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Showing posts from July, 2019

Trump Wants to At Least Quadruple US-Pakistan Trade

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Talking with the media during Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the White House on July 22, 2019, US President Donald Trump said the United States “have a fantastic trade relationship (with Pakistan). I don’t mean we’ll increase it by 20 per cent. I mean, I think we can quadruple it. I think it could go — I mean, literally, it sounds crazy — you could go 10 times more. You could go 20 times more.” This is good news for Pakistan which has seen its exports stalled over the last 5 years. This has created a serious balance of payments crisis forcing the country to seek yet another IMF bailout.

US-Pakistan Trade Volume:

So what is the current volume of bilateral US-Pakistan trade?  The United States is currently Pakistan's largest export market accounting for 16% of the country's exports. The United States Office of the Trade Representative (USTR) website says that "Pakistan is currently our 56th largest goods trading partner with $6.6 billion in total (tw…

Imran Khan's Historic Washington Rally: The Largest Ever For a Visiting Foreign Leader

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's rally drew nearly 30,000 Pakistani-Americans to Capital One Arena on Sunday, July 21, 2019. It was the largest ever public gathering of any diaspora to welcome a foreign visiting leader in the United States. Earlier record of 18,000 was set by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2014.

Pakistani-Americans' Rally at Capital One Arena:

Coming a day prior to the prime minister's official meetings with President Donald Trump and the US Congressional leaders, the 30,000 cheering supporters at Capital One Arena boosted the confidence and the legitimacy of the Pakistani leader in the eyes of the US government leadership in the White House and on Capitol Hill. It also put on full display the increasing numbers and the growing clout of the Pakistani-American in their adopted home.


There are over half a million Pakistani-Americans and nearly 4 million Indian-Americans in the United States…

Algorithm: Origins of Artificial Intelligence in Islamic Golden Age

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When Gmail completes your sentences or Netflix offers you recommendations for movies to watch, do you wonder where it all came from? Do you know how airplanes fly or autonomous vehicles drive on auto-pilot? What algorithms are used to make it happen? Who made these possible? Where did the word "algorithm" come from? Have you heard of Mohammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi?

Al-Khwarizmi:

The word algorithm comes from Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, the name of a Muslim mathematician and scientist who developed the concept of algorithms. He was appointed the head of the House of Wisdom (Darul Hikma) in Baghdad in 820 AD. He is also credited with the invention of Algebra (hisab al-jabr). Darul Hikma, also known as the Grand Library of Baghdad, was a major public academy and intellectual center in Baghdad during the Abbasid rule.


The House of Wisdom was founded by Caliph Haroon al-Rashid in the late 8th century that later turned into a public academy during the reign of Al-Ma'moon. It was des…

PM Imran Khan Meets President Trump Amid Improving US-Pakistan Ties

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How much have US-Pakistan ties improved since President Trump's "lies and deceit" tweet on Pakistan? Has Trump completely abandoned the tough Pakistan policy recommended by the 2017 Husain Haqqani-Lisa Curtis paper? What do the US actions such as backing Pakistan's IMF bailout and BLA terror listing suggest?

What should be on top of Imran Khan's agenda when he meets President Trump at the White House on July 22, 2019? Economy? Investment? Trade? Energy? Security? FATF? IFI loans? How can the US best help Pakistan?

Why has the Trump administration changed its Pakistan policy? Does it have anything to do with Afghanistan? How is Pakistan supporting the US-Taliban peace dialogue? Why has US ignored the pro-India Kabul government to move forward with the Taliban? Why has the US agreed to include China and Russia in the efforts to end its war in Afghanistan?

Azad Labon Kay Sath host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf and Riaz Haq.

https://yout…

Pakistan Digital Media Advertising Growth Among World's Fastest

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Rapid growth of broadband access in Pakistan is changing the country's media landscape. Digital advertising revenue is forecast to grow by 32% in 2019 to Rs. 10.8 billion ($103 million), 12% of total national advertising revenue (NAR), according to Magna Advertising. Digital marketing expert Lars Anthonisen believes Pakistan is quickly becoming a "digital first country". Anthonisen sees "new opportunities for brands to reach and engage with consumers who may have previously been overlooked". Overall ad spend in Pakistan is expected to rise by 15% in 2019 to Rs. 88.3 billion ($840 million) following a steep decline (-11%) in 2018, according to a Branding in Asia report. Growing availability of smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband is extending the reach of advertisers to digital media where it is possible to precisely target prospective customers.

Return to Media Growth in 2019: 

Magna expects to see a return to growth in Pakistani media revenue in 2019, with…

Pakistan Ramps Up Nuclear Power to Boost Low-Carbon Energy

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Construction of 1,100 MW nuclear power reactor K2 unit in Karachi has been completed by China National Nuclear Corporation, according to media reports. A similar reactor unit K3 will add another 1,100 MW of nuclear power to the grid, bringing the total nuclear power installed capacity of Pakistan to 3,630 MW (12% of total power) by 2022.  Hualong One reactors being installed in Pakistan are based on improved Westinghouse AP1000 design which is far safer than Chernobyl and Fukushima plants.  In addition, Pakistan is also generating  9,389  MW (about 28% of total power) of low-carbon hydroelectric power in response to rising concerns about climate change.

Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP):

With the placement of the outer containment shell, K2 is  now ready for containment and heat tests. It is scheduled to begin operations in 2020. It’s built using the Chinese HPR1000 technology, which features a dual containment design, with the outer containment providing additional protection for t…

Pakistani EdTech and FinTech Startups Win Prizes in International Competitions

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Two Pakistani technology startups have recently won recognition in international competitions.  Sabaq, an EdTech startup, has been shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. Another Pakistani startup Tez Financial Services in FinTech space has been selected as one of the winners of $100,000 Prize at 2019’s Inclusive Fintech 50.  Growing availability of smartphones, tablets and mobile broadband is enabling Pakistani technology entrepreneurs to offer technology-based solutions in multiple fields including education and financial services. These young ambitious entrepreneurs are beginning to attract venture investments from overseas. Tez Financial Services has received $1.1 million seed funding led by Omidyar Network.

Sabaq:

Karachi-based Pakistani education technology (EdTech) startup SABAQ has been shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. The award recognizes and endorses low-cost technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing countri…