Pakistan's Choice: Globalization or Talibanization

"Pakistan has to be part of globalization or you end up with Talibanization. Until we put these (Pakistan's) young people into industrialization and services, and off-farm work, they will drift into this negative extremism; there is nothing worse than not having a job," says Salman Shah, finance adviser to former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, in an interview published by the Wall Street Journal today.

With Pakistan's growing population and rising expectations of its young people, it appears to me that the radical Islam is now spreading beyond its traditional home in NWFP and FATA to Pakistan's heartland of Punjab. It is also clear that the new generation of Pakistanis do not want to accept life under a feudal or tribal system that denies them basic human dignity. In the absence of significant economic growth (even the phenomenal 8% growth roughly equals 2.5m jobs), not enough jobs are being created for 3 million young people ready to join the work force each year, resulting in growing availability of recruits for terror outfits who pay them fairly well by local standards. According to Rand corporation estimates, the Taliban pay about $150 a month to each fighter, much higher than the $100 a month paid by the governments in the region. This fact has been amply illustrated by recent growth of the Punjabi Taliban who have been found recruited by terrorist groups for suicide bombings and violence within and outside Pakistan.

Here's the text of the report by Paul Beckett of Wall Street Journal:

Talking to Salman Shah, Pakistan's de facto finance minister until a year ago, you are immediately struck by the similarities between his country's long-term economic challenges and India's.

Pakistan, he notes over green tea in his Lahore home, has a huge youthful population as India does: roughly 105 million out of 170 million Pakistanis are under 25 years old. It will be these people who drive Pakistan's economy in the decades ahead. "Pakistan is a mini-India," Mr. Shah declares.

Pakistan, like India, also is relatively light on exports as a part of the overall economy. In Pakistan, exports account for less than 15% of gross domestic product, he says, compared with about 25% in India and 40% in China.

Like India, Pakistan saw a domestic economic boom time until recently. Sales of cellphones, cars, motorbikes and other consumer durables soared.

And Pakistan's future, as India's, lies in the nation's ability to move workers from the fields to manufacturing plants and in engaging more with the world rather than retreating from it.

But India has done a better job with that global engagement, led by its technology companies and through tapping international markets and international investors.

Pakistan made some headway in the last few years by successfully selling global depositary receipts of state-owned companies and issuing bonds and convertible bonds on international financial markets. International investors were taking heed, which in turn projected Pakistan's industrial potential to the wider world.

But recently, as with so much else in Pakistan, it's gone awry. The current administration nixed the international money-raising program, even before the seize-up in global markets could do the job for it. The government – Pakistan's first democratically-elected in a decade – decided it was akin to giving away the "family silver," Mr. Shah scoffs.

International investors, not surprisingly, also have bailed: Pakistan by almost any measure fails to meet the definition of a low-risk investment that is attracting money today. As a result, its economy is slowing dramatically. In part that's because the central bank has kept interest rates in double digits, hemmed in by the strictures of its IMF package.

Where India and Pakistan's paths diverge dramatically is in the consequences if their governments fail to do what is necessary now -- stimulate their economies, bring foreign investors back, and create employment for all those youth.

In India, where about 12 million people come of working age each year, commentators frequently warn that if sufficient jobs aren't created, there could be social unrest.

The important phrase here is "could be social unrest." It's a possibility, not a definite. It is very vague.

Not so in Pakistan. Pakistan, by Mr. Shah's estimate, needs to create 3 million jobs a year to employ those coming of working age. Growing at 8% a year creates up to 2.5 million.

The central bank recently forecast growth in the year ending June 30 of 2.5-3.5%.

Shaukat Tarin, Pakistan's new finance minister, recently was quoted in Pakistan's Daily Times as saying growth could reach 8% over the next three years.

But the World Bank recently predicted Pakistan's economy would grow by 1% in 2009. Mr. Shah calls 1% "suicide for Pakistan."

Unlike in India, the consequences seem all too predictable if Pakistan fails to reengage with global commerce and do what's needed to get things rolling again.

"Pakistan has to be part of globalization or you end up with Talibanization," Mr. Shah says. "Until we put these young people into industrialization and services, and off-farm work, they will drift into this negative extremism; there is nothing worse than not having a job."

You just have to hope it's not already too late.

—Mr. Beckett is the Wall Street Journal's bureau chief in New Delhi

Related Links:

Insights Into a Suicide Bombing in Pakistan

Feudal Punjab Fertile For Terrorism

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Valuing Life in Afghanistan and Pakistan


Anonymous said…
Nice blog. Only the willingness to debate and respect each other’s views keeps the spirit of democracy and freedom alive. Keep up the good work. Hey, by the way, do you mind taking a look at this new website . It has various interesting sections. You can also participate in the OPINION POLL in this website. There is one OPINION POLL for each section. You can also comment on its news and feature articles.

You also get Live Cricket , News Updates, Opinion Polls, Movie Reviews and Mobile Phone Reviews in this website.

Kindly go through the entire website. Who knows, it might just have the right kind of stuff that you are looking for. If you like this website, can you please recommend it to at least 5 of your friends. Your little help would help us in a big way.

Thank you,

The Future Mantra
SEMFO Project said…
Who says we are opting for Talibanization? Reently I have requested the world community as well as the Pakistani government to adopt my announced and proposed SEMFO Global Plan Project, since it is an anti-recession and deficit proof global plan. So I am waiting that would you the international community like to join us in globalization or not?
SEMFO Global Plan is waiting!
Riaz Haq said…
Kathy Gannon of The Associated Press reported in September that militants from Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, were massing in the tribal areas to join the Taliban and train for an anticipated offensive into Afghanistan this year. In Punjab, mainstream religious parties and banned militant groups were openly recruiting hundreds of students for jihad, and groups of young men were being dispatched to Syria to wage jihad there. “They are the same jihadi groups; they are not 100 percent under control,” a former Pakistani legislator told me. “But still the military protects them.”...

The haul of handwritten notes, letters, computer files and other information collected from Bin Laden’s house during the raid suggested otherwise, however. It revealed regular correspondence between Bin Laden and a string of militant leaders who must have known he was living in Pakistan, including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a pro-Kashmiri group that has also been active in Afghanistan, and Mullah Omar of the Taliban. Saeed and Omar are two of the ISI’s most important and loyal militant leaders. Both are protected by the agency. Both cooperate closely with it, restraining their followers from attacking the Pakistani state and coordinating with Pakistan’s greater strategic plans. Any correspondence the two men had with Bin Laden would probably have been known to their ISI handlers.

Bin Laden did not rely only on correspondence. He occasionally traveled to meet aides and fellow militants, one Pakistani security official told me. “Osama was moving around,” he said, adding that he heard so from jihadi sources. “You cannot run a movement without contact with people.” Bin Laden traveled in plain sight, his convoys always knowingly waved through any security checkpoints.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Carlotta Gall of New York Times talking to "New Republic" about her book "The Wrong Enemy: American in Afghanistan":

Carlotta Gall's blockbuster story in The New York Times Magazine this week claims that the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) had knowledge of Osama Bin Laden's hiding place in Abbottabad. According to Gall, the ISI and Pakistan's military establishment also supported the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The piece is an excerpt from her new book, The Wrong Enemy: American in Afghanistan, 2001-2014, which argues that the failing American mission in Afghanistan is largely the result of Pakistani duplicity, which has consisted of the country taking American aid dollars while still covertly supporting the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Gall has reported extensively from Pakistan and Afghanistan for The New York Times, and is currently the newspaper's North Africa correspondent. We spoke by phone this week about the details of Pakistan's relationship to Bin Laden, the war in Afghanistan, and the long, depressing history of U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Isaac Chotiner: What is the newest or biggest revelation about Bin Laden and his relationship with the ISI?

Carlotta Gall: The ISI was actually running a special desk within the organization to handle Bin Laden, which meant hide him and talk to him. They knew he was there and protected him. That has never been said before by anyone. I only have one source but it’s very convincing source and it had to be said and put out there.

IC: You took some criticism for the single source but there were two other interesting revelations. The first is that when you brought the issue of Pakistani knowledge up with American officials, who don’t want to criticize a nominal ally, they were sympathetic to what you had heard.

CG: Yes.

IC: And the second point, which I found the most convincing, was that Bin Laden was communicating with ISI assets, such as Hafiz Saeed, who is the head of a Pakistani extremist group. The point, I think, is that he wouldn’t be communicating with these people if he was concerned about the ISI finding him.

CG: Yes, he was communicating with people that the ISI talks to and is in close touch with.

IC: Do you have any sense of the substance of those communications, for example how much Bin Laden was revealing about where he was or what he was up to?

CG: There was a cell phone in the compound that revealed numbers to other connections in Pakistan. There were letters between him and Mullah Omar and him and Hafiz Saeed, and those are two people very close to the ISI. It is inconceivable to anyone who follows all this that the ISI did not know he was corresponding with them.

IC: But do you think he was communicating where he was?

CG: We know from the Americans that his courier was going to Peshawar and talking to people and bringing black flash drives with news and email for Bin Laden.
IC: You seem to be saying that we have made too many excuses for Pakistan, but what would full-on confrontation look like? That is very scary.

CG: I hope I am not suggesting that. Some people think I have it in for Pakistan. I don’t. I think the right course is diplomacy and pulling out of Afghanistan but still supporting both those countries and trying to move them to a better place. More openness with their people is required. You have to run a better government with more democracy and more openness. You have to discuss this. They need civilians to come in and get a grip on the country.
Riaz Haq said…
CNN security analyst says no evidence to support NY TIMES's Carlotta Gall's claims about Pakistan knowingly hiding bin Laden

The bin Laden story in the New York Times magazine is an extract from Gall's forthcoming book, "The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014."
Gall makes two astonishing claims in her Times magazine piece.
The first claim: An unnamed Pakistani official told her, based on what he had in turn heard from an unnamed senior U.S. official that "the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad." ISI is Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency.
The second claim: "The ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: bin Laden...the top military bosses knew about it, I was told."
It is, of course, hard to prove negatives, but having spent around a year reporting intensively on the hunt for al Qaeda's leader for my 2012 book "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad," I am convinced that there is no evidence that anyone in the Pakistani government, military or intelligence agencies knowingly sheltered bin Laden.

How did I arrive at this conclusion?
On three reporting trips to Pakistan I spoke to senior officials in Pakistan's military and intelligence service. They all denied that they had secretly harbored bin Laden. OK, you are thinking: "But they would say that, wouldn't they?"
Well, what about the dozens of officials I spoke to in the U.S. intelligence community, Pentagon, State Department and the White House who also told me versions of "the Pakistanis had no idea that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad"?
During the course of reporting for my book I spoke on the record to, among others, John Brennan, now the CIA director and then President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser; then CIA Director Leon Panetta and his chief of staff, Jeremy Bash; then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen; then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright; then director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter; then senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, Nick Rasmussen; then head of policy at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy; Michael Vickers, who was then the civilian overseer of Special Operations at the Pentagon; Tony Blinken, who is now the deputy national security adviser; and Denis McDonough, who held that position before Blinken.
These officials have collectively spent many decades working to destroy al Qaeda, and many are deeply suspicious of Pakistan for its continuing support for elements of the Taliban. But all of them told me in one form or another that Pakistani officials had no clue that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
Indeed, an early debate between senior national security officials at the White House, once CIA intelligence established that bin Laden could be hiding in Abbottabad, was whether to mount a joint U.S.-Pakistani raid on bin Laden's suspected hideout.
This plan was rejected because the officials were concerned that such a joint operation carried the risk that word would leak out about the bin Laden intelligence. This debate would have been moot if the Pakistanis already knew bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
And, by the way, if the U.S. government had any evidence that the Pakistanis were knowingly sheltering bin Laden, as Gall claims, why cover this up?
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Christian Science Monitor report on teaching of science at a major madrassa in Pakistan's FATA region:

Anwarul Haq, a frail, bespectacled cleric, sits before a class of attentive students in Darul Uloom Haqqania, one of Pakistan’s many madrassas, or Islamic seminaries. His class of 1,400 students is the most senior of 4,000 enrollees at Darul Uloom, an hour's drive from Peshawar.

The students follow a 500-year-old curriculum adopted across South Asia. The oversized book used in Mr. Haq's class, a collection of ahadith, or sayings attributed to the prophet Muhammad, is centuries old and written in Arabic. Commentary written in Urdu in present-day India fills the margins.

“This country was built on Islam, the idea of following God's teachings. Here we are learning how to do that,” says Haq.

RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about Pakistan? Take this quiz.

What students learn, and don’t learn, in thousands of such private seminaries is a matter of concern for Pakistan’s government. Under a national security policy unveiled last month, Pakistan aims to bring madrassas under tighter state control, update their curricula to tone down extremist views, and introduce subjects like mathematics and science. The goal is to turn out graduates capable of getting decent jobs who won’t be tempted to join the Taliban or other militant groups.

“Graduates stand in between two worlds,” says Nafisa Shah, a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League. When they don't get jobs, she says, “they become vulnerable [to recruitment by militants].”

Pakistan currently has a tenuous ceasefire with homegrown Taliban militants and has released scores of suspected militants and accomplices in confidence-building measures. Still, terrorist attacks have continued by splinter groups the Taliban claim not to control. On Apr. 9, 21 people were killed in a blast at a fruit market in Islamabad.

Advanced degrees

Fears that Pakistan’s madrassas are breeding grounds for extremism are nothing new. After 9/11, the US government funded a $100 million madrassa reform program that met widespread hostility and failed to make much headway.

Clerics have scoffed at the government’s new security policy and point out that they’ve already instituted the kind of reforms the government advocates. Darul Uloom offers advanced specializations in Islamic law that Pakistan’s universities accept as Master's degrees, and runs computer labs for students.

Other madrassas have also upgraded their curriculum so that students, who spend much of their time memorizing the Quran, get a broader secular education. Most pupils are from poor backgrounds: madrassas offer free education, housing, and food.

Moreover, experts say the threat of militancy comes mostly from what students learn in their spare time, especially in hundreds of underground madrassas that are beyond the reach of both the clerics and the state. ...
Riaz Haq said…

Globalisation Index 2016 (Trade, capital, information and people) : As world became less connected, India fell 16 spots over 11 years; scores lower on trade, FDI

As flows of trade and people fell the world over since the 2008 global financial crash, India dropped 16 spots to 78 (Pakistan 99) from 62 among 140 countries in 11 years , from 2005 to 2015, on a globalisation index brought out by international logistics company DHL.

The Global Connectedness Index 2016, the fourth since it was first released in 2011, prepared by Pankaj Ghemawat and Steven A Altman (both teach management at New York University Stern School of Business, United States) was released on 15 November, 2016.

The authors slotted India in the central and south Asia group along with Georgia, Turkey, Nepal, Pakistan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic and Sri Lanka.

India ranked 133 (Pakistan 137) on depth and 21 ( Pakistan 32) on breadth among 140 countries in 2015.

The index measures the parameters on depth and breadth. Depth evaluates the extent to which countries' international flows are distributed globally or more narrowly focused, while breadth compares countries' international flows to the sizes of their domestic economies.

Trade flows are measured by exports as a share of a country's gross domestic product, capital by foreign direct investment as a share of a country's gross fixed capital and international stock market investment, information by international connectivity and people by share of international tourists and university students and migrants as a share of the population.

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort