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Showing posts from March, 2022

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Demonstrated Effectiveness as Crisis Leader

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has effectively led Pakistan through multiple crises in the last 4 years. Khan inherited dangerously low forex reserves in 2018 which are now at  $23 billion, near the highest level in the nation's history. The COVID pandemic that hampered Pakistan's recovery has been handled well with the fully vaccinated rate for the eligible population at more than 75%. Not only has Khan deftly navigated his nation through these crises but his government has also revived the country's economy and grown exports by 26%.  Domestic savings rate recovered to nearly 17% after plunging to a low of 12% in 2018.  The year 2021 was a banner year for Pakistan's  technology startups  that raised over $350 million in funding, more than the amount raised in the previous 5 years. Manufacturing and construction industries are enjoying a boom last seen during the  Musharraf years  in 2000-2007.  Pakistan has pursued an independent foreign policy under the PTI government. The

Russia Sanctions: Taiwan's TSMC Joins Western Ban on Technology For Moscow

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will no longer  fabricate  computer chips for Russia, according to media reports. The ban will particularly affect Russia's Elbrus and Baikal processors, unless China agrees to step in to manufacture these chips, and risk additional US sanctions itself. Both Russian processors use mature 28 nm technology. The world's most advanced TSMC fabrication technology today is 5 nanometers. The best US-based  Intel  can do today is 7nm technology. China's SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) has the capability to produce chips using 14 nm technology.  Semiconductor chips form the core of all modern systems from automobiles to airplanes to smartphones, computers, home appliances, toys, telecommunications and advanced weapons systems.   Top 10 Semiconductor Chip Producing Countries. Source: Comtrade Database China is the world's biggest producer of semiconductor chips, according to data from the United Nation

Pakistan Revives Reko Diq: One of The World's Largest Undeveloped Copper-Gold Deposits

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Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold Corporation and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan have reached a deal to restart the Reko Diq mining project. Reko Diq is the world's 4th largest undeveloped copper-gold porphyry deposit with over  14 million tons of copper  and 21 million ounces of gold. The project was abandoned in 2011 after a Pakistan Supreme Court bench headed by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry canceled the mining license granted to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), a joint venture between Canada's Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals of Chile. TCC challenged the cancellation in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID). On July 12, 2019, the ICSID Tribunal awarded TCC $5.894 billion plus interest of  $700,000 per day in damages against Pakistan. As of 1 March 2022, the award stood at $6.5 billion. The new agreement between Barrick Gold Corporation  and the governments of Pakistan and Balochistan does away with this award. It als

Top India Analysts Dispel "India's Size Illusion"

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India's leaders and their western boosters have been promoting the country as an emerging superpower to counter rising China. They cite the size of India's economy, demography, military and consumer market to back up their assertions. These claims are challenged by India's former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman, former head of IMF in India, in an article titled "India's Size Illusion".  In a similar article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious questions about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region.  Modi Claims 56 inch Chest  Modi's 56 inch Chest: "Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai",  acknowledged Indian Prime Minister  Narendra  Modi  after his military's 2019 failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's bellige

Pakistan Air Force: The Only Air Force That Shot Down Multiple Russian Fighter Pilots in Combat Since WWII

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As the United States and other NATO members hesitate in imposing No-Fly zone over Ukraine for fear of direct confrontation with Russia, here's a piece of history from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has the distinction of being the only air force that has engaged and shot down multiple Russian fighter pilots in combat since WWII.  The most prominent among those shot down by PAF was Colonel Alexander Rutskoy who ejected over Pakistani soil and was captured by Pakistan. After his release, Rutskoy was decorated as a hero of the Soviet Union and went onto become vice president of Russia under Boris Yeltsin, before leading an attempted coup in 1993, according to The National Interest publication.  Col Alexander Rutskoy of USSR Air Force Shot Down Over Pakistan In 1986, the F-16s of the  Pakistan Air Force 's No. 9 Griffin and 14 Shaheen squadrons began flying combat air patrols along the Afghan border. That year.  The Soviet and Afghan f

Can Modi's India Be Trusted With Nukes?

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India's March 9 "accidental firing" of Brahmos nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile into Pakistan has raised serious questions about the safety of the Indian nuclear arsenal. Do the people in charge of India's nukes have basic competence to handle such weapons? Was this really an "unauthorized" or "accidental" firing? Why was there a long delay by New Delhi in acknowledging the incident?  Could Pakistan be blamed if it assumed that extremist right-wing Hindu elements had taken control of the missile system in India and fired it deliberately into Pakistani territory? Has the Indian government risked the lives of 1.6 billion people of South Asia? Top Indian defense analysts Sushant Singh and Bharat Karnad have strongly criticized the Indian government for the incident and its response. Singh has accused the Indian government of risking the lives of 1.6 billion people.  Karnad has called the incident "quite shocking and simply cannot be cre

Will Russia Sanctions Accelerate Inflation, Devalue US Dollar and Strengthen Chinese Yuan?

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Russia is a commodities superpower. The nation's Eurasian landmass is rich in all kinds of natural resources from food to fuel to metals. To punish Moscow for  invading Ukraine , the US and  G-7 nations have imposed sanctions  on Russia. These sanctions have effectively removed Russian commodities from the global supply chain, triggering double digit price increases for food, fuels and metals. Will the G-7 actions leave the US dollar much weaker? Will the Chinese currency, backed by commodities, gain strength at the expense of the US dollar and Euro? Will the era of commodity-backed money return? In a note to clients, Credit Suisse investment strategist Zoltan Pozsar has answered some of these questions. He says "this (Russia) crisis is not anything we have seen since President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off gold in 1971". "After this war is over, "money" will never be the same again.....and bitcoin (if it still exists then) will probably benefit from all t

Karachi-Born Ukrainian Billionaire Believes “Ukraine is Going to be Next Afghanistan for Russia"

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Pakistani-Ukrainian billionaire  Mohammad Zahoor  believes “Ukraine is going to be the next Afghanistan for Russia". Talking with Arab News, he said: “This is time, actually, for us not to keep quiet. We have to take sides". After the Russian invasion, Zahoor left Kiev for Britain along with his wife and two daughters. Zahoor owns real estate and steel businesses in Ukraine. He is also a British citizen. He was recently in Pakistan to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law who died of COVID-19. Mohammad and Kamaliya Zahoor Zahoor told  Arab News  that the  Russian invasion  of Ukraine may have consequences for Russia similar to the fallout from the Soviet-Afghan war from 1979 to 1989, which drastically weakened Russia's military and  economy . That defeat in Afghanistan was one of the major reasons for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. “Ukraine is going to be the next  Afghanistan  for Russia,” he said. “I don’t know how many years they are going to be in Ukraine, but

Arab Muslim UAE Is Top Education and Employment Destination For Indians From Modi's Hindu Rashtra

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The United Arab Emirates, a grouping of  seven Arab Muslim kingdoms, has now become the number one destination for education and employment of people from Hindu India, according to the government data from the two countries.  India is now ruled by the right-wing  Hindu BJP party  headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose entire politics is based on extreme  hatred of Islam and Muslims . In 2020, Emirati Princess Sheikha Hend bint Faisal al-Qasimi strongly criticized  Islamophobia in India . She also expressed solidarity and sympathies with Indian Muslims and Kashmiris. Indians Students Abroad. Source: Economic Times Over 1.2 million Indian students are now studying overseas, twice more than a decade ago. The UAE has 219,000 Indian students, Canada 215,720, the US 211,930, Australia 92,383, Saudi Arabia 80,800, Britain 55,465, and Oman 43,600, according to the data from India's  Ministry of External Affairs .  UAE Expat Population. Source: Global Media Insight In addition to stud