Saturday, October 22, 2016

Smartphones For Digital & Financial Inclusion in Pakistan

Mobile broadband (3G/4G) subscriptions in Pakistan crossed 34 million in September 2016, according to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.  This figure includes 3.5 million subscriptions of higher bandwidth 4G/LTE offered by China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak aka Zong) and Warid.

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) is forecasting the number of smartphones in the country to reach 40 million by the end of the year 2016, according to Daily Times.

Lenovo Smartphone Launch in Pakistan

More and more these smartphones are now becoming affordable and accessible to the urban poor and the rural populations of the country. This is helping close the digital divide.

Beginning in October 2016,  Pakistani government will give away five million smartphones to farmers in the country in an effort to improve knowledge of modern farming techniques, according to the BBC. Large numbers of farmers in countries such as India and Kenya have also recently experimented with smartphone technology.

In addition, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has announced plans to give away 30,000 smartphones with 3G subscriptions funded by Universal Service Fund (USF) to low income Pakistanis on BISP.  Each smartphone will have Rs. 250 balance per month. It is intended to enhance digital and financial inclusion, according to a report in Pakistan Observer.

The objective of giving away smartphones is to help increase farmers' productivity.  Digital access is is expected to reduce poverty in rural and semi-urban areas of Pakistan by supporting micro and small enterprises. Market access to the products of marginalized segments will improve their welfare and at the same time boost the national economy.

Lack of financial inclusion and the growing digital divide are known impediments to progress of the low-income and poor segments of the population. Any effort by the government to remove such impediments will help Pakistan's economy by making more people more productive.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Smartphones in Pakistan

Pakistan 2.0

Fiber Connectivity Growth in Pakistan

Financial Inclusion in Pakistan

Pakistan Agriculture Value Added

Friday, October 14, 2016

Investors Undeterred By Modi's Threats Against Pakistan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's threats of war and Pakistan's isolation have failed to deter investors as KSE-100 index made new highs this week.  The key index of Pakistani shares closed at an all time high level of 41,412.04 points this week. Pakistan shares index has continued to outperform all regional and emerging market indices over the last 5 years.

Modi's Threats:

First came "boli nahi, goli"  (Bullets, not talks). Then came "chappan inch ki chhaati" (56 inch chest, 44 actual according to Modi's tailor) and "Munh tor jawab (Jaw-breaking response) followed by threats of isolating Pakistan and claims of surgical strikes across the line of control in Kashmir.

Investors ignored all of Modi's bluster as just rhetoric and drove Pakistani shares to a new all-time record.
Source: Faseeh Mangi Bloomberg News

Market Performance:

To add insult to injury, the investment flow maintained Pakistan market as the best performer in the region with KSE-100 outperforming all regional and emerging market indices over the last 5 years.

As of Sept 30, 2016, KSE100 index, the PSX's key stock index, has  gained almost 24 percent year to date making Pakistan the best performing market in Asia. Vietnam and Indonesia follow with returns of 18% and 16.8%, respectively, while India’s Sensex Index has gained only 6.7%.

Year-to-date, the Global X MSCI Pakistan ETF (PAK) has gained 21.7%, according to Barron's Asia.
Pakistan's shares are still selling at a big discount in terms of average price-earnings ratio of just 9.7 while other major indices in emerging markets like India are trading at much higher PE ratios of 15 or more.

A total of 576 companies are listed on the PSX, with an aggregate market cap of slightly higher than 8 trillion rupees (US$80 billion), according to Nikkei Asian Review. PSX market cap is just 28% of Pakistan's GDP of $280 billion.

ADB Pakistan Forecast: 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently raised Pakistan's economic growth forecast for fiscal year 2017 (from July 2016 to June 2017) from 4.8% to 5.2%. The Bank also sees brighter outlook for the the entire South Asian region.


Pakistan's economic recovery is in full swing with double digit growth in multiple industries, including auto, pharma, chemicals, cement, fertilizers, minerals, etc.  It is expected to pick up steam over the next several years with new investments on the back of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related projects.

Investors have brushed aside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's threats against Pakistan to drive the shares index to a new record high. They have expressed strong confidence in Pakistan's economy to continue to perform well.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Is Pakistan Ready For War With India?

India's Israel Envy: Surgical Strikes in Pakistan?

Growing Middle Class in Pakistan

Rising Energy Consumption

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan's Thar Desert Sees Development Boom

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Remittances to Pakistan Rise 5.1% to $20.5 Billion in 2016

Overseas Pakistanis sent home $20.5 billion in remittances in 2016, an increase of 5.1% over 2015, according to the World Bank. Pakistan's remittances are 7.5% of its 2015 GDP of $270 billion.

Pakistan's Declining Exports:

The increase in remittances from the diaspora is welcome news in Pakistan suffering from precipitous 12% decline of export earnings and gaping 35-year high trade deficit of $24 billion in 2016.

The World Bank report said 2016 remittances to India declined by 5% to $65.5 billion while Bangladesh received $14.9 billion, a decrease of 3.5% from the previous year.

Declining Remittances to South Asia: 

Remittances to  South Asia region as a whole declined by 2.3 percent in 2016, following a 1.6 percent decline in 2015. Remittances from the oil-rich GCC countries continued to decline due to lower oil prices and labor market ‘nationalization’ policies in Saudi Arabia, according to the report.

Top Recipients of Remittances: 

The top recipients of remittances in 2016 are, India ($65.%b), China ($65.2b), the Philippines ($29.1b), Mexico ($28.1b) and Pakistan ($20.3b) and, in terms of remittances as a share of GDP, Nepal (32.2%), Liberia (31.%), Tajikistan (28.8%), Kyrgyz Republic (25.7%) and Haiti (24.7%).

Pakistan is not alone in seeing its exports decline amid weakness in world demand, particularly in Europe with its slowing economy. However, India's 2016 exports decline is much lower at 5.5% and India's trade deficit actually shrank.


Increase in remittances to Pakistan is good news, especially amid declining worldwide remittances. However, Pakistan can not continue to count on remittances from overseas workers in the midst of low oil prices affecting the GCC nations where millions of Pakistanis work. It must take urgent steps to boost exports and lower its trade deficit to avoid yet another bill-of-payments crisis requiring yet another IMF bailout.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Diaspora

CPEC to Add Over 2 Million New Jobs in Pakistan

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Is Pakistan Ready For War With India?

India's Israel Envy: Surgical Strikes in Pakistan?

Growing Middle Class in Pakistan

Rising Energy Consumption

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan's Thar Desert Sees Development Boom

Friday, October 7, 2016

CPEC To Add 2.5 Million New Jobs & Boost Pakistan GDP Growth to 7.5%

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is expected to add over 2 million direct and indirect jobs to Pakistan's economy and boost the country's GDP growth rate to 7.5%.

Jobs & Economic Growth in Pakistan: 

US-based consulting firm Deloitte and Touche estimates that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects will create some 700,000 direct jobs during the period 2015–2030 and raise its GDP growth rate to 7.5%,  adding 2.5 percentage points to the country's current GDP growth rate of 5%.

An additional 1.4 million indirect jobs will be added in supply-chain and service sectors to support the projects.  An example of indirect jobs is the massive expansion in Pakistan's cement production that will increase annual production capacity from 45 million tons to 65 million tons, according to a tweet by Bloomberg's Faseeh Mangi. Other indirect jobs will be in sectors ranging from personal services to housing and transportation.

CPEC Benefits for Pakistan & China: 

The CPEC will open doors to immense economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but will physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond, according to the Deloitte report.

Almost 80% of the China’s oil is currently transported from the Middle East through the Strait of Malacca to Shanghai, (distance is almost 16,000 km and takes 2-3 months). With Gwadar port in Pakistan becoming operational, the distance would reduce to less than 5,000 km. If all goes well and on schedule, of the 21 agreements on energy– including gas, coal and solar energy– 14 will be able to provide up to 10,400 megawatts (MW) of energy by March 2018. According to China Daily, these projects would provide up to 16,400 MW of energy altogether.

India's War on CPEC: 

The biggest challenge that CPEC faces today is India's well-orchestrated effort to sabotage it. Not only are Indian leaders on record as opposing CPEC, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-hand man Ajit Doval have unleashed a concerted effort to try to make it impossible.

Mr. Modi has openly expressed support for Baloch separatists and Ajit Doval has talked about Pakistan "losing Balochistan". A serving Indian Navy commander Kulbhushan Yadav has been arrested working undercover to wage covert war in Pakistan.

RAW Money Flow:

India has opened up a big money money spigot to use its agents to destabilize Pakistan. RK Yadav, an ex intelligence official of RAW, has in a TV interview (Siyasat Ki Baat with RK Yadav video 6:00 minutes), talked about RAW agents with "suitcases and cupboards full of money".

Ex RAW chief A.S. Dulat has said "money goes a long way" in intelligence operations.

Current National Security Advisor has talked about RAW recruiting terrorists with one-and-a-half times the money they are making from other sources.

RK Yadav has, in his book "Mission R&AW",  written about RAW money paid to late Pakistani politician Khan Abul Wali Khan in 1970s. He's also confirmed the existence of RAW-inspired 1960s Agartala Conspiracy that recruited Shaikh Mujib ur Rehman's Awami League to work for Indian intelligence.

More recently, London Police documents have revealed the testimony of MQM leaders Muhammad Anwar and Tariq Mir confirming that Altaf Husain received money from Indian intelligence.

Modi's Campaign to Isolate Pakistan:

While RAW is busy funding terror in Pakistan, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi has launched a diplomatic offensive to have Pakistan declared a "state sponsor of terror". It's intended to deflect attention from Indian Army's brutality against innocent Kashmiris and to cover up his own proxy war of terror to sabotage CPEC in Pakistan.


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a game-changer for Pakistan. It will build power plants and other infrastrastructure, boost Pakistan's GDP growth to 7.5% and add millions of new jobs to bring prosperity to Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Modi is very unhappy about it and he has launched a multi-pronged concerted effort to sabotage CPEC by using covert wars and diplomatic offensives to hurt Pakistan. Can Pakistan defeat Indian plans and succeed in building a prosperous future? That is the big question. The answer depends on how well Pakistanis can unite to make it happen.

Here's a video by Gaurav Garg explaining why India wants to sabotage CPEC:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Modi's Covert War in Pakistan

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW Successes Against Pakistan

Saleem Safi of GeoTV on Gwadar

Pakistan FDI Soaring with Chinese Money for CPEC

Monday, October 3, 2016

Gated Communities Proliferating in Pakistan

Real estate developers have so far built over 250 gated communities across Pakistan in response to rising demand from upwardly mobile Pakistanis.

Eden Housing Gated Community in Lahore, Pakistan

These communities cater to insatiable demand for world-class and well-appointed housing with modern infrastructure including well-built wide roads and reliable supply of water and electricity. Additionally, they offer various state-of-the-art amenities such as schools, hospitals, mosques, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and parks located within secure communities, according to a report by Adrian Bishop, editor of Opp.Today.

Gated communities are being offered at multiple price points and payment plans that suit not just the rich but the middle class buyers as well. They offer condos (flats), townhouses and single-family homes on lot sizes ranging from 125 square yards to  2000 square yards. These communities are fueling a construction boom in Pakistan.

Defense Housing Authority (DHA), Bahria Town (Malik Riaz), Eden Housing (Aleem Khan), Emaar Properties (of UAE) and Ghurair-Giga (of UAE) are among the biggest developers of gated communities in Pakistan.

Bahria Town Islamabad

In addition to major Pakistani cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, new gated communities are being developed in second and third tier cities as well. Recently, Bahria Town announced its newest development of a gated community in Nawabshah, a city of just over a million residents in southern Sindh province.

Here's an excerpt of a 2013 AFP report on Bahria Town gated community in Islamabad:

Cars glide softly over the smooth tarmac carpeting the gentle hills of Pakistan’s largest gated community, past immaculate green verges dotted with statues of cattle — which, unlike their real counterparts elsewhere in the country, pose no threat to traffic. 

There’s a horse riding centre, a golf course, a posh cinema, an immaculately air-conditioned cafĂ© and a mini zoo with “the only black panther in Pakistan”, whose growling excites young couples taking a walk. 

Elsewhere 20 metre models of the Eiffel Tower and Nelson’s Column — complete with lions — watch over this vision of suburbia which seems a world away from the rest of Pakistan’s seething, traffic-choked and crumbling cities.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

ADB Raises Pakistan's GDP Growth Forecast

Pakistan's Rising Middle Class

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

 DHA Karachi Green City

Emaar Crescent Bay Karachi

Pakistani Construction Boom