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Showing posts from 2019

Current Debt Crisis Threatens Pakistan's Future

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Pakistan is battling massive twin deficits, deteriorating foreign currency reserves, low exports, diminishing tax revenues, a weak currency, unsustainable external debt payments, and soaring sovereign debt. This crisis has forced the country to seek IMF (International Monetary Fund) bailout, the 13th such request in Pakistan's 72 year history.

Pakistan's debt repayment costs rose to $5.4 billion for first half of fiscal 2019 ( July 2018-Dec 2018), up from $7.5 billion for the entire fiscal 2018 (July 2017-June 2018), according to the State Bank of Pakistan. At this rate, the total debt service cost for current fiscal 2019 will exceed $11 billion, adding to the nation's debt crisis.


This $11 billion debt service cost will add to the projected trade deficit of nearly $40 billion for the current fiscal year. How can Pakistan fund this balance of payments deficit of about $50 billion? Remittances of $21 billion in current FY2019 from Pakistani diaspora are expected to reduce i…

Karachi's NED University Ranked Among World's Top 200 For Impact

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N.E.D. University of Engineering and Technology (NEDUET) has been ranked among the world's top 200 universities for "impact" by Times Higher Education. The institution located in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi is ranked among 101-200 in the world. NEDUET also tops the rankings for impact among Pakistani universities included in THE 2019 rankings. The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide "comprehensive and balanced comparisons across three broad areas: research, outreach, and stewardship".

Among other institutions of higher learning, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) Institute of Technology and University of Veterinary Sciences Lahore are ranked among 200-300 while COMSATS and Government College University Lahore are among 301+.



Of the 17 UN SDGs, THE has evaluated university performance on 11 of them in…

Pakistan State Bank Targets Digital Currency by 2025 and Fully Digital Economy by 2030

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A top official of the State Bank of Pakistan, the nation's central bank, announced that the institution aims to issue a digital currency (Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC) by 2025, according to media reports.   Speaking at the launch of regulations of Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), central bank officials said that EMIs will be non-bank entities to be licensed by the central bank to issue e-money for the purpose of digital payments.  Pakistan's finance minister Asad Umar and the central bankers said they are targeting Pakistan's economy to go fully digital by 2030.

“As we move towards digital economy, it is absolutely important to ensure cybersecurity,” said the finance minister, according to Dawn newspaper.  Mr. Umar added that even a single high profile incident could cause irreparable loss of confidence to the economy and the banking system.

Deputy Governor Jameel Ahmad of the State Bank of Pakistan told the audience at the EMI launch that the central bank is…

Samjhauta Acquittals: Modi's India is Protecting Hindutva Terrorists

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An Indian court has recently acquitted all accused in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack of February 2007 that claimed 68 lives, including lives of 43 Pakistan citizens, 10 Indian citizens and 15 unidentified people. This latest verdict came after the acquittal of these and other accused who had confessed to a series of bomb attacks on Muslim targets including Mecca Masjid, Malegaon and Ajmer sufi shrine. These attacks claimed many innocent Muslim lives. The latest acquittals are a continuation of prior shameful judgements by Indian judges in Afzal Guru death sentence and Babri Masjid cases. These trends pose a serious existential threat to India's rule-of-law, democracy and economy.

Samjhauta Express Attack:

Immediately after the Samjhota Express attack in 2007, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as well as some Indian media organizations blamed Pakistan for the attack.  Later, an investigation by India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) concluded that the attack was carried…

Christchurch Massacre: Best and Worst of Humanity

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Has the world seen the best and the worst of humanity since the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand? How did New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern handle the aftermath of the tragedy? Is her genuine compassion and decisiveness a shining example of leadership? How was the response to the tragedy from major world leaders like US President Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan? What does it say about them?

Who came out to show support for Muslim communities around the world? How did New Zealanders show solidarity with Muslims? How did Muslims in Silicon Valley deal with the aftermath of the tragedy? Who joined them in mourning?

Who celebrated the massacre of innocent Muslims and why? What do White Nationalism and Hindu Nationalism have in common? Are these two sides of the same coin? Who was BS Moonje and why did he meet Mussolini? Who was Golwalkar and why did he admire Hitler? What is Modi's connection with Golwalkar's RSS m…

India Among Biggest Losers and Pakistan Among Biggest Gainers in World Happiness Rankings

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World Happiness Report 2019 says that India is among the world's biggest losers while Pakistan is among the biggest gainers on World Happiness Index. Under Prime Minister Narendra's Modi's leadership, India's ranking has worsened from 118 in 2016 to 140 in 2019. In the same period, Pakistan's ranking has improved from 92 in 2016 to 67 in 2019. World Happiness index is considered a better representation of people's well-being than other economic and social indicators individually.

Contrary to the Indian and western media hype about Modi-nomics, it was recently reported that unemployment rate in India has reached its highest in 45 years. Indian GDP growth figures have been challenged as too optimistic by top Indian and western economists. Modi's demonetization has turned out to be a major disaster for India's largely cash-based economy. Farmers are continuing to take their own lives by the thousands each year as the agrarian crisis continues to take its t…

IRI Pakistan Poll Shows Strong Public Approval For PTI Government

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A combined 57% of respondents say that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is doing either a “very good job” (17%) or a “good job” (40%) so far, according to a nationwide poll conducted by International Republican Institute (IRI). It represents the first independent public opinion poll in Pakistan on PTI's popularity since the party won the 2018 general elections.  Overwhelming majority  (84%) say that the election results are either “very accurate” (46%) or “somewhat accurate” (38%). A combined 83% believe that the election was either “completely free and fair” (50%) or “mostly free and fair” (33%).


Imran Khan's Strong Approval:

Majority of Pakistanis (57%) believe Prime Minister Imran Khan's government is doing either a “very good job” (17%) or a “good job” (40%) so far, according to an IRI survey conducted on behalf of the Center for Insights in Survey Research. Data was collected between November 1 and November 22, 2018 through in-home, in-person interviews. The sample c…

Army Caps and India's ODI Series Defeat by Australia

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When the Indian national cricket team took to the field for its third ODI against Australia in Ranchi on March 8, 2019, they wore military caps to show support for the Indian military against Pakistan. This was an unprecedented act of politicization of international sports on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's watch in India. Pakistan born Usman T. Khawaja, Australia's opening batsman, responded to it with a maiden century that helped his team win by 32 runs after losing first two ODIs.  Khawaja then proceeded to score the series highest total score of 383 to help Australia win the remaining two ODIs and the series 3-2.

Usman Tariq Khawaja:

Usman Tariq Khawaja, born in Islamabad, Pakistan, is the first Muslim member of the Australian national cricket team.  He currently represents Australia and Queensland. Khawaja made his first-class cricket debut for New South Wales in 2008 and played his first international match for Australia in January 2011.

Pakistan born Usman T. Khawaja, Aus…

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

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"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Balakot and Kashmir:

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16".  These claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PA…

Drought-Stricken Pakistan Receives Heaviest Snowfall in 48 Years

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Pakistan is seeing an unusually wet winter this year after a very long drought. The country's northern areas received up to 1.8 and 2.1 m (6 and 7 feet) snowfall in January and the first week of February 2019, the heaviest in 48 years. Other parts of the country have seen torrential rains and flooding that required launching of relief efforts by Pakistani military and national and provincial disaster management agencies.

Abdul Wali Yousafzai, a senior officer in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa irrigation department told Anadolu Agency that the "snowfall and rain will not only help to raise our water table but also be beneficial for our forests that had been affected by drought".  Prime Minister Imran Khan also welcomed it as "a blessing from God".  "The rainfall will raise the water table while the snow will melt into our river. It's a blessing from God," he said.

Unusually wet weather in arid Balochistan has caused deaths, injuries, property losses and displa…

JF-17 Manufacturer's Stock Soars After Pakistan Air Force's Success Against India

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Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 Block 2 serial 15-201 fighter jet, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan last week. The news has boosted the stock price of CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Corporation) which jointly developed JF-17 Thunder with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).

JF-17 Thunder Fighter:

The development of JF-17, a modern highly capable and relatively inexpensive fighter jet, is the crowning achievement to-date of the Pakistan-China defense production cooperation. It's being deployed by Pakistan Air Force with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The latest version is capable of launching a variety of nuclear and conventional weapons ranging from smart bombs and air-launched cruise missile Raad to anti-ship missiles.

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) got its start decades ago by setting up maintenance facilities for advan…

Satellite Image Shows Pakistan Among World's Fastest Greening Countries

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Satellite images provided by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show that greenery in Pakistan has been growing at double digit rates over the last few decades. All of this rapid greening of the country is the result of intensive agriculture in Punjab and Sindh provinces.


“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9 percent of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation,” said Chi Chen, the lead author of a study he did with Ranga Myneni at Boston University. “That is a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation.”

The Boston University research team found that "global green leaf area has increased by 5 percent since the early 2000s, an area equivalent to all of the Amazon rainforests. At least 25 percent of that gain came in China. Overall, one-third of Earth’s vegetated lands are greening, while 5 percent are growing browner. The study was published on …

Young Tech Entrepreneurs From Pakistan Visit Silicon Valley

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The Organization of Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs (OPEN) hosted a dinner on Wednesday Feb 20, 2019, for young tech entrepreneurs from Pakistan who came this year to Silicon Valley to attend StartUp Grind Global Conference. About 50 people, including 20 from Pakistan, attended the event.


StartUp Grind:

StartUp Grind describes itself as a "global community of entrepreneurs connecting 1.5 million entrepreneurs in over 500 chapters". It has chapters in all major Pakistani cities. StartUp Grind organizes a global conference every year in Silicon Valley.


Pakistani participation in this conference is growing with 40 delegates this year, up from 24 last year. Arzish Azam, founder of Ejad Lab, organizes this annual pilgrimage of Pakistani techies to Silicon Valley every year under the banner of Pak-US Technology Exchange. Participants pay their own expenses.  In addition to attending the  two-day StartUp Global conference, Pakistani delegates visit several Silicon Valley technology…