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Karachi Stock Index Beat BRICs in 2010

Pakistan's main stock market ended 2010 with a 28 percent annual gain, driven by foreign buying mainly in the energy sector, despite concerns about the country's macroeconomic indicators after summer floods, according to Reuters. Although it was less than half of the 63% gain recorded in 2009, it is still an impressive rise in KSE-100 index when compared favorably with the performance of Mumbai(+17%) and Shanghai(-14.3%) key indexes. Among other BRICs, Brazil is up just 1% for the year, and the dollar-traded Russian RTS index rose 22% in the year, reaching a 16-month closing high of 1,769.57 on Tuesday, while the rouble-based MICEX is also up 22%.


Pakistan's key share index KSE-100 was just over 1000 points at the end of 1999, and it closed at 12022.46 on Dec 31, 2010, sgnificantly outperforming BRIC markets for the decade. Pakistan rupee remained quite stable at 60 rupees to a US dollar until 2008, slipping only recently to a range of 80-85 rupees to a dollar. In spite of …

Pakistan' One-dimensional Coverage With Selective Headlines in 2010

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Have you ever wondered if Pakistan is really as one-dimensional a country as stereotyped by the negative torrent of international media coverage that dominated the news headlines in 2010?

Have you ever thought that Pakistanis engage in any pursuits other than as perpetrators or victims of terror that the journalists find the most newsworthy about the world's sixth most populous South Asian nation?

Well, an Indian-American producer Madhlika Sikka on NPR's Talk of the Nation radio did wonder about it when she visited Pakistan this year. In the talk show aired on June 3, 2010, she described the main concerns of young Pakistanis follows:

"I think, that young people are concerned with the same things you'd think young people are concerned with. In fact, when I came home, the immigration officer asked me about Pakistan, and she said, well, what are they thinking about?

And I said, well, I met a lot of young people, and they're thinking about jobs, and they're thinking…

Is India's Economic Crash Likely in 2011?

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Pakistan's economy had a hard landing in 2008. It was triggered by a balance of payments crisis brought about through precipitous decline in foreign capital inflows combined with policy inaction in response to major external shocks in terms of food and fuel prices during political transition. Is the Indian economy similarly vulnerable in 2011? Is it headed for significant slowdown in the next twelve months? And if it is, can the Indian leadership manage a soft landing through major policy actions now?

To answer these questions, let us examine the following facts:

1. India's current account deficit widened sharply to $13.7 billion in the June-quarter, which was around 3.7 per cent of GDP. The deficit was $4.5 billion in the same period year ago.



2. India's FDI has declined by a third from $34.6 billion in 2009 to $23.7 billion in 2010. Its current account deficit is being increasingly funded by short-term capital inflows (FII up 66% from $17.4 billion in 2009 to $29 billlion…

China Targets India and Pakistan to Grow Trade and Investments

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The Chinese Prime Minister Mr. Wen Jiabao is on state visits to both India and Pakistan to grow his country's invesment and trade. He has signed deals worth $16 billion in trade with India, and $35 billion in trade and investment with Pakistan this month.

China is now India's largest trade partner, with bilateral trade expected to reach $60 billion during this fiscal year ending March 31, 2011. On Thursday, the two countries set a target for bilateral trade to reach $100 billion by 2015. The bulk of Chinese exports are financed by Chinese banks on attractive terms. And China has invested significantly in many parts of the world including South Asia, more in Pakistan than it has in India.



China is Pakistan’s third largest trading partner with $7 billion in trade in 2009, after the United States and the European Union, while Pakistan is China’s largest investment destination and second biggest trade partner in South Asia.

Currently, China enjoys two-to-one trade advantage with b…

India's Big Media Coverup of Telecom Scandal

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India's multi-billion dollar telecom scandal, also known as 2G scandal, is continuing to grow with new revelations coming out almost every day, especially since the failure of the blackout attempt orchestrated by some of the biggest Indian TV channels and newspapers.

The main source of these leaks are over 100 tapes of 5,000 recordings made by India's Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities as part of their surveillance of Ms. Nira Radia. Radia lobbied government ministers and politicians on behalf of India's business elite, including the biggest business magnates Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata.



NDTV journalist Barkha Dutt and Hindustan Times columnist Vir Sanghvi are among those implicated by the tapes in the growing scandal. Initially, attention was focused on Ms. Dutt, who was accused of agreeing to pass on messages from Ms. Radia to the Congress party. Ms. Dutt denied that and defended herself on Twitter, in a statement and on television, and said that at most…

Most Indians and Pakistanis Work in Agriculture and Textile Sectors

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About 60% of India's workforce is in agriculture. Textile industry is the second biggest employer, accounting for a fifth of India’s exports, and employs almost 10 percent of India’s workforce, or some 35 million people, and has the potential to add another 12 million new jobs --dwarfing the 1-2 million jobs created by the much-heralded IT and BPO sector, according to a World Bank report.

The largest number of people in other South Asian nations are also employed in the agriculture sector, followed by textile manufacturing as the second largest employer.

About 60% of India's workforce is engaged in agriculture, contributing about 16% of GDP, according to published data. Textile manufacturing claims the second largest employment and comprises 26% of manufacturing output. It accounts for a fifth of India’s exports, and employs almost 10 percent of India’s workforce, or some 35 million people, and has the potential to add another 12 million new jobs --dwarfing the 1-2 million j…

South Asians Must Reduce Disease Burdens to Improve Prospects

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Poverty, hunger, unsanitary or unsafe conditions and inadequate health care in South Asia's developing nations are exposing their citizens to high risk of a variety of diseases which may impact their intelligence. Every year, World Health Organization reports what it calls "Environmental Burden of Disease" in each country of the world in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) per 1000 people and total number of deaths from diseases ranging from diarrhea and other infectious diseases to heart disease, road traffic injuries and different forms of cancer.



In the range of DALYs/1000 capita from 13 (lowest) to 289 (highest), WHO's latest data indicates that India is at 65 while Pakistan is slightly better at 58. In terms of total number of deaths per year from disease, India stands at 2.7 million deaths while Pakistani death toll is 318, 400 people. Among other South Asian nations, Afghanistan's DALYs/1000 is 255, Bangladesh 64 and Sri Lanka 61. By contrast, …

India's Other Growth Story

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reported last week that hunger in India has grown over the last three years.

IFPRI said India's hunger index score has worsened over the last three years from 23.7 to 23.9 to 24.1 and its ranking moved from 66 to 65 to 67 on a list of 84 nations....while Pakistan's hunger index score has improved over the same period reported since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking has risen from 61 to 58 to 52.

Here's an Indian blogger Abhinav who blogged last February about "Indian Growth Story Nobody Wants To Talk About":

Today’s news on the death of fifty people from hunger at Balangir in Orissa is a grim reminder of the little growth story that India has had. It clearly indicates many negative facets of our system, bureaucracy and the public at large. As per the World Food Program, almost half of the world’s population who are deprived of food live in India. Another website of a well kn…

Cost of Afghan War: $50 Million Per Dead Taliban

US War in Afghanistan entered its tenth year this week, making it the longest war in US history.

What began as a US-Saudi-Pakistani sponsored anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and led to the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001, is now threatening to engulf Africa, Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia in its growing flames. And its effects are continuing to be strongly felt in America and Europe.

The victorious veterans of the 1980s Afghan resistance have successfully indoctrinated and trained several generations of battle-hardened global jihadis to take on the United States and various pro-Western governments in Islamic nations in all parts of the world. This trend is accelerating as the US steps up its attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according a recent report in Newsweek magazine. Here is an excerpt from its report:

"The Central Asians retreated to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 1990s after failing to topple their home governments. Now they seem ready t…

Hunger and Poverty in Pakistan 2000-2008

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Poverty and hunger often go together. The affordability of food is usually a bigger issue than its availability in most poor nations, according to research published by Indian-born economist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen. With few exceptions, rising incomes and reductions in poverty rates are known to lead to lower hunger levels.



Pakistan experienced significant declines in poverty and hunger from the year 2000 until 2008, according to figures published by the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute in their separate reports published recently.

Per Capita PPP GDP


As per capita income rose over 50% to nearly $2500 in purchasing power, poverty in Pakistan decreased from about 34.5% to 17.2% and hunger went down with it during Musharraf years from 2000 to 2008, as reported by World Bank and IFPRI as lagging indicators. The global hunger index score, published annually by the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI), is a number between zero and 100, …

Resurgent India's Success at Commonwealth Games 2010

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Is there a correlation between a nation's economic performance and its success at international sports competitions? Has India's economic resurgence contributed to its achieving remarkable second place status on the medals table at the Commonwealth Games 2010 that just concluded in New Delhi?



Economics professor Daniel Johnson and his student Ms. Ayfer Ali have developed a model to predict a country's Olympic performance using per-capita income (the economic output per person), the nation's population, its political structure, its climate and the host nation advantage. The Johnson-Ali model was described in a paper, “A Tale of Two Seasons: Participation and Medal Counts at the Summer and Winter Olympics,” that was written in 1999 with Ayfer Ali, while Johnson was on sabbatical at Harvard University and Ali was a student. It was published in Social Science Quarterly in December 2004."It's just pure economics," Johnson insists. "I know nothing about the…