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Showing posts from August, 2010

ADB Report Shows Pakistan Offers Higher Upward Mobility Than India

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Over the last two decades, Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report on Asia's rising middle class released recently.

The simplest definition of the middle class is a group of people in a society who are neither rich nor poor. The middle class has always been considered vital to a country's political stability and economic growth. The rich and the poor simply distrust each other too much to let the other govern. Nations with large middle class populations find it easier to reach consensus on sustaining good, democratic governance.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, the size of the middle class was very small when it came into existence, and the country was dominated by a small powerful feudal elite created by the British rulers to sustain their colonial rule. And the urban middle class re…

India is Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates

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In yesterday's Times of India piece titled "Our freedom was born with hunger, we're still not free", one of India's Green Revolution leaders Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan says, "Our freedom was born with hunger. It was born in the backdrop of the Bengal famine. If you read the newspapers dated August 15, 1947, one part was about freedom, the other was food shortage".



As India celebrates its 63rd independence anniversary, it is very unfortunate that economically resurgent India still remains home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate people. Tragically, hunger remains India's biggest problem, with an estimated 7000 Indians dying of hunger every single day. Over 200 million Indians will go to bed hungry tonight, as they do every night, according to Bhookh.com. Along with chronic hunger, deep poverty and high illiteracy also continue to blight the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians on a daily basis.



India ranks 66t…

Pakistan's Glass is Half Full on its 63rd Independence Day

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The devastating floods in Pakistan have dampened the spirits of its people on its 63rd independence day this Aug 14, 2010. All official events marking the day have been canceled as the nation mourns the death of at least 1700 of its citizens and finds itself overwhelmed by the monumental relief and rescue efforts aimed at tens of millions of people across three provinces.

As the scope and scale of the disaster becomes apparent, the response from Pakistani government and the international community has been very slow and inadequate. Coming on the heels of continuing terrorist violence and a slow economy, the floods have further challenged even the greatest optimists in Pakistan.



While it is urgent to cope with the flooding crisis at hand as effectively as humanly possible, it is even more important to keep the faith and remain optimistic about the future of Pakistan in its most difficult hour. And I do see some key trends to be optimistic about Pakistan. Here is the list as I see it:

1. …

Slow Reponse Aids Radicals in Pakistan Floods

“The international community, to which Pakistan belongs, is losing the war against the Taliban,” Pakistani President Asif Zardari told the French daily Le Monde a few days ago. “This is above all because we have lost the battle to win hearts and minds.”

Unfortunately, this mea culpa of sorts by Mr. Zardari has done little to change the grim reality on the ground. In fact, the situation has been further exacerbated by the absence of leadership by the ruling feudal elite such as Mr. Zardari during recent heavy flooding of large parts of Pakistan, including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which is the center of the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan. This vacuum has been promptly filled by the rapid aid provided to the millions of unfortunate flood victims by the "terrorist" organizations which are being targeted by the "international community" in its "war on terror" of which Mr. Zardari claims to be a part.

Immediate effects:

In addition to the 1600 deaths report…