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Showing posts from 2022

Modi's India Busting Western Sanctions, Funding Russia's War On Ukraine

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India, a western ally, is openly buying Russian coal, oil and weapons worth tens of billions of dollars at deep discounts. These actions amount to busting western sanctions and financing President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine. Many smaller developing countries, including Bangladesh and Pakistan, are abiding by these sanctions and suffering from the consequences in terms of high prices of fuel and food. Why these double standards? Do these policy contractions serve the broader US interests in the Asia region?  India's Russian Imports Soaring Since the Start of Ukraine War. Source: Reuters India's Russian coal imports are up 6-fold from May 27 to June 15, 2022, according to  Reuters . Delhi's Russian oil buying has jumped 31-fold in this period.  Bulk shipments of Russian thermal coal to India began in the third week of May, 2022.  India is defying western sanctions to buy millions of barrels of discounted Russian crude oil, hiding their origin and exporting refined pe

Amazon Marketplace: Pakistani Sellers Among World's Top 3 Fastest Growing

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A year after joining Amazon Marketplace, Pakistan is currently ranked as the third biggest source of new sellers joining in 2022, according to Marketplace Pulse research. Amazon e-commerce platform has global reach. As of March 2021, Amazon Marketplace operated and sold in 18 countries, mostly in advanced economies of Europe, Japan and North America as well as in emerging markets like Brazil, China, India, Arab Gulf states and Turkey.   Pakistani Sells on Amazon Marketplace. Source: Runway Pakistan Amazon added Pakistan to the countries allowed to sell on its marketplace in May 2021 after a year-long talks between Amazon, Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce, and the National e-Commerce Council. Prime Minister Imran Khan's Special Assistant Razzak Dawood personally led this effort to boost Pakistan's exports . Eventually, the new sellers from Pakistan will contribute significantly to the country's exports, particularly in cotton textiles and apparel categories.  Even before offi

US Tech Firm Gives Remote Employees in Pakistan 150% Raise

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American tech firm Edge has boosted the minimum salary of its Pakistan-based remote employees to Rs. 200,000 (about US$1,000) a month, a 150% increase. The firm's 190 employees work from home for the firm headquartered in Sacramento, California . “We are aware of the global economic downturn and its impact on our people, especially in Pakistan. More than ever, we understand our responsibility towards our people and the need to invest in them,” said its Pakistani-American Founder and CEO Iffi Wahla. “I sincerely hope this decision starts a momentum for wage increases in the country. Our mission is to democratize fair wages and access to work across the globe.” Edge was founded in 2020 and operates in the insurance, health, and retail sectors.  It provides global remote employees to North American companies. A total of 320 employees are a part of the company which has offices in the United States, Pakistan, and Peru. Edge plans to expand to seven more countries by the end of this yea

New Gwadar International Airport: Pakistan's 2nd Greenfield Class 4F Airport Nearing Completion

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The architecture of the New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) is inspired by a rising Phoenix. It is Pakistan's second greenfield airport built from scratch in a new location. With a 3,650-meter long runway, it is a Class 4F airport.  NGIA is scheduled to begin test flights in December this year.  The only other airport with a 3,600-meter long runway is the New Islamabad International Airport that opened for commercial flights in 2018.  Karachi  and Lahore international airports have runways lengths of 3,400 meters and 3,360 meters respectively, putting them in 4E class. All four of these major Pakistani airports can handle landing of Airbus A380, the largest commercial airliner in operation today.  New Gwadar International Airport Architecture Inspired by A Rising Phoenix New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) is being built in  Gwadar  at a cost of $246 million on an area of 4,300 acres. Construction of NGIA started in October, 2019. The entire project is being built by the st

Indian Women's Labor Force Participation Falls to Just 19%, Lower Than Pakistan's 21%

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Female labor force participation rate in India has recently fallen to just 19%, the second lowest after Afghanistan's 15% in the South Asia region. By contrast, Pakistan's  women's labor force  participation rate is 21%, Sri Lanka's 31% and Bangladesh's 35%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mishandling of the COVID19 pandemic has hit Indian women particularly hard, with 90% of those who lost their jobs now shut out of the workforce.  Female Labor Force Participation Rate in South Asia. Source: World Bank The precipitous loss of women workers is disastrous news for India's economy, which had started slowing before the  COVID19  pandemic, according to a  Bloomberg  report. Rosa Abraham, an economics professor at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, tracked more than 20,000 people as they navigated the labor market during the pandemic.. She found that after the first lockdown, women were several times more likely to lose their jobs than men and far less likely to

Economic Survey: Pakistanis Consuming More Calories, Fruits and Vegetables

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Pakistanis are eating more and healthier foods, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22. Per capita average daily calorie intake in Pakistan has jumped to 2,735 calories in FY 2021-22 from 2,457 calories in 2019-20. The biggest contributor to it is the per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which soared from 53.6 Kg to 68.3 Kg, less than half of the 144 Kg ( 400 grams/day ) recommended by the World Health Organization. Healthy food helps cut disease burdens and reduces demand on the healthcare system. Under former Prime Minister  Imran Khan's leadership , Pakistan succeeded in achieving these nutritional improvements in spite of  surging global food prices  amid the  Covid19 pandemic .  Pakistan Per Capita Daily Calorie Consumption. Source: Economic Surveys of Pakistan The trend of higher per capita daily calorie consumption has continued since the 1950s. It has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2735 in 2021-22. The per capita per

Islamophobia: Can Modi's India Afford to Alienate the Entire Arab Muslim Middle East?

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Last week, two official spokespersons of India's ruling BJP party insulted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on an Indian television channel known for promoting  Islamophobia . Mohammad Zubair, an Indian Muslim journalist, tweeted a video clip of the TimesNow primetime show featuring BJP's official spokeswoman Nupur Sharma attacking the Prophet (SAW) revered by more than a billion Muslims around the world. As the video clip went viral, a long a growing list of Muslim countries has officially protested to the Indian government. The UAE, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iraq, the Maldives, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain and Pakistan have now joined Kuwait, Iran and Qatar, calling Indian ambassadors to register their protest, and Saudi Arabia has issued a strongly worded statement. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the BJP,"  the Saudi statement said. India's Ties to the GCC Nations. Source: Advaid The B

Russia Sanctions: India Profiting From Russian Oil Trade by Exporting Refined Petroleum

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India is defying western sanctions to buy millions of barrels of discounted Russian crude oil, hiding their origin and exporting refined petroleum products with a big markup to make a huge profit. China has yet to increase its oil imports from Russia, according to news reports. Meanwhile, India's neighbors Bangladesh and Pakistan are abiding by western sanctions and paying much higher market prices to buy oil for their domestic needs, and hurting their people. Such double standards are not going unnoticed.  India's Refined Petroleum Exports.Source: MarketWatch India is importing large amounts of deeply discounted Russian crude, running its refiners well above capacity, and capturing the economic rent of sky-high crack spreads and exporting gasoline and diesel to Europe, according to MarketWatch .  “As the EU weans from Russian refined products, we have a growing suspicion that India is becoming the de facto refining hub for Europe,” said Michael Tran, global energy strategist a

Pakistan's Global Fashion Brands Creating Other Branded Exports Opportunities

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Pakistan is moving to higher value-addition in textile sector with branding. Khaadi, Gul Ahmed, J. by Junaid Jamshed, Sapphire, Sana Safinaz and others growing into global brands by expanding into countries with large Pakistani diaspora. Other Pakistani companies that have gained international brand recognition include Shan Masala, Pakola, Tapal Tea and K&N Frozen Foods. These companies are helping boost much needed exports to narrow Pakistan's growing current account deficits .  Pakistani Global Brands. Source: Pakistan & Gulf Economist As the Pakistani diaspora has grown to nearly 10 million in recent years, several Pakistani clothing and food brands have entered markets in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and the Middle East. These markets create opportunities to build more Pakistani global brands, create jobs and grow Pakistan's exports .  Khaadi Store, Package Mall, Lahore, Source: Wikimedia Khaadi , which specializes in women's apparel, has

Chinese Public Opinion: 73% Have Positive View of Pakistan, Second Only to Russia

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A recent public opinion survey conducted in China revealed that 73% of respondents have a positive view of Pakistan, second only to Russia which is seen positively by 80% of respondents.  About 18% of Chinese survey participants have a negative view of Pakistan while 9% are neutral. The results of this survey show that the oft-repeated talk of China and Pakistan being " iron brothers " is not just official rhetoric; it is actually supported by the Chinese people. It is also evident in the fact that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is  transforming Pakistan's least developed area .  Other nations enjoying favorable views among the Chinese include Singapore (66%), North Korea (62%), and Germany (61%). Most negatively perceived countries include the United States (90%), India (56%), Japan (54%), Vietnam (48%), South Korea (47%), and Ukraine (46%).  Chinese Public Opinion Survey of 25 Countries. Source: CEIAS The survey in  China  was conducted by the Central Europ

International Tea Day: Pakistan is the World's Largest Tea Importer

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Pakistan does not produce tea but it is the most popular beverage among Pakistanis.  The country is ranked as its largest importer in the world.  In 2020, Pakistan imported $646 million (9% of global tea imports) worth of tea and exported $15.2 million in branded blends of tea such as Tapal Tea. Pakistan tea imports grew 19.8% from 2019 to 2020.  Pakistan Tea Trade. Source: The Observatory of Economic Complexity Other major tea importers in 2020 were as follows: United States: $473.8 million (7.1%) Russia: $412.2 million (6.2%) United Kingdom: $348.7 million (5.2%) Saudi Arabia: $243.6 million (3.7%) Iran: $236.3 million (3.5%) Hong Kong: $221.8 million (3.3%) Morocco: $202.3 million (3%) Egypt: $197.2 million (3%) Germany: $195 million (2.9%) China: $180 million (2.7%) France: $168.1 million (2.5%) United Arab Emirates: $164.9 million (2.5%) Japan: $156.6 million (2.4%) Iraq: $134.7 million (2%).  Global purchases of imported tea totaled US$6.7 billion in 2020. Of these countries, 4