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Showing posts from January, 2019

Moody's Expects Pakistan's New Mini Budget to Foster Exports and Import Substitution

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Pakistan's new government led by Prime Minster Imran Khan has inherited large twin deficits. The new "mini budget" announced by Finance Minister Asad Umar "will support Pakistan’s manufacturing sector, fostering exports and import substitution, and help narrow the current-account deficit",  says a January 31, 2019 report by Moody's investor service.  The report adds that the tax incentives given to manufacturing and exports-oriented industries "will keep Pakistan’s budget deficits wider for longer, potentially eroding the credibility of government efforts to achieve fiscal consolidation."



Here's an excerpt of Moody's report on the immediate downsides of the measures announced by Umar on January 23, 2019: “We expect the deficit to widen to 6% of GDP in fiscal 2019 because revenue growth is likely to be below government projections, given slower economic growth and the new revenue-based incentives, before gradually narrowing to 5% of GDP by …

Part 2: History of Top Leadership Blunders in Pakistan

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What are the key sources of the current crises faced by Pakistan? Can any of these be traced to blunders committed years ago by Pakistani leaders? Here's part 2 of the discussion started earlier.

Was it a blunder for General Zia to join the United States and Saudi Arabia in support of the Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union in 1980s?  Did it help achieve Pakistan's objective of weakening the Pashtun Nationalists led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan's son Abdul Wali Khan who opposed the creation of Pakistan?  What if Pakistan had not supported the Afghan Resistance in 1980s? Did it promote militarization of religious fanatics in Pakistan? Was it a mistake for Benazir Bhutto to give birth to the Taliban?

Was General Musharraf's seizure of Kargil heights in 1999 in Kashmir a blunder? How was it different from India's seizure of Siachen Glacier from Pakistan in 1984? If these were similar actions, why was India's and the world's reaction so different?  Coming soon after…

History of Top Leadership Blunders in Pakistan Part 1

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What are the key sources of the current crises faced by Pakistan? Can any of these be traced to blunders committed years ago by Pakistani leaders?


Was it a blunder for Pakistan's founders to align with the United States early on? What was the alternative for a nascent cash-strapped state that faced imminent economic collapse? Who other than the United States had the deep pockets to help Pakistan in 1947 when the Soviet Union, Europe and Japan lay in ruins at the end of WW II? Would the construction of big dams and irrigation system in Pakistan have happened without the US help? Would the Green Revolution have come about if the US did not help?

Was the passage of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 among the blunders of Pakistan's early leaders? Did it distract from framing an inclusive and unifying constitution of the nation-state? Did it promote religious discrimination and extremism in the country? Was the 2nd amendment to the 1973 Constitution declaring Ahmedis non-Muslims a …

Is Pakistan Garment Industry Becoming More Cost Competitive With Bangladesh's?

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Low wages and trade deals with Western nations have helped Bangladesh build a $30 billion ready-made garments (RMG) industry that accounts for 80% of country's exports. Bangladesh is the world's second largest RMG exporter after China. With its designation as LDC (Least Developed Country), garments made in Bangladesh get preferential duty-free access to Europe and America. Rising monthly wages of Bangladesh garment worker in terms of US dollars are now catching up with the minimum wage in Pakistan, especially after recent Pakistani rupee devaluation. Minimum monthly wage in Pakistan has declined from $136 last year to $107 now while Bangladesh has seen it increase from $64 last year to $95 today.  Western garment buyers, known for their relentless pursuit of the lowest labor costs, will likely diversify their sources by directing new investments to Pakistan and other nations. Competing on low cost alone may prove to be a poor long term exports strategy for both countries.  Gre…

Growing Pakistani Presence in China

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Mid-1960s America saw a phenomenon called the "British Invasion". Anecdotal evidence suggests similar phenomenon, albeit on a smaller scale, is occurring in China with about 100,000 Pakistanis arriving there in recent years. While the growing presence of the Chinese in Pakistan gets a lot of press, there has been relatively little coverage of the movement of people in the other direction---from Pakistan to China. Jalil Shaikh, a Pakistani-American tech executive in Silicon Valley, has observed this phenomenon during his frequent visits to Jiangsu province in China. Jalil is often welcomed as "iron brother" by the people he meets during his stays in China.

Pakistanis in Changzhou:

Jalil saw anecdotal of evidence of "Pakistani invasion" of China in the city of Changzhou in Jiangsu province. Changzhou has a population of about 5 million people which makes it a medium size city by Chinese standards. Changzhou is an educational hub and is home to several univer…

Global Cyber Arms Race Heating Up?

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The United States has launched successful cyber attacks against Iran and North Korea in recent years, according to multiple credible reports. These cyber attacks have caused physical destruction of thousands of Iranian nuclear centrifuges and disrupted North Korean missiles on launchpads or shortly after takeoff. Some of the code and developer tools used in the attacks have leaked out. These leaks are enabling other nations to learn and develop their own offensive cyber weapons. The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to exploit and deepen divisions during the US presidential elections and the UK's Brexit referendum in 2016. Similar warfare techniques, described by the US RAND Corporation as New Generation or Hybrid Warfare, are probably being deployed by other nations as well. It refers to the use of a broad range of subversive instruments, many of which are nonmilitary, to further a country's national …

Clarivate Analytics Lists 6 Pakistanis and 10 Indians Among World's Top 4000 Scientists

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Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it.  Clarivate's citation analysis identifies influential researchers as determined by their peers around the globe – those who have consistently won recognition in the form of high citation counts over a decade. The Web of Science serves as the basis for the regular listings of researchers whose citation records position them in the top 1% by citations for their field and year.

Highly Cited Researchers (HCR): 

Clarivate Analytics has listed 6 Pakistani and 10 Indian researchers in its latest list of the world's 4000 most highly cited researchers (HCR).  There are 12 Iranians and no Bangladeshis and no Sri Lankans on it. This year's Highly Cited Researchers list includes 17 Nobel Laureates. It represents more than 60 nations, but more than 80% of them are from the…