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China-India Standoff; Panama JIT; Indian Asylum Seekers

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What is India-China standoff in Bhutan's Doklam about? What are the risks of either side miscalculating? Can this border conflict spiral out of control and escalate into a full-scale war like the the 1962 war? Can it lead to a wider regional conflict? How would such a war conclude?

What are the political implications of the ongoing Panama case hearings in Pakistan Supreme Court? How are the media and political parties lining up on this? Will the Supreme Court disqualify and remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding office for corruption? Will it be seen as normal democratic process of accountability or a conspiracy to subvert an elected government?

Why are Indians among the top 5 asylum seekers in the world along with Syria? What's driving Indians to seek refuge in OECD nations? Is it lack of economic opportunity or increasing religious violence? Or something else?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.ria…

CPEC Financing: Is Pakistan Being Ripped Off By China?

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Is China ripping off its all-weather friend Pakistan by charging high interest rates on loans and exorbitant guaranteed returns on investments in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects?  That's a question that is being asked on a frequent basis by Pakistan's friends and foes alike. While friends of China-Pakistan ties are concerned about an undue burden on Pakistanis, the foes see CPEC as an opportunity to create a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt about it and its benefits for Pakistan's economy and society. Who's right? Who's wrong? Why? Let's dive into it.


Claims by CPEC Detractors:

Many Western and Indian opponents claim that the cost of CPEC financing will be so high that Pakistan will not be able to bear it. They assert that China is attempting to catch Pakistan in a debt trap from which the country will not be able to escape, eventually turning it into a Chinese colony. The financing costs for Chinese loans and investments they claim are in hig…

Indians Among Top Asylum Seekers in OECD Countries

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India is among the the top 5 sources of migrants seeking asylum in OECD countries, according to OECD's International Migration Outlook 2017. The other four are: China, Syria, Romania and Poland.  Is increasing religious violence in India, like Syria, contributing to growing numbers of asylum seekers from the South Asian nation?

Indian asylum seekers rank 2nd in New Zealand, 4th in Latvia and 6th in Finland and United Kingdom and 8th in Australia, the OECD report says. The numbers of Pakistanis seeking asylum remains stable but they still show up among the top 3 asylum seekers in some OECD nations such as the UK, Ireland, Italy, Greece and South Korea.

Indians have sought political asylum in more than 40 countries over the years, according to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).



There's a long history of India's religious and ethnic minorities seeking asylum abroad after being persecuted at home, starting with the exodus of 8 million Musl…

Harvard Kennedy School CID Projects Pakistan GDP Growth to Average 5.97% Till 2025

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In its latest economic growth projections, Kennedy School's Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University expects Pakistan's annual GDP growth to average 5.97% over the next 8 years, ranking it as the world's 6th fastest growing economy.



The Harvard growth projections are a bit more optimistic that other short, medium and long-term GDP growth forecasts for Pakistan offered by HSBC's 5% through 2050,   IMF's 5.5% till 2020, World Bank's 5.8% until 2019 and  The Economist EIU's 5.7% in 2017

Among the top 10 fastest growing economies, the CID projects Uganda to grow the fastest at 7.73%, followed by India 7.72%, Tanzania 6.66%, Senegal 6.49%, Madagascar 6.07%, Kenya 5.98%, Pakistan 5.97%, Indonesia 5.82%, Mali 5.75%, Turkey 5.64% and Philippines 5.43%.

Among Pakistan's other neighbors,  China is forecast to grow at 4.41%, Sri Lanka at 3.77% and Bangladesh at 2.82%.



CID also released new country rankings of the 2015 Economic Complexity In…

Political Patronage: Pakistan School Enrollment Rate Flat Despite Increased Education Spending

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Data shows that Pakistan's literacy and enrollment rates are not rising in spite of significantly increased education spending over the last several years. Education budgets at federal and provincial levels have seen double digit increase of 17.5% a year on average since 2010. And yet, school enrollment and literacy rate have remained essentially flat during this period.  This lack of progress in education stands in sharp contrast to the significant improvements in outcomes seen from increase education spending during Musharraf years in 2001-2008. Why is it?

Is the money not being spent honestly and wisely? Is the education budget being used by the ruling politicians to create teacher jobs solely for political patronage? Are the teachers not showing up for work? Is the money being siphoned off by bureaucrats and politicians by hiring "ghost teachers" in "ghost schools"? Let's try and examine the data and the causes of lack of tangible results from education…

Pakistan's 4G Speeds More Than Twice Faster Than India's

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Pakistan's mobile broadband operators are offering download speeds of 11.7 Mbps, more than twice faster than neighboring India's 5.14 Mbps as measured. 3G/4G/LTE Subscriptions are rising rapidly at a rate of about a million a month since the initial rollout in late 2014 brining the total number of subscribers to 41.72 million as of May, 2017.  Growing availability and rising speeds are enabling many new Internet applications that are increasing access to education/training, financial services and commerce while reducing the digital divide between the rich and the poor.


4G/LTE Speeds: 

Pakistan wireless carriers offer average 4G speed of 11.7 Mbps, more than twice faster than Indian operators' 5.14 Mbps, according to a report by New York based Open Signal's "The State of LTE" report released in June, 2017. Singapore tops the list with 45.6 Mbps 4G download speed. Worldwide average for LTE is 16.2 Mbps.

Here's an excerpt of the Open Signal report:

"Our …

Pakistan is the 7th Largest Source of Foreign-Born Citizens of Rich OECD Nations

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Nearly 100,000 Pakistanis migrated to and another 50,000 acquired citizenship of the rich industrialized nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2015, according to International Migration Outlook 2017 released by the Organization.

OECD Migration Report 2017: 

Nearly 50,000 Pakistani immigrants became citizens of the rich industrialized countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2015, according to International Migration Outlook 2017 recently published by the Organization.


India topped the list with 130,000 Indians acquiring citizenship of OECD nations in 2015, followed by Mexico (112,000) ranked 2nd, the Philippines (94,000) ranked 3rd, Morocco (94,000) ranked 4th, China (78,000) ranked 5th, Albania (52,000) ranked 6th and Pakistan (50,000) ranked 7th.

In addition, Pakistan was the 18th largest source of immigrants with 99,000 Pakistanis migrating to OECD nations in 2015. India is 5th on this list with 268,000 I…