Pakistan Day: The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

As Pakistanis celebrate the 78th anniversary of the Lahore Resolution of 1940 on March 23 this year, it's time to ask the following questions: How is Pakistan doing? What is the reality? How is it perceived?

The worst 1% of the Pakistan story gets 99% of the media coverage, says Lahore-based Pakistani entrepreneur Monis Rahman. In the same vein, former US President Bill Clinton has said this about the media coverage of the continent of Africa: "Follow the trend lines, not the headlines".

So what is the other 99% of the Pakistan story that gets little or no media attention? What are the trend lines that are missed by those just relying on the headlines? Let's try and enumerate these:

1. Pakistan's economy has crossed the trillion dollar mark in terms of purchasing power, according to the IMF. It is among the world's top 25 largest economies. It is also the world's third fastest growing among the trillion dollar plus economies.

2. Pakistanis have consistent…

World Happiness Report 2018: Pakistan Jumps 5 Places to 75 Among 156 Nations

Pakistanis are happier than all of their neighbors, according to the World Happiness Report 2018. Pakistan rose from 80th place in 2017 to 75th place this year while all of its neighbors slid from last year's happiness rankings.

Comparison With Neighbors:

Bangladesh dropped 5 spots to 115 while India slid 11 places to 133 among 156 nations ranked.  China (86), Bhutan (97), Iran (106), Bangladesh (115), and Sri Lanka (116), India (133) and Afghanistan (145) all fared worse than Pakistan (75).

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report has ranked 156 countries based on criteria including per capita income, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

The top of the happiness list is dominated by Western Europeans and North Americans while the bottom-ranked nations are mainly from sub-Saharan Africa.

Foreign-Born Residents:

The report ranks nations by happiness of immigrants in…

Globalization Index: How Connected is Pakistan?

Pakistan ranks 32nd in breadth and 99th overall among 140 countries in terms of globalization, according to DHL Global Connectedness Index compiled by professors at NYU Stern School of Business and IESE Business School. Pakistan ranks 137 on depth and 32 on breadth among 140 countries as measured in 2015.  Pakistan's neighbor India ranks 133 on depth and 21 on breadth. The report blames relatively higher breadth than depth on poor levels of regional integration, depressed in particular by the animosity between South Asia’s two largest economies, India and Pakistan.

Four Pillars of Globalization: 

The index is based on international flows of trade, capital, information and people. The index measures the parameters on depth and breadth. Depth evaluates the extent to which countries' international flows are distributed globally or more narrowly focused, while breadth compares countries' international flows to the sizes of their domestic economies.

Pakistan ranks 137 on depth a…

Pakistani Military's Conventional Deterrence Against India's Cold Start Doctrine

It is widely assumed that India enjoys substantial conventional military superiority over Pakistan. Many speculate that the difference between the conventional military strengths of the two South Asian rivals is so great that Pakistan would be forced to quickly resort to the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an Indian attack. Are these assumptions and speculations accurate? How has the situation evolved since the nations went nuclear in 1998? Are nukes Pakistan's only deterrence against Indian aggression? Let's examine the answers to these questions based on the recent work of several analysts and authors.

India-Pakistan Standoff 2001-2002:

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, there was an incident with several gunmen entering the Indian parliament building and killing 14 people on December 13, 2001. India immediately accused Pakistan of involvement in the attack and vowed to respond militarily. Pakistan categorically denied India's accusatio…

Is Pakistan's Global Diplomacy Working?

Diplomacy underlies all ties between nations. Diplomatic relations form the basis of travel, trade and investment between countries. The probability of armed conflict increases in the absence of diplomacy. In light of the recent failure to keep Pakistan off the terror financing watch list, the following question is being asked by political commentators and pundits: Is Pakistan's diplomacy working? To begin to answer this question, let's first look at where Pakistan ranks on Lowy Diplomacy Index. The 2017 Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index visualizes the diplomatic networks of 60 G20, OECD and Asian nations, allowing users to view and compare some of the most significant diplomatic networks in the world.

Lowy Institute Data:

Pakistan has 116 diplomatic missions around the world. This figure includes 85 embassies, 29 consulates and 2 permanent missions. Pakistan ranks 27th among 60 countries ranked by Lowy. It ranks 7th in Asia .

Pakistan's arch-rival India has 181 m…

Pakistan is the World's Fastest Growing Steel Producer

Steel production in Pakistan jumped 39.3% to 5 million tons last year, according to World Steel Association. Earlier, Pakistan steel industry ramped up its output from 2.9 million tons in 2015 to 3.6 million tons in 2016.

While Pakistan's steel production growth is the world's fastest,  its relatively small steel production volume of 5 million tons ranks it 28th in the world. Other nations seeing strong growth in steel production are Iran (up 21.4%), Vietnam ( 31.9%) and Egypt (35%).   Iran ranks 13th with 21.7 million tons; Vietnam ranks 19th with 10.3 million tons; Egypt ranks 23rd with 6.8 million tons produced in 2017.

Some of the key names ramping up production capacity in Pakistan are Aisha Steel Mill (ASM),  Amreli Steels and Agha Steel Industries.

ASM, an Arif Habib Group company, is planning to expand capacity to a total of 700,000 tons a year from its current capacity of 220,000 tons.

Amreli Steels Limited, country’s leading steelmaker has announced plans to increase…

Pakistani-American Astrophysicist Dr. Nergis Mavalvala in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American Astrophysicist Dr. Nergis Mavalvala, MIT professor and member of Nobel Prize winner LIGO team, visited Pakistani-American Community Center (PACC) in Silicon Valley on February 24, 2018. She was invited by PACC founder Mr. Mohammad Asghar Aboobaker to talk about her inspirational work and meet with the community members, particularly Pakistani-American children in the Valley.

Who is Nergis?

Nergis was born in Lahore and raised in Karachi before coming to the United States in 1986. She completed her Ph.D. in Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1997. She did her doctoral work under Dr. Rainer Weiss that included developing a prototype laser interferometer for detecting gravitational waves. Currently, she is Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is also the Associate Head of the Department of Physics.

Gravitational Waves: 

In her brief presentation attended by over 100 peopl…