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Showing posts from June, 2018

Pakistan Water Crisis: Facts and Myths

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Pakistan is believed to be in the midst of a water crisis that is said to pose an existential threat to the country. These assertions raise a whole series of questions on the source of the crisis and possible solutions to deal with it. The New Water Policy adopted in April 2018 is a good start but it needs a lot more focus and continuing investments.

Questions on Water Crisis: 

How severe is Pakistan's water crisis? Is India contributing to this crisis? How many million acre feet (MAF) of water flows in Pakistan? What are its sources? Glaciers? Rain? Groundwater? How much of it is stored in dams and other reservoirs? What is the trend of per capita water availability in Pakistan? What sectors are the biggest consumers of water in Pakistan? Why does agriculture consume over 95% of all available water? How can Pakistan produce "more crop per drop"? What are Pakistan's options in dealing with the water crisis? Build more dams? Recharge groundwater? Use improved irrigatio…

Democracy in Pakistan: Headlines vs Trend-lines

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With the country's parliament completing its second term since 2008, is Pakistan truly on the road to democracy? How do the headlines compare with the trend-lines? Are there any significant potholes in this road to democracy? Are the persistent negative headlines justified? Do oft-repeated dire forecasts about Pakistani state's survivability make sense?

Do Pakistani political party leaders practice democracy within their own parties? What accounts for attempts by the political party leaders and candidates to resist full financial and other disclosures? Why did they try to escape accountability by passing Election Act 2017?

Who are the "electables"? Why are political parties trying to recruit them to run as their candidates in the coming general elections scheduled for July 25, 2018? Can such "electables" bring about much needed reforms in the political parties? What are the downsides of putting up electables in terms of widening political participation and …

Pakistan's Rough Road to Democracy

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Pakistan National Assembly has recently completed its 5-year term for the second time since 2008. A neutral interim government has assumed control to hold the general elections scheduled for July 25, 2018 to elect a new parliament. Media headlines about Pakistan are not good but the key trend-lines are definitely positive as the country continues its journey slowly but surely toward better democracy. While the party nomination processes for electoral candidates continue to be arbitrary, the protests erupting over party tickets are an indication of the rank and file members' yearning for internal democracy.  These complaints and protests will hopefully lead to internal reform in these parties and break the strangle-hold of their undemocratic, self-serving leaders and the "electables" who represent the status quo.

Who are the Electables?
Electioneering in Pakistan is rarely about debating issues and offering solutions; it's more about personalities, families and identit…

How America Promotes "We're the Good Guys" Narrative

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In a 2017 Super Bowl Sunday interview with President Donald Trump,  Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly authoritatively declared  Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s a killer.”  Trump replied with the question: “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump did something similar more recently after his Singapore Summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim JongUn.  When Fox News' Brett Baier  raised the question  in an interview about "Kim's oppression of his own people", Trump said: “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people have done some really bad things.”

American Narrative:

Both O'Reilly and Baier were essentially repeating the standard American narrative that wants the world to believe that "we (Americans) are the good guys and those opposing America are the bad guys".

Trump, an unconventional American leader, displayed rare candor in his responses.  The American  media and "research scholars", managed by the "Deep State", sharp…

Pakistan Among Top 5 Countries to Discover Oil and Gas in 2017

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Pakistan made two key oil and gas discoveries in the third quarter and another three discoveries in the fourth quarter of 2017. These discoveries may have prompted the US-based Exxon-Mobil to join off-shore drilling efforts in Pakistan. American energy giant's entry in Pakistan brings advanced deep sea drilling technology, its long experience in offshore exploration and production and its deep pockets to the country. US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Pakistan has technically recoverable deposits of 105 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas and 9.1 billion barrels of oil. Exxon-Mobil is expected to accelerate exploration and lead to more discoveries and increased domestic oil and gas production.

Top Countries Discovering Oil and Gas:

Russia led with 10 discoveries, followed by Australia with seven discoveries and Colombia with four discoveries. Pakistan and the UK each had three discoveries in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Global Oil and Gas Discoveries…

Pakistan Launches NUTech to Prepare 21st Century Workforce

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As technology begins to permeate every aspect of life in Pakistan, the country needs a balanced mix of highly skilled workers, technicians, mechanics, technologists, engineers, researchers and development scientists to meet the challenge.  Recent launch of National University of Technology (NUTech) is part of Pakistan government's response to this challenge.

21st Century Workforce:

Pakistan's economy is rapidly transforming from traditional agriculture to modern business and industry.  Accelerating penetration of smartphones, personal computers, flat screens, mobile broadband, indoor plumbing, motorized vehicles, home appliances, air-conditioners, tractors, tube-wells, advanced construction machines and  solar and other technology-based products and services requires a highly skilled workforce to design, manufacture, market, sell, operate and service.

Building this new highly skilled work force must begin with designing curricula and facilities. It also demands a new crop of tr…

Pakistan Among Top Contributors to Global Plastic Pollution

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Pakistan is among the biggest contributors to the 8 million tons of plastic waste that is dumped into the world's oceans every year, says a United Nations Report released on World Environment Day. This year's theme is 'beat plastic pollution'. While disposable plastic bags, bottles and straws are used for a brief time and then thrown away, it takes hundreds of years to decompose them. Fortunately, a Pakistani scientist has discovered a plastic eating microbe to accelerate this degradation process. While it is too early to measure its impact, it could likely prove to be major savior of the planet from growing plastic pollution.

Indus River Plastic Pollution:

A recent study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research based in Leipzig, Germany says that 90% of plastic flowing into oceans can be traced to 10 rivers. The Indus ranks second on the list, according to media reports. One of Asia's largest rivers, it flows through parts of India and Pakistan into the A…

Fighting Hunger in the Holy Month of Ramzan

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Going without food and water from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramzan heightens Muslims' empathy for the  world's 800 million hungry. It drives Islamic philanthropy in the form of fitra, sadaqa and zakat during this month of fasting and prayer.  This annual giving puts Pakistan among the ranks of the most generous in the world.  As the faithful choose who to give, it is important to support organized philanthropy that seeks to end local and world hunger in a systemic way. It requires understanding the causes of local and global hunger. It can also inspire social entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions to world hunger.

Affordability and Security:

The world produces far more food than needed to feed its entire population of 7.6 billion people today. Yet, there is hunger in many parts of the world with 800 million people going hungry globally. There are two main reasons for it: Affordability and Conflict. The true cost of a meal should be calculated in terms of the …

Pakistan Among World's Top 10 Tax Losing Countries

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Pakistan ranks among the top 10 countries in terms of tax revenue losses due to corporate tax avoidance, according to UN World Institute for Development EconomicsWorld Economic Forum estimates that the country lost $10.4 billion in taxes last year.




Top 10 Tax Losers:

The top 10 countries losing the most tax revenue in absolute terms as listed by the World Economic Forum are USA ($188.8 billion), China ($66.8 billion), Japan ($46.1 billion), India ($41.2 billion), Argentina ($21.4 billion), France ($19.8 billion), Germany ($15 billion), Pakistan ($10.4 billion), Indonesia ($6.5 billion) and the Philippines ($6.4 billion).



Pakistan and Argentina top this list of 10 in terms of tax revenue lost as percentage of GDP.  Both lose 3.5% of their GDP in corporate tax avoidance, according to World Economic Forum.

Tax Evasion at the Top:

Tax evasion in Pakistan starts at the top. A large number politicians, including ministers and party leaders in the nation's parliament, do not bother to f…

US DoD 1999 Forecast: "Pakistan Disappears By 2015"

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Asia 2025, a US Defense Department Study produced in summer of 1999, forecast that Pakistan would "disappear" as an independent state by 2015. It further forecast that Pakistan would become part of a "South Asian Superstate" controlled by India as a "regional hegemon".  Two Indian-American "South Asia experts" contributed to this study.  Much of the forecast in its "New South Asian Order" section appears to be wishful thinking of its Indian contributors.



New South Asian Order:

Here are the Key Points of Pentagon's Asia 2025 Report on South Asia region:

1. Pakistan is "near collapse" in 2010 while India is making "broad progress".

2.  Iranian "moderation" in 2010 while Afghanistan remains "anarchic hotbed".

3. Pakistan is "paralyzed" after an "Indo-Pak war 2012".

4. US launches conventional strike on "remaining Pakistan nukes" after the "Indo-Pak war 2012.

5. …