Posts

US Afghan Pullout: Any Spillover of Possible Afghan Civil War into Pakistan?

Image
Many fear the return to civil war in Afghanistan after the  US pull-out . Are these fears well-founded? If so, who will be the main combatants in such a civil war? The Afghan Taliban? Or notorious warlords of yesteryears like  Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Ismael Khan, Abdur Rashid Dostum and progeny of Ahmad Shah Masood? Or terror groups like ISIS, TTP, ETIM, IMU, etc etc.?  Can the Northern Alliance, made up mainly of Tajiks and Uzbeks, reconstitute itself? Who will back them? Will India back them? Russia, China and Iran are already seriously talking with the Afghan Taliban.  Can the Afghan Taliban quickly prevail over other groups to stabilize  Afghanistan ? Will China and Russia help? How's Pakistan's geo-economic pivot working out? Will Chinese investment in  CPEC  and Russian involvement in Karachi-Lahore gas pipeline help build Pakistan's geo-economic strategy? Will both of them help Pakistan if India attempts to disrupt these projects with covert attacks via proxies?  How do

Pakistan's Textile & Garment Exports Set New Record of $15.4 Billion in FY 2020-21

Image
Pakistan's textile and  garment exports  jumped 22.94% to reach $15.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2020-21, according to data from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  At the same time, the country's  technology exports  surged 47% to set a new record of $2.12 billion for the last fiscal year that ended in June 2021. Pharmaceutical exports also saw 25.3% growth to $241 million in first 11months of FY 2021, indicating Pakistan's export diversification with higher value added goods and services.  Pakistan Textile/Apparel Exports. Source: Arif Habib Ltd Pakistan Textile Exports FY 2006-2021. Source: APTMA Overall, Pakistan's exports of goods for fiscal 2020-21 rose 13.7% to $25.63 billion. The nation's service exports increased 9.2% to $5.93 billion in fiscal 2021. Combined exports of goods and services added up to $31.56 billion in July 2020 to June 2021 period.  Pakistan Tech Exports. Source: Arif Habib Ltd.  Imports grew 23.2%, much faster than exports as the economy recovere

Modi Government Planted Spyware in Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's Smartphone

Image
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been the target of the Modi government's cyber attacks, according to a recently released Project Pegasus report.  The Indian government has neither confirmed nor denied the report.  The focus of the report is the use of the Israeli-made spyware by about  a dozen governments to target politicians, journalists and activists. The users of the Pegasus software include governments of  Bahrain, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Togo and Rwanda.     This is not the first time that Pakistan has figured prominently as India's favorite target for cyber hacks. Last year, a report in  The Sunday Guardian  of India said: "Mobile phones of around 30 Pakistani government servants, who include serving army generals, officials attached with the ISI and senior bureaucrats, were hacked into by using Pegasus spying software during April and May 2019".  In addition to the use of spyware, the Indian government has been engage

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend: Record Remittances From Overseas Workers

Image
Pakistan has received nearly $30 billion in worker remittances in fiscal year 2020-21, according to the  State Bank of Pakistan . This is a new record representing about 10% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). This money helps the nation cope with its perennial current account deficits. It also provides a lifeline for millions of Pakistani families who use the money to pay for food, education, healthcare and housing. This results in an increase in stimulus spending that has a multiplier effect in terms of employment in service industries ranging from retail sales to restaurants and entertainment.  Overseas Pakistani Workers' Remittances. Source: Arif Habib Pakistan's share of working age population (15-64 years) is growing as the country's birth rate declines, a phenomenon called demographic dividend. This dividend is manifesting itself in high levels of worker exports and  record remittances  pouring into the country. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate

Lina Khan: Pakistani-American Law Professor Behind Biden's Pro-competition Executive Order

Image
US President Joseph R. Biden  has signed a sweeping executive order to promote competition in a wide range of industries from big tech to telecommunications, transportation, banking and healthcare. This order has come within weeks of the appointment of young  Pakistani-American  law professor Lina Khan as the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairperson. Lina Khan, 32, is the youngest FTC chairperson in American history. She now holds one of the most powerful positions in the US government.  Biden Handing Pen to Lina Khan After Signing Executive Order Biden's executive order includes 72 initiatives for federal agencies, targeting issues such as excessive early termination fees charged by internet companies, which hinder users from switching service providers. It calls for the end of noncompete agreements that block workers from moving to rival employers, according to  Nikkei Asia .  “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation,” Mr. Biden said bef

Pew Research: Two-thirds of Hindus Say Only Hindus "Truly Indian"

Image
A recent Pew survey in India has found that 64% of Hindus see their religious identity and Indian national identity as closely intertwined. Most Hindus (59%) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi language. The survey was conducted over two years in 2019 and 2020 by Pew Research Center. It included 29,000 Indians.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu Nationalist BJP party's appeal is the greatest among Hindus who closely associate their religious identity and the Hindi language with being “truly Indian.” The Pew survey found that less than half of Indians (46%) favored democracy as best suited to solve the country’s problems. Two percent more (48%) preferred a strong leader.  Most Hindus Link Hindu Religion and Hindi Language With Indian National Identity. Source: Pew The majority of Hindus see themselves as very different from Muslims (66%), and most Muslims return the sentiment, saying they are very different from Hindus (64%). Most Muslims across the co

Economist Normalcy Index: Pakistan Among Best Performing Countries For Handling COVID19

Image
With a score of 84.4, Pakistan ranks third among 50 countries tracked by the Economist magazine for return to pre-pandemic life. Pakistan's neighbor India has a score of 46.5, ranking it near the bottom in 48th position.  China (score 72.9) is 19th, United States (72.8) 20th, United Arab Emirates (68.9) 27th and United Kingdom (62.5) 36th. The global average for return to pre-pandemic activity is 66.6 on a scale of 0 to 100.  Top Performing Countries For Return to Pre-Pandemic Activity Level. Source: Economist Economist's Global Normalcy Index: The Economist magazine is tracking 50 countries for return to pre-pandemic activity level. Here is how it  explains it: "The global normalcy index plummeted in March 2020 as many countries imposed draconian restrictions on their citizens. It fell to just 35 in April 2020, before improving gradually over the following months. Today it stands at 66, suggesting that the world has travelled roughly half of the way back to pre- pandemic