Arbitration Award  Broadsheet LLC, incorporated in the Isle of Mann, was hired by Pakistan National Accountability Bureau (Bureau) in Year 2000 to uncover overseas assets hidden by over 200 Pakistanis including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. Pakistan was forced to go into arbitration for breach of contract with the firm.  Here are the key excerpts of the final award dated December 17, 2018: "Stroz Friedberg was instructed to carry out a ‘forensic audit’ (or ‘inventory’)

Will the New Silk Road Help Revive the Islamic Golden Age?

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National Geographic's Paul Salopek recently came upon a site in Pakistan's Salt Range where Muslim scientist Abu-Raihan Al-Biruni accurately measured the size of the earth in the 11th century. In it, Salopek sees the revival of the  Islamic Golden Age . He characterizes the ancient Silk Road of as "dynamic but collapsed experiment in multilateralism". He thinks the revival of the Islamic Golden Age is linked to "China's 21st century version of  the Silk Road ". Salopek believes that President Donald Trump's four years in the White House and the COVID19 pandemic have accelerated America's decline and China's rise. Here's how he describes it in a recent opinion piece in the  New York Times  entitled "Shadows on the Silk Road: Finding omens of American decline on a long walk across Asia":  "The most memorable archaeological ruins from the Silk Road’s glory years rot atop a hill about 60 miles southeast of Islamabad (the Capita

Overseas Pakistanis Rescuing Pakistan Economy Yet Again

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Pakistani diaspora sent home $14.2 billion in remittances in July-December 2020 , up 25% from the same period in 2019. Pakistanis settled in the United Kingdom and the United States increased their remittances by 52% and 47% respectively in this period, helping Pakistan achieve a record $1.8 billion current account surplus in the first 6 months of the ongoing fiscal year 2020-21.  Remittances From Pakistani Diaspora. Source: Arif Habib While Pakistan's exports increased a modest 5.1%, the remittances from overseas Pakistanis jumped a hefty 25% in response to an appeal by Prime Minister Imran Khan who remains very popular among them. He drew nearly 30,000 Pakistani-Americans to a rally during his Washington D.C. visit in 2019.  Pakistan Trade 1H of FY 2020-21. Source: Arif Habib Pakistan's imports increased 5.5%, more than the 5.1% increase in exports, during the first half of the current fiscal year 2020-21. This resulted in $12.4 billion trade deficit, a 5.9% increase. Withou

Oxford Disinfo Report: India, Pakistan Among Top Nations With "High Cyber Capacity"

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Oxford University's report on global disinformation ranks India and Pakistan among top 17 "high cyber troop capacity" countries. The report defines "cyber troop capacity" in terms of numbers of people and the size of budget allocated to psychological operations or information warfare. "Cyber troop activity" as defined by the report includes social media manipulation by governments and political parties, and the various private companies and other organizations they work with to spread disinformation. Oxford report shows that India's cyber troops are "centralized" while those in Pakistan, US and UK are "decentralized". EU Disinfo Lab, an NGO that specializes in disinformation campaigns, has found that India is carrying out a massive 15-year-long disinformation campaign to hurt Pakistan.  High Cyber Capacity Countries. Source: Oxford University Disinfo Report 2020 High Cyber Capacity:    Countries ranked among "high cyber tro

US Needs to Promote Democracy At Home!

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About a week before the world witnessed the storming of the US Capitol by an angry mob on January 6, 2020, the US Congress allocated $15 million for "democracy programs" in Pakistan as part of its latest Coronavirus Relief Bill. Should charity start at home? Should America prioritize democracy at home? With  64% of Republicans  supporting Trump's false claim of "stolen election", has pro-Trump extremism gone mainstream in GOP? How to deal with the fervent believers in QAnon conspiracy theories while promoting a fact-based democratic discourse? How can deep divisions in American society be healed? These questions are beginning to be raised after recent shocking events in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, the US government-funded think tanks such National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are very active in many developing countries, including Pakistan.   Cato institute  says that what NED does "would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation".  NED

Karachi-born NED University Alum Leads Mercedes Entry into Electric Vehicles Market

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Pakistani-German  Sajjad Khan  is leading German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz's entry into the electric vehicle market with six new all-electric “EQ” models, according to  media reports .  Sajjad Khan was born in Karachi and graduated from NED Engineering University with a degree in computer science.  Sajjad Khan, Executive Vice President, Mercedes Electric Vehicles Sajjad Khan is currently executive vice president and a board member of Stuttgart-based Daimler. He is partnering with entrepreneurs around the world, including those in Silicon Valley where Mercedes has a development  team of over 300 people in Sunnyvale, California. Mercedes-Benz EQS line is the first to utilize the new electric architecture designed for high-end luxury and executive EV models. Prior to the CES 2021 show in Las Vegas, Sajjad Khan has unveiled details of Mercedes' 56 inch MBUX Hyperscreen system that represents the latest evolution of the automaker’s MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) central co

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

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Pakistan's agriculture output is the 10th largest in the world. The country produces large and growing quantities of cereals, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. Currently, Pakistan produces about 38 million tons of cereals (mainly wheat, rice and corn), 17 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 70 million tons of sugarcane, 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Total value of the nation's agricultural output exceeds $50 billion.  Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help the farm sector become much more productive to serve both domestic and export markets.   Top 10 Countries by Agriculture Output. Source: FAO Pakistan has about 36 million hectares of land under cultivation. Wheat and rice are grown on more than half of it. Fruits and vegetables each account for only about 3% of the cultivable land.  Since year 2001, the country's cereal production, mainly wheat, corn and rice, has grown about 45% to  38 million tons . Pakistan produ