How is 64-Year-Old Pakistan Doing?

“You tend to hear the worst 5% of the Pakistan story 95% of the time.”


The above is a quote attributed to Pakistani Entrepreneur Monis Rahman in Aug 8, 2011 Forbes Magazine story titled “Want to Start a Company in the World's Sixth-Most Populous Country? Time to Move to Pakistan”.

On Pakistan's 64th birthday today, there is a lot of coverage by the traditional media focused on "the worst 5% of the Pakistan story". To help my readers piece together the full story of Pakistan this August 14, 2011, I am writing today to present some of the key parts of the rest of the 95% of the Pakistan story that gets little or no coverage.

Let's start with some of the key indicators of progress Pakistan has made since independence in 1947.

1. Health & Wealth:

The health and wealth of a nation depend on availability of good nutrition and access to health care and education, which in turn rely on economic growth to support needed public and private social spending.

The most basic indicators of progress, such as the life expectancy and per capita incomes of many nations, have been compiled and brought to life in animations developed by Professor Hans Rosling and posted on gapminder.org.



The Gapminder animations show that life expectancy in Pakistan has jumped from 32 years in 1947 to 67 years in 2009, and per Capita inflation-adjusted PPP income has risen from $766 in 1948 to $2603 in 2009.

2. Literacy:

Literacy is also a very important indicator of progress. Though the literacy in Pakistan has increased from about 10% in 1947 to about 60% today, it remains dismally low relative to many other nations.

However, a closer examination of literacy data by age groups shows that the literacy rates are rising by every generation:

Over 55 years 30% literate
45-55 40%
35-45 50%
25-35 60%
15-25 70% (Male 80%, Female 60%, UNICEF)

Rural and Female illiteracy are the biggest challenges.

3. Poverty, Hunger and Inequality:

The World Bank ranks Pakistan among lower-middle-income nations with per capita income exceeding $1000 a year.

Pakistan is still a country with significant population of poor people. However, its recent levels of poverty are among the lowest in South Asia.

The 2011 World Bank data shows that Pakistan's poverty rate of 17.2%, based on India's current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day, is more than 10 percentage points lower than India's 27.5%. Assam (urban), Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the only three Indian states with equal or slightly lower poverty rates than Pakistan's.

Based on hunger data collected from 2003 to 2008, The International Food Policy Research (IFPRI) has reported that Pakistan's hunger index score improved over the last three consecutive years reported since 2008 from 21.7 (2008) to 21.0 (2009) to 19.1 (2010) and its ranking rose from 61 to 58 to 52. During the same period, India's index score worsened 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.

Pakistan is also more egalitarian than its neighbors. The CIA World Factbook reports Pakistan’s Gini Index has decreased from 41 in 1998-99 to 30.6 in 2007-8, lower than India's 36.8 and Bangladesh's 33.2.

4. Pakistan's Economy:

Pakistan state was broke in 1947 because India refused to give Pakistan its share of Sterling reserves. The situation was so bad that Pakistani govt couldn’t pay employees. In this first existential crisis, the Habibs bailed out Pakistani state by lending Rs. 80 million, more than half of Rs. 150 million budget.

Today, Pakistan's economy is the 27th largest in the world. As Part of "the Next 11" group of nations, it is one of the top 15 emerging economies (BRICs+Next11) picked by Goldman Sachs. Goldman forecasts Pakistan to be among the top 20 biggest economies in the world by 2025.

Since 2008, Pakistan's economy has been suffering from a serious stagflation, a very bad combination of slow growth and high inflation. But the history tells us that this current situation is not normal for Pakistan. After all, it's Pakistan's robust economic growth that has enabled significant progress based on the health and wealth indicators outlined earlier.

Beginning in 1947, Pakistani economy grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year through the first four decades of the nation's existence. In spite of rapid population growth during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 46% down to 18% by late 1980s, according to eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. This healthy economic performance was maintained through several wars and successive civilian and military governments in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s until the decade of 1990s, now appropriately remembered as the lost decade.

In the period from 2000-2007, here's what the IMF agreed to in 2008 as part of the nation's bailout:

Pakistan became one of the four fastest growing economies in the Asian region during 2000-07 with its growth averaging 7.0 per cent per year for most of this period. As a result of strong economic growth, Pakistan succeeded in reducing poverty by one-half, creating almost 13 million jobs, halving the country's debt burden, raising foreign exchange reserves to a comfortable position and propping the country's exchange rate, restoring investors' confidence and most importantly, taking Pakistan out of the IMF Program.

5. Science and Technology:

Here are some of the facts about Pakistan's progress in science and technology that never make the headlines in the mainstream media anywhere, including Pakistan:

-Pakistan has been ScienceWatch’s Rising Star for scientific papers published in various international journals.

-Pakistan is among a handful of nations with dozens of scientists working on CERN’s high-profile SuperCollider Project. Several SuperCollider components were built in Pakistan.

-Jinnah Antarctic Station puts Pakistan among a dozen nations doing research in Antarctica.

-Pakistan’s IT Industry is worth $2.8 billion and growing



-Pakistan leads the world in biometric IT services with the world’s biggest biometric database.

-Top-selling Blackberry application was developed by a Pakistani company Pepper.pk

6. Arts, Literature & Culture:

There has been an explosion of the uniquely Pakistani arts and literature:

-Sachal Orchestra, a Lahore Jazz Group, is topping western music charts

-Regular book fairs, music concerts, fashion shows & theater group performances

-UK’s Granta Magazine Special Issue Highlights Successful Pakistani Authors’ Books Published in Europe and America. Examples: Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Daniyal Mueenuddin (In Other Rooms, Other Wonders), Kamila Shamsie (Burnt Shadows), Mohammad Hanif (A Case of Exploding Mangoes) and Nadeem Aslam (The Wasted Vigil) who have been making waves in literary circles and winning prizes in London and New York.

7. Heavy Manufacturing:

Pakistan has a significant heavy industry today. For example:

-Autos, Motorcycles, Tractors, Buses, Trucks (Auto Sales Up 61% in July, 2011)

-Steel

-Nuclear Reactors (Khushab)

-Aircrafts

-Ships

-Unmanned Drones (UAVs)

-Army Tanks

-Ballistic and Cruise Missiles

8. Natural Resources:

Pakistan is rich in energy and mineral resources.

-US Dept of Energy estimates 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas mostly in Sindh. And there's good potential for shale oil in the country.

-Vast coal reserves at Thar for cheap electricity

-Huge deposits of copper, gold, iron and rare earths at Reko Diq, Dilband and Saindak in Balochistan

-High sustained wind speeds of 13 to 16 mph along the Arabian Sea coastline

-Lots of sunshine everywhere all year round

-Significant hyrdo energy potential

9. Strong Society:

The Habibs bailed out Pakistani state in 1947.

Now, let's see how Edhi doing it in 2011. Here's quote from Anatol Leiven's "Pakistan: A Hard Country":

"There is no sight in Pakistan more moving than to visit some dusty, impoverished small town in arid wasteland, apparently abandoned by God and all sensible men and certainly abandoned by the Pakistani state and its own elected representatives- to see the flag of the Edhi Foundation flying over a concrete shack with a telephone, and the only ambulance in town standing in front. Here, if anywhere in Pakistan, lies the truth of human religion and human morality".

Lieven says Pakistanis donate 5% of the GDP for charitable cause, making Pakistanis the most generous people in the world. As a benchmark, philanthropy accounts for 2.2% of gdp in the United States, 1.3% in the UK, 1.2% in Canada and 0.6% in India.

10. Weak State:

Unfortunately, Pakistani state, run by politicians and their hand-picked civilian administrators, is weak, incompetent and ineffective.

The Pakistani military and the civil society bails out the state each time it is found lacking. Examples include the earthquake in 2005 , Swat takeover by Taliban insurgents in 2009, and massive floods in 2010. In each of these cases, the politicians and the civilian administrators abandoned the people and the world media declared Pakistan a failed state on the verge of total collapse. But they were proved wrong.

The military launched the rescue and relief efforts by deploying all of its resources, and then the NGOs like Edhi Foundation stepped in to help the people stand on their feet again.

Summary:

While the worst 5% of the Pakistan story gets all the headlines, the reality of Pakistan today as vibrant society and a strong nation gets ignored by the mainstream media. The real story of Pakistan is the resilience of its 180 million citizens who continue to strive to make it better and stronger.

The Taliban who get all the coverage do not pose an existential threat to Pakistan. Generations of military families have periodically fought FATA insurgencies. For example, Shuja Nawaz, the author of Crossed Swords says that his grandfather, his uncle and his cousin have all been deployed in Waziristan by the British and later Pakistani governments in the last century and a half. American withdrawal from the region will eventually calm the situation in Waziristan, and the rest of the country.

Climate change and the growing water scarcity are the main long-term existential threats to Pakistan and the region. Water per capita is already down below 1000 cubic meters and declining
What Pakistan needs are major 1960s style investments for a second Green Revolution to avoid the specter of mass starvation and political upheaval it will bring.

Note: Click here to get a pdf version of my presentation at P.A.C.C. in San Jose, CA.

Here's a video of Riaz Haq's interview on Aug 14, 2011:


Wide Angle Zoom: Formation and Future of Pakistan by wbt-tv

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Ishrat Husain: Structural Reforms in Pakistan's Economy

Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding

US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

After Partition: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?

India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition

UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Financial Services Sector

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

Pakistan's Other Story

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

Asia Gains in Top Asian Universities

BSE-Key Statistics

Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

India-Pakistan Military Comparison

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Energy Crisis

IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt from Dr. Ishrat Husain's lecture remembering Pakistan finance minister Shoaib in 2009:

The period from 1958 to 1969 during which President Ayub ruled and Mr.
Shoaib served as Finance Minister for most of these years is considered as the
golden era of Pakistan’s economic history. The period had strong macro
economic management and the economic indicators were extremely impressive.
Agriculture grew at a respectable 4 percent while remarkable rates were
achieved in manufacturing (9 percent) and trade (7 percent) GNP growth rates
exceeded 6 percent on average throughout the period. Economic growth was
very strong on all fronts.
Structural changes that took place under the stewardship of Mr. Shoaib
laid the foundation for Pakistan’s subsequent economic performance.
Manufacturing sector which was quite nascent increased to nearly 15 percent of
DGP. Pakistan’s economic model was considered a benchmark for the
developing countries. By the end of the decade, Pakistan’s manufactured
exports wee higher than the combined manufactured exports of the Philippines,
Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is purely a matter of conjecture as to where
Pakistan would have stood today in terms of per capita incomes if it had
continued the economic policies of 1960s.
A country’s economic outcomes depend upon a host of factors (a) Initial
resource endowment; (b) External environment; (c) Strategy and policy
framework; (d) Administration capacity; (e) Political stability.
Pakistan inherited a weak resource endowment as the part that
constituted India was relatively advanced in terms of natural, human and physical
resources while the two wings of Pakistan separated by 1,000 miles of Indian
territory were quite backward.
Delivered as the 19th Shoaib Memorial
External environment facing Pakistan in the decade of the 1960s was
mixed. The war of 1965, however, caused immense economic damage to
Pakistan and foreign aid flows did suffer in the post 1965 period.
The strength of the economic performance in this decade can mainly be
explained by the strategy and economic policies pursued during this period, the
efficiency with which these policies were executed due to improvement in
administrative capacity and the political continuity and stability that prevailed until
late 1968.
------------
Economic policies pursued by Ayub-Shoaib administration in the 1960s
were outward-oriented, liberal and supportive of the private sector. State played
a facilitating and enabling role by providing incentives, supplying infrastructure
(particularly in irrigated agriculture), institutions and technology. Macroeconomic
management was sound and prudent and fiscal and external balances were
managed well. Inflation remained in check and the annual rate of growth in
prices was only 3.3 percent. However, rapid economic growth and
industrialization resulted in income inequalties and regional disparities that had
serious political repercussions subsequently. Social sectors were neglected and
industries for capital goods were not set up. Import substitution strategy had a
positive pay off but also nurtured rent-seeking and pressures for protection
against external competition thus masking the inefficiencies of domestic
industries. Exchange rate policies created distortions and arbitrage
opportunities. But the positive contribution that made Pakistan self-sufficient in
wheat and rice was the adoption and diffusion of Green Revolution technologies
that also helped uplift the living standards of the rural population.
Mayraj said…
From Javed Burki Op Ed in Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/236961/preparing-the-population-for-a-modern-economy/

For a country that now has the reputation of neglecting the development of its vast human resource, it is possible to reach a somewhat different conclusion about the preparedness of the workforce. When the data for the schooling of the young is examined in some detail, and in the context of what is occurring in other countries of South Asia, Pakistan seems well positioned to develop a modern economy. The data used here are from the work done by the economists Robert Baro and Jhong-Wha Lee at Harvard University. Looking at this data, it appears that compared to other large countries of South Asia, Pakistan is doing better in an area that could be tremendously important for its economic and social future.

In 2010, India had 67 per cent of the 15-plus age group in school while Pakistan had 62 per cent. However, it is at the other end of the educational spectrum — what educationists call the tertiary stage — that Pakistan seems to be doing considerably better than other South Asian countries.

In 1950, for India and Pakistan, the proportion of people attending tertiary institutions was 0.6 per cent. Since this has increased to 5.8 per cent for India, a ten-fold increase, and to 5.5 per cent for Pakistan, a nine-fold growth. For Bangladesh, the increase was spectacular, a twenty-fold growth. However, it is the impressive increase for Pakistan that provides the element of surprise.

Pakistan does well in one critical area — the drop-out rate in tertiary education. Those who complete tertiary education in Pakistan account for a larger proportion of persons who enter school at this level. The proportion is much higher for girls, another surprising finding for Pakistan.

With a considerably lower drop-out rate at the tertiary level, it is not surprising that the number of years students spend in school in Pakistan (5.6 years) is higher than that in India (5.1 years) but a bit lower than that for Bangladesh ( 5.8 years). For tertiary education alone, Pakistan’s youth spend more time being educated than those in Bangladesh and India.

It is in the last two decades that the real brake occurred in Pakistan. The proportion of the 15-plus age group receiving tertiary education in Pakistan increased from only 2.4 per cent in 1990 to 5.5 per cent in 2010. The proportion of students completing tertiary education in Pakistan is 41 per cent higher than that for India. Better performance, when measured in terms of the proportion of the population receiving tertiary education, matters a great deal for the economic future. As Baro and Lee point out, the estimated rate of return is very high for tertiary education, close to 18 per cent. This is only 10 per cent for secondary education and almost zero for primary education. The state, by only concentrating on primary education, is not buying a better future for the citizenry. It must make it possible to develop tertiary education as well.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Washington Post story titled "Pakistan's Only True Living Hero" about Abdus Sattar Edhi:

His name is Abdul Sattar Edhi. He is a legend in Pakistan, where he has been hailed as a Mahatma Gandhi and Father Teresa — and denounced as an infidel, communist and madman. In a patronage-based nation where wealth and bluster often pass for leadership and cruelty is more common than mercy, he may be Pakistan’s only true living hero.

I first found my way to Edhi’s office in the summer of 2010. I knew little of him then, except that he had founded a free ambulance service for the public. At the scene of every train crash or terrorist bombing, Edhi Foundation ambulances always rushed about. I knew many Pakistanis admired him, and I had seen photos of an old man with the flowing white beard of a wise elder or a Muslim cleric.

I was not expecting the slyly subversive and cranky octogenarian who sat at his desk under a portrait of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He didn’t say much at first, but he handed me some photographs of a tiny girl with gashes in her face. She had been found in a garbage pit, partly eaten by dogs, and was rescued by his volunteers. Later she was sent abroad for surgery and adopted by a family in Canada.

“Some people strangle illegitimate children. Others just dump them to die. We believe there is no such thing as an illegitimate person,” Edhi said. Indeed, he had spent 40 years helping social outcasts, from unwanted infants to the unclaimed dead. He had opened programs for abandoned girls, AIDS patients and senile shut-ins. Far more than an ambulance service, it was a philosophy.

I asked whether he was a religious man, and he shook his head. “My religion is humanity. It is the only religion that matters,” he said. This was a startling statement to hear in an Islamic republic. Later, I learned that some Muslim clerics had banned mosques from helping Edhi, but that admirers greeted him as “maulana sahib,” a term of religious respect.

There were other contradictions: Edhi was the product of a prominent business clan, but he had been drawn early to a humbler calling. After serving briefly in Parliament, he grew disillusioned with politics and rejected organized charity as placating rather than empowering the poor. In the 1960s, he turned full-time to his fledgling mission in the slums.

“I decided not to knock on the door of the industrialists and the landlords, because they are the root cause of all our social problems,” he told me. “The rich have deprived the people of their rights, and the state does not take responsibility for their welfare. It is my dream to build a welfare state in Pakistan, but I have not seen it come in my lifetime.”
--------
He is not an easy man to be around, demanding that his acolytes give up even small luxuries. Yet his army of volunteers and ambulance drivers, some rescued from lost lives, revere him, and Bilquis, after four decades at his side, remains his tireless partner and ally.

Edhi, ever the crusader, still dreams of building a modern welfare state that will be at least another generation in the making, but his wife’s greatest joy is in saving one child at a time, and in pampering brides whom no one in Pakistan would once have thought fit to marry.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/pakistans-only-true-living-hero/2011/08/24/gIQAj6cRgJ_story_1.html
Riaz Haq said…
The number of children under five who die each year has plummeted from 12 million in 1990, to 7.6 million last year, according to Child Mortality Report 2011 prepared by UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

About 21,000 children are still dying every day from preventable causes.

India leads the under-5 death toll with 1.7 million deaths, followed by Nigeria 861K, Dem Rep of Congo 465K, Pakistan 423K, China 315K, Ethiopia 271K and Afghanistan 191K.

In terms of deaths per 1000 live births, Pakistan is still at 87, compared with Bangladesh 48 and India 63.

Pakistan's rate of child mortality decline at 1.8% a year between 1990 and 2010 is among the slowest in the world, compared with 3% in India and an impressive 5.5% in Bangladesh.

Burkina Faso at 176 deaths per 1000 live births, Angola 161, Afghanistan 149, and Nigeria 143 are among the highest in the world.

http://www.unicef.org/media/files/Child_Mortality_Report_2011_Final.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt from an interesting Op Ed in Foreign Policy Mag by Mosharraf Zaidi on Memogate:

...On both ends of the political spectrum in Pakistan, memogate will inspire high-strung, virtuoso performances, dripping with both the intellect and emotion that are signs of a people fully alive to the state of their country and the challenges it faces. Some will be appalled that someone (allegedly) sought an improved civil-military balance through cloak-and-dagger means. Some will be appalled that an attempt to fix this balance may force an elected government to toe the line of unelected soldiers and spies.

But ultimately, the vibrancy of Pakistani discourse is a good sign: Despite the menacing insecurity and instability that so many Pakistanis have endured in recent years, we can still have a robust, frank discussion about our problems.

Yet, as memogate consumes the national attention, three other robust debates are taking place across the country -- and they are just as important. In Sindh, the spiritual and political epicenter of the ruling PPP, a debate rages over what model of local government should be applied to the Pakistani megacity of Karachi. In Punjab, a province with a population of 90 million, the surging popularity of retired cricket star Imran Khan and his nationalist Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party have captivated the national imagination with a message of hope for the future. Perhaps most heartening of all, in the Pakistani capital Islamabad this week, the much-maligned parliament, the most formal and most supreme of national institutions, just approved the Anti-Women Practices Bill of 2011, which bans and criminalizes many of the medieval customs that have so often enabled a systemic violation of women's rights. This is how politics is supposed to work, in a country where for decades it has not. ...
------------
Luckily, Pakistan is a big, and surprisingly resilient country. It can absorb mistakes. The accumulated mistakes of recent years have conspired to create some valuable points of national consensus. Pakistan's independent judiciary is not the only accessible example. Even when it comes to memogate, there is a rough consensus out there. Among even the most extreme partisans, no one has argued against the need to address and resolve the civil-military imbalance.

No one has argued that our institutions are particularly strong. No one will dare advocate that individuals should again be allowed to run government on a whim. In the deafening cacophony of dissent generated by the cutthroat, 24-hour news media in Pakistan, it is vital to remember just how much Pakistanis agree on.


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/11/18/the_silver_lining_in_memogate
Riaz Haq said…
The World Bank on Thursday said it would provide Pakistan with $5.5 billion in development aid over the next two years, according to AFP:

“The Bank has responded flexibly in the face of the tremendous challenges Pakistan has gone through over the past year or so,” said its Pakistan country director Rachid Benmessaoud.

“We will continue our strong support to Pakistan, while keeping a keen eye on implementation to ensure that these efforts translate into real results on the ground,” he said.

The bank’s progress report on its Pakistan program said its efforts had been disrupted over the past two years by the devastating floods of 2010-2011, ongoing security problems as well as “slow economic reform”.

“Shifting the focus and resources in response to the floods led to a delay in infrastructure investments,” it said.

It said Pakistan’s economic recovery from the floods and other problems remains slow, with growth of 3.9 percent expected next year.

“A range of governance, corruption and business environment indicators suggest that these areas remain a challenge,” it added.

The funds include $4 billion in development assistance and $1.5 billion from the bank’s International Finance Corporation, which helps private sector firms.

“We are committed to helping Pakistan realize its potential especially in key sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy and agribusiness,” said IFC Middle East director Mouayed Mahlouf

http://tribune.com.pk/story/310881/world-bank-sets-5-5-billion-in-aid-for-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a review of "Back to Pakistan: A 50 Years Journey" by Leslie Noyes Mass, a US Peace Corp volunteer:

Mass discovered a significantly different country: more education for young children, an exploding population, and a country not nearly as friendly to the United States as it was when she was there years ago. I wouldn’t call any of these changes a great surprise, yet I found Back to Pakistan totally engaging for the contrasts I have already mentioned—plus the mirroring of some of the experiences I encountered as a volunteer in Nigeria.
------------
Shift to 2009. Mass returns to Pakistan with several others, including people who were in the Peace Corps all those years ago. She’s been teaching for decades, earned a doctorate in early and middle school education, and retired from her job as director of an educational program at Ohio Wesleyan University. She’s a pro, accustomed to training teachers, which she and her friends will do in Pakistan for several months. They have been successful with making arrangements with The Citizens Foundation (TCF), a private organization that has set up several hundred schools across the country since the government-sponsored schools are sadly lacking. TCF has had major successes in the country, largely because of its curriculum and the dedication of its teachers who are women only.

Mass, thus, in 2009 is part volunteer, part educational expert, part tourist, keenly attuned to all the differences in the country from the first time she worked there. The activities with TCF are totally professional, and instantly rewarding. But it is an incident related to her by Ateed Riaz, one of the organization’s founding directors, that is most revealing to Mass (and to this reader), providing the context for the country’s education and development: “A friend of mine went to the city of Medina and went to a woman squatting on the floor selling something. He negotiated with her, but she would not sell to him. She said, ‘If you like it, buy it from that other tradeswoman. I will not sell it to you.’ So he got a local to come and talk to her in her own language. She talked to the local and explained that she had already sold enough that day and that other woman had not yet sold any, so I should buy from her. The message is clear: We need to help each other."


http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/30/pakistan-fifty-years-later/
Riaz Haq said…
Here are some of the lyrics of political song by Wasu, a Baloch from a remote village in Balochistan, and Pakistani singer-song writer Shehzad Roy:

Apne Ulloo Lyrics
[Wassu]
Quaid-e-Azam aya angrezo ko bhagaya
Pakistan banaya teera maah chalaya
Ziarat ke dourey par aya maut ne isko bulaya
Dunya aakhir fani chor dya usko
Jani sacha tha Pakistani
Karachi mein dafnaya poora dunya aya
phoolon ka chadar chadaya
phir noton par photo aya
goro ko tune bhagya
Quaid-e-Azam ke baad baba jo bhi aata hai
apna ulloo seedha karta hai

[Shehzad Roy]
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Liaquat Ali Khan aya usko aamro ne marwaya
Iskandar Mirza aya usne nahin chalaya
General Ayub Khan aya marital law lagaya
Mirza ko bahadur banaya
1965 ka jang laraya Shastri ko maar bhagaya
Aisa sabak seekha moo tod jawab dilaya
[Nehr] bhi banwaya isne bhi nahin chalaya
Sir baad mein aya Yahya Khan adha Pakistan ganwaya
Fauj ko qaid karwaya Bangladesh chinaya
Isne bhi nahin chalaya

[Shehzad Roy]
Taale, waadey, signal, dil sabkuch toda kuch nahin choda
kuch nahin choda
Do number kaamon mein bhi hum number two
hum number two
Kar Allah hoo
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Bhutoo sahab jab aya aisa nizam chalaya
Pehle qaidy chudaya zameen takseem karwaya
Haari aur mazdooro ko dilwaya
Miloo ko taala lagwaya one unit toodwaya
Sarkari khatam karaya roti kapre ka nara lagaya
Sarmayadaro ne socha isse kabhi na hoga
mansooba banaya Zia-ul-Haq mangwaya bhutto ko qaid karwaya
Kasuri ka case chalaya suli par latqaya
Sir Marshal Law lagaya Junejo ko mangwaya Wazeer-e-Azam banaya
Usko mazool karwaya referendum karaya Khud ko bhi chunwaya
Bhutto ko bhi bhagaya court mein tune lagaya jailon mein bandh karwaya
11 saal chalaya

[Shehzad Roy]
koi rule nahin hai rule yehi yeh baat sahi taariq ne ki
taariq ne ki
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Rangeene ne Rang dikhaya Jaahaz uska giraya Islamabad dafnaya
Ghulam Ishaq Khan aya mehangayi ko bharhaya 500rs bori aate ka bharhaya
Ghareebo ko bhookh maraya aik saal PPP ko diya usko mazool kya
Nawaz Sharif ko mangaya wazeer-e-azam banwaya uksko mazool karwaya
Moin Qureshi aya emandari nibhaya vote jald karwaya
Fauj ko bulwaya dhandhali se bachaya jeet gya hai PPP
Benazir jab aya bijli aur gas dilwaya thoda tankha barhaya
Farooq ko sadar banaya siyasi chakar aya farooq ko gussa aya
Assemblies khatam karwaya nigrah wazeer bhitaya
Nishan tha jiska cheetah Nawaz Sharif ne jeeta
Aaane mein aaya 300 tankha barhaya
Bhai logo ko danda chadhaya aathwi tarmeem khatam karaya
Aate ki kilat karwaya Aik peice PAKISTAN ka America se atta karwaya
Soobha Baluchistan ke zilah Chagi mein aitamy dhamaka karwaya
Pervez Musharaff aya Nawwz sharif ko hataya aghwah ka kais chalwaya
100 takhwa barhaya karzey wapis karwaya Nawaz Sharif ko qaid sunwaya
mulk badar bhi karwaya aisa kaam karwaya ke tarar ko tune bhagaya
khud ko tune sadar banaya referendum karwaya khud ko jeetaya
intekhabad karwaya Jamali sahab ko wazeer-e-azam banwaya
Jamali ne jurat aur bahaduri yehi dikhaya ke apna mohallah azad karwaya

[Shehzad Roy]
Sab hazm kiya sab khatam kya hum phir denge woh kaahe ge
Hum peeche hai hat jaye to backing to gayi voting bhi gayi
voting bhi gayi
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Shehzad Roy ne gaana banaya kisi ko samaj na aya
Angelina Jolie aya baba sab ko samaj aya


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiExJqEQQ7M
Riaz Haq said…
Here are highlights of a presentation on Pakistan's cement manufacturing sector:

Beginning with just 500,000 tons in 1947, Pakistan's cement production almost tripled from 16 million tons in 2000 to 44 million tons in 2010.

At 145 Kg per person, Pakistan's cement consumption is up from 75 Kg in 2003, but still about half of the world per capita consumption average of 270 Kg.

http://www.slideshare.net/msaadafridi/cement-industry-of-pakistan
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani political parties campaigning in FATA for the first time in history, reports Miami Herald:

For the first time ever, political parties have started campaigning for votes in the militant-infested tribal areas of Pakistan that border Afghanistan, ahead of a general election likely within the next 12 months.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in August lifted a 64-year ban on political party activity in the seven federally administered tribal areas, saying the reforms would help defeat the "militant mindset" there.

However, the politicians leading party campaigns in the tribal areas fear that intimidation by the Taliban and human rights abuses by Pakistani security authorities could make a free and fair election virtually impossible.

In the tribal areas, "there is no political government, but one run by the security authorities ... who are responsible for the widespread disappearances of residents suspected of involvement in the insurgency," said Maulana Rahat Hussain, a former senator.

"As long as power remains delegated to them, the democratic process won't work," he said.

Hussain is leading electioneering in the tribal areas for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, or JUI. The country's most popular religious party, the JUI is a former ally of the Pakistani Taliban that broke with the group when it launched an insurgency in 2007. The Taliban subsequently started suicide attacks against the party's leadership, killing several prominent cleric-politicians, and only just missing its chief, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman.

The JUI has held political rallies across the tribal areas over the last two weeks, including one at Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban insurgents.

The mountainous Dattakhel area neighboring Mir Ali is also a haven for fugitive al Qaida leaders and has been a focal point of U.S. drone strikes since 2009.

Hussain said the Taliban distributed pamphlets in the area warning residents not to attend the rally in Mir Ali and threatened him personally. Photographs of JUI cleric-politicians in the company of women in fancy clothes — taken at a wedding — were also distributed in an attempt to defame them among their conservative base, he added.

Nonetheless, the JUI rally attracted an estimated 15,000 tribesmen, local journalists said.

JUI candidates — contesting as independents because of the ban on parties — won National Assembly seats in North Waziristan and neighboring South Waziristan in 1997 and 2008, the first elections held in the tribal areas in which all adults were allowed to vote. In practice, however, that meant only that males could vote, because tribal traditions prevented women from casting ballots.

Despite Zardari's reforms, the estimated 5 million residents of the region are still governed largely by 19th century British colonial laws and don't enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed by Pakistan's constitution.

Most power remains in the hands of administrators known as political agents, who enforce law and order through tribal and clan councils that, in turn, are collectively responsible for the areas they live in. The agents use paramilitary forces to punish the clans and tribes, often by levying massive fines, demolishing homes and barring them access to settled areas of Pakistan, politicians said.

The reforms have set up an appeals process for residents to contest abuses, but only to a tribunal headed by a senior civil servant. They continue to have no access to Pakistan's Supreme Court — which would leave politicians no legal recourse to contest voting irregularities, secular parties said.........


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/30/2615874/parties-campaign-in-pakistans.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an example of "the worst 5% of Pakistan story" getting 95% of coverage:

The adage that you can't judge a book by its cover is apparently not true in the case of Pakistan. Consider the following top ten recently published books on Pakistan: (1) Pakistan: Beyond the crisis state ; (2) Playing with fire: Pakistan at war with itself . (3) The unraveling: Pakistan in the age of jihad ; (4) Pakistan on the brink ; (5) Pakistan: Eye of the storm ; (6) Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the future of global jihad ; (7) Fatal Fault Lines: Pakistan, Islam and the West ; ( 8) Pakistan: the most dangerous place in the world ; (9) Pakistan Cauldron: conspiracy, assassination and instability ; (9) Pakistan: The scorpion's tail ; (10) Pakistan: terrorism ground zero.

To top it all, The Future of Pakistan, which is a collection of essays by noted Pakistan-hands, makes bold to provoke the debate of "Whither" Vs "Whether" Pakistan.

Pakistan is wracked by ten major crises. (1) Crisis of Economy - this is characterised by stagflation, dependency, resource scarcity and mass impoverishment. (2) Crisis of Education - this is characterised by the Madrassah challenge, jihad indoctrination, English- Urdu apartheid. (3) Crisis of Urbanisation - this is characterised by slum development, criminalisation, ethnic warfare. (4) Crisis of Demography - this is characterised by a youth bulge, religious conservatism and class volatility. (5) Crisis of Foreign Policy - this is characterised by conflict, isolation and estrangement. (6) Crisis of terrorism and radicalisation - this is characterised by Islamic extremism, violent sectarianism and ethnic separatism. (7) Crisis of Civil-Military Relations - this is characterised by military domination and civilian incapacity. (8) Crisis of Political System and Governance - this is characterised by corruption, incompetence and autocracy. (9) Crisis of Law and Order - this is characterised by stateorgan failure and constitutional gridlock. (10) Crisis of Identity - this is characterised by tension between notions of Nation- State vs Pan- Islamism, being primarily Pakistani Vs Muslim, and having South Asian Vs Middle-Eastern roots.



Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/the-pakistani-state-is-staring-at-a-dark-abyss/1/185216.html
Riaz Haq said…
There's a report in ET claiming research at UAF that Pakistanis are now 4 in shorter than in 1960s.

This finding does not appear to be credible.

All anecdotal evidence suggests that most Pakistani children are growing up to be taller than their parents. All one has to do is keep one's eyes open & observe.

The average height in Pakistan of 20 yrs old males is now 5' 6" vs 5' 4" in India. If one is to believe this "research", then one must also believe that the avg height in Pakistan in 1960s was 5' 10'' which is simply untrue based on all known evidence, anecdotal or otherwise.

In addition, if worsening malnutrition were indeed an issue, the life expectancy in Pakistan would not have doubled since independence. Published data shows that life expectancy in Pakistan has jumped from 32 years in 1947 to 67 years in 2009, and per Capita inflation-adjusted PPP income has risen from $766 in 1948 to $2603 in 2009.


http://www.interbasket.net/news/4385/2009/09/average-height-by-country-males-20-years/

http://tribune.com.pk/story/375257/height-of-pakistanis-has-fallen-4-inches-over-50-years-say-experts/
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's private health care spending rises to $7.3 billion, reports Express Tribune:

Pakistanis are increasingly spending more on health, with spending rising to a total of Rs665 billion in 2011, up 14.5% over the previous year, according a to research report released by Business Monitor International (BMI), a UK-based research and consulting firm.

Within the overall sector, the largest in terms of total spending was that of hospitals and other healthcare facilities, which saw their total revenues rise to Rs456 billion in 2011, up 14.1% from the year before. The fastest growing segment was medical devices, which saw sales rise 18.1% to Rs35.5 billion. Pharmaceuticals grew a little slower, at 13.1%, to reach Rs173 billion in gross sales in Pakistan.

There are also several developments taking place within the sector that are likely to allow for even further expansion, according to BMI analysts.

In August 2011, the Drug Registration Board (DRB) approved the registration of 30 medical devices and 210 medicines after a meeting was held at the request of the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who called for the uninterrupted provision of medicines to patients. Products approved for registration included vaccines, biologicals, cancer therapeutics, drugs for the treatment of blood disorders such as thalassaemia, and devices used in cardiac procedures.

BMI points out that there are many reasons why investors, particularly those outside the country may want to consider investing in this sector. “Pakistan has one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia, with a commitment to low tariffs and 100% foreign equity permitted,” said BMI analysts in the report.

The analysts also note that Pakistan’s rapidly growing population – currently closing in on 190 million – should also be considered an asset. “A growing population is feeding increased demand for pharmaceuticals.”
------------
Pakistan’s overall business environment gets a poor rating from BMI, which ranks the economy 16th out of the 18 economies that it tracks in the Asia-Pacific region. The only two economies behind Pakistan are Sri Lanka and Cambodia. “The business environment still suffers from poor infrastructure and, most problematically, an uncertain security situation that has declined considerably since March 2007,” said BMI analysts.

In addition, there are several structural challenges to the Pakistani healthcare industry itself that have little to do with the external environment of Pakistan that they operate in. “Procurement processes are bureaucratic and often lack transparency, raising the risks of corruption,” said BMI in its report.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/384773/money-and-doctors-private-healthcare-spending-in-pakistan-rises-to-7-3-billion/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt from "The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence" by Anthony Read:

The affair of the printing press highlighted the biggest problem being faced by Pakistan. India, which had finally been recognized by the British government as the successor state on 17 June after further pressure from Mountbatten, would simply take over a going concern with everything in place. Pakistan, on the other hand, would be starting from scratch without any established administration, without armed forces, without records, without equipment or military stores.

As early as 9 May, during his stay in Simla with Nehru, Mountbatten had admitted the problem. "What are we doing?" he had asked then. "Administratively, it's the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut, or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are putting up a tent".


http://books.google.com/books?id=q9ebuSG64dkC&pg=PA468&lpg=PA468&dq=mountbatten+pakistan+tent+nissen&source=bl&ots=XyTeE-ehA0&sig=kleWlYGRLYziLqh3GejR_KQtm3Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9cgEUYq3IcTmiwKwq4DwDA&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=mountbatten%20pakistan%20tent%20nissen&f=false
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Time magazine article on literature flourishing in "troubled Pakistan":

Salman Rushdie was recently asked for his opinion on contemporary Indian fiction. The celebrated novelist surveyed the landscape for his interviewer, offering nods of approval to what is now a well-established range of Indian writing in English. But it wasn’t as attractive as what was happening across the border. “I actually think,” Rushdie said, “that the Pakistani stuff is more interesting.”

Thirty years ago, Rushdie published Shame, still considered one of the finest novels on Pakistan, and one that narrowly missed out on the Booker Prize. For much of that time, there was only the occasional novel written in English from Pakistan. Now, as Rushdie noted, there’s “the sense of a sudden explosion.”

As the world’s attention has been drawn to Pakistan’s problems with Islamist militancy in recent years, a flurry of exciting new voices have stepped forward to share with their readers a more intimate and rounded look at the country and its people — winning many plaudits along the way. Mohsin Hamid was recently described by the New York Times as, “one of his generation’s most inventive and gifted writers.” Nadeem Aslam’s latest novel, The Blind Man’s Garden, was praised in the Guardian as a product of “grace, intelligence and rare authenticity.”

This past month, Pakistani novelists writing in English also had the opportunity to meet readers from their own country at two different literary festivals in the largest cities of Karachi and Lahore. “For a while now we’ve had issues with public events,” says novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif. “I guess weddings are the only things that really happen in public now. Music concerts have mostly disappeared. Other festivals are less well attended.” The literary festivals in Karachi and Lahore, adds Hanif, offer a rare occasion for “people to get out of their houses and go and talk about books.”

The two cities, with a combined population approaching 30 million, are also suffused in a rich cultural history. It would be difficult to pull off similar events in relatively soulless cities like Dubai, Singapore, or even Islamabad. “There is the requisite infrastructure here, engaged audiences, and a critical mass of novelists and poets that reside in each city,” says novelist H.M. Naqvi, the prize-winning author of Home Boy. “I expected large audiences. I expected energy.”

Strikingly, the festivals attracted thousands of young school and college students who had eagerly consumed the books and were brimming with questions for their authors. In Karachi, Hamid met a young man who handed over a missive composed by himself and two other friends. The trio, from the southern Punjabi town of Rahim Yar Khan, had pooled money together for one of them to make the several-hour-long bus journey to Karachi. The letter carried seriously worded instructions for the novelist. “We loved the sex-and-drugs scenes in Moth Smoke,” they wrote to Hamid, referring to his first novel. “We want to read more of this stuff.”


http://world.time.com/2013/03/04/pakistans-literary-festivals-a-showcase-for-a-different-view-of-the-troubled-country/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a PakistanToday story on Pakistan Academy of Letters:

The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) has published translation of several literary works in English and other international languages to promote Urdu and other regional languages.

The 340 pages text includes translation of literary writings in Urdu, Punjabi, Potohari, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Brahvi, and Khowari. The publication also includes work of Pakistani writers in English. Noon Meem Rashid’s poem “Hasan Kooza Gar” is translated into English, Arabic, French, Turkish, and Chinese.

The publication was unveiled by PAL Chairman Abdul Hameed in an event held at PAL’s Writer’s House.

This anthology represents various genres including prose, poetry, article, column and poetry. The publication is divided into sections based on the languages. The separators are designed by renowned artist Jamal Shah while the book jacket is designed by another art giant Dr Ajaz Anwar.

While talking to the Pakistan Today, PAL Director General Zaheer-ud-Din Malik said, “It is one of PAL’s main responsibilities to translate Pakistani literature into international languages.” We want to hand out this publication to ambassadors and foreign missions for helping them explore the real face of Pakistani society, he added. Malik said the only 500 copies of the publication were printed due to lack of resources but it would help us promote our mission.

PAL has also been unable to complete the Faiz Ahmed Faiz Auditorium due to lack of funds. The auditorium was due to be inaugurated on Faiz’s 100th birthday in February 2011.


http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/04/24/city/islamabad/pal-publishes-pakistani-literature-in-international-languages/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a New York Books Review piece on recent Lahore Literature Festival:

Rarely has an event framed around books and ideas felt so urgent. A few weekends ago, a group of writers, artists, and editors gathered in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab heartland, to defend the written word. People turned up from every part of the country to hear them—Karachi and Islamabad, but also Balochistan and the remote tribal regions along the Afghan frontier. Sometimes filling the aisles and stairways of the three venues where the gathering was held, they listened to debates on everything from the future of the novel to the future of Pakistan.

In an age in which international literary festivals have become commonplace, there is very little ordinary about the Lahore LitFest, starting with the location. “PK! What are you doing there?” a US immigration official wondered, when I set out from New York. My barber asked me if I had a bullet-proof vest. Even in the Middle East, in places that have plenty of tension of their own, a Pakistani destination seems to raise red flags. “It would be a shame if you got yourself kidnapped,” an Arab journalist who covers political unrest told me, during a visit to the Arabian Peninsula two days before my journey on to Lahore.

To anyone who has actually been there, such reactions may seem grossly unfair. With a sizable liberal elite, a strong tradition in publishing and the arts, and an old city filled with extraordinary Mughal architecture, Lahore arguably has more in common with the leading cities of India and Europe than with the dark image of Pakistan shown almost daily in the news. The city’s best-known institutions of learning are not jihadist-grooming madrasas but humanistic and secular; consider the National College of Arts, the country’s premier art and design school, which began under British rule in the nineteenth century, with Rudyard Kipling’s father as its first principal.
-------------
And then there was Ardeshir Cowesjee (1926–2012), the legendary Karachi columnist who might more accurately have been described as a one-man shadow government. A wealthy businessman from the Zoroastrian religious minority, Cowesjee fearlessly exposed the corruption and mismanagement of Pakistan’s political class in a weekly column that not infrequently brought him death threats. As Karachi descended into violence and gang warfare in recent years, he continuously attacked the dirty real estate dealings, incompetent governance, decaying municipal services, and rising intolerance that were driving it. During a lively debate about his legacy, the power went out, and the panelists kept talking until someone lit the stage with an iPhone.
-----------
Even so, the theme of the discussion was “War on Culture,” a worldwide drama in which many Pakistanis view the US as arch malefactor. (I took part in the panel, along with Ahmed Rashid, the novelist Vikram Seth, and the Indian heritage expert Naman Ahuja.) When a gentleman who identified himself as hailing from South Waziristan protested that the US could never rectify the cultural destruction it had caused in the Middle East, the house erupted in applause. Taking the microphone, the ambassador, now sitting in the front row, stood up to respond. The crowd went quiet. He conceded the mistakes made by the previous US administration; he said that he and the current administration were committed to doing more to defend Pakistan’s heritage. It brought some applause of its own. Thus ended the festival, with Waziristan and Washington coming to some kind of temporary truce.


http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/12/different-pakistan/?insrc=wbll
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a NY Times Op Ed by Bina Shah on Karachi Literature Festival:

KARACHI, Pakistan — On the banks of the luminous China Creek, overlooking old mangrove swamps and the shipping cranes at the port, more than 50,000 people flocked to this year’s Karachi Literature Festival, held annually in February when the flowers bloom, the weather is temperate and the city feels alive with possibility.

The festival, featuring panel discussions, book promotions, debates, music and theatrical performances, has established itself as a safe space to discuss not just literature and the arts but also politics, history and society at a time when plurality of opinion is not always welcome in Pakistan.

A new Sindh Festival, also held in February, offered another approach to Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. This extravaganza was a brainchild of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari; it included a concert, art show, film festival, fashion show and horse-and-cattle show. Its aim was to showcase Pakistan’s “softer image,” in the distinctly political hope that by stimulating cultural pride, Pakistanis, especially the young, could be persuaded to reject militancy and religious extremism.

Two wars are being fought in Pakistan: a military one against the violence of religious extremists, and a psychological and emotional one to resist a more insidious change in society itself — the growth of intolerance, a drift toward the right and a decline in room for cultural, religious, ethnic or social diversity. This shrinkage of public space, or Talibanization, as the social scientist Ayesha Siddiqa puts it, is not violence itself, but creates support for “ideas which eventually feed violence.”

Talibanization has spread virally, thanks to right-wing talk shows, newspaper columns and social media. It silences debate about the role of religion, branding anyone who advocates secular democracy an atheist. For example, it whipped up a campaign against the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage campaigner for education for girls who was severely wounded in an assassination attempt; earlier this year, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government banned the book from private school curriculums. The proponents of Talibanization denigrate women’s rights activists as “NGO workers in tight jeans” and harass young men and women at universities who try to spend time together.
----------
Some 60,000 schoolchildren attended the Karachi Children’s Literature Festival last month. They listened to storytellers, participated in interactive art and music sessions, and attended debuts of graphic novels that captured the lives of “azeem” (great) Pakistanis: Begum Raa’na Liaqat Ali Khan, who championed women’s rights; Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a poet and activist; Hakeem Said, a scholar and philanthropist assassinated in 1998.

The battle for Pakistanis’ hearts and minds will be as tough as the one for sovereignty and territory. But the message will spread best when it’s free from political manipulation or overt assertions of national or civic pride. The children at the festival weren’t asked to choose between extremism and peace; they were left to enjoy themselves, to clap and cheer, to sing and dance. Experiences like these, organic and unforced, will win the cultural wars in Pakistan — if they are encouraged to flourish on the strength of unifying, not divisive, narratives and values that we all share.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/19/opinion/shah-pakistans-culture-wars.html
Riaz Haq said…
Dawn on Humans of New York Facebook coverage of Pakistan:

I was bowled over by this innocent question posed to me on a recent trip to New York. There was so much I wanted to tell this man to clarify, to explain that there was no hatred; that my country was a far cry from the images shown on TV. I wanted to tell him about the music, the love, the food, the people.

But in that one moment, I was tongue-tied, not knowing how to condense the diversity of this land into a few sentences. I finally managed to mumble something, but I've often since felt guilty of not projecting abroad, my country and all the love it held, the way I should have.

Hence, the utter delight at learning that “Humans of New York” was coming to Pakistan. The moment I read this news, I jumped up and down like a three-year-old for ice-cream. I had been an avid follower of this page for the last couple of years; its stories are about real people, with circumstances that are similar to ours that we connect with.

It made me fall in love with the people of New York. I, and many others, would read these stories and feel the boundaries fading – all I saw were amazing human beings.

I also felt a wave of relief wash over me when I learned of Brandon's visit. The guilt of not being able to express myself to that man in New York slowly receded. Now* I thought, we'd have the words to truly express ourselves.

And, then we did. The stories started pouring in.

Stories of love, labour, humour, hardship all morphed into beautiful pictures and words. Deep in my heart, I felt like an apprehensive mother, one who has trained and nurtured her only child for all these years, and is finally about to present him to the world. I am sure millions of other Pakistanis felt the same.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1198762
Riaz Haq said…
Swedish professor and TED talk phenomenon Hans Rosling has slammed the media for being 'ignorant and arrogant' and failing to see the big picture with regard to developments in a world which, he argued, is moving in a positive direction.
A new video of the swashbuckling Swede whose straight-talking upbeat missives about the state of the world have made statistics sing off the page, has gone viral in the wake of this week's tragic news of the death of a Syrian toddler on a Turkish beach.

The Danish news presenter is left speechless as Rosling explained that the message sent out by the global media of a divided world in crisis is failing to inform the public of the bigger (more positive) picture.
"You can't trust the news outlets if you want to understand the world. If you think that the majority of the world population is very poor and if you believe that the girls don't attend school, and that all of these people are trying to flee to wealthier countries, then you don't understand anything," he told broadcaster DR.
He cites the example of Nigeria as a case where a successful transition of power in a recent democratic election has been overshadowed by news of atrocities committed by Boko Haram.
"You can chose to only show my shoe, which is very ugly, but that is only a small part of me. If you choose to only show my face then that is another part of me," Rosling argued.
Rosling presented several indicators such as birthrates which are no longer growing, the widespread use of contraception and an increasing number of girls attending school, to argue that the world outside the borders of the western world is developing positively and that war and conflict is only a small part of the bigger picture.
When challenged for the source of his facts, Rosling replied:
"Statistics from The International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, nothing controversial."
"These facts are not up for discussion. I am right, and you are wrong," he concluded.

http://www.thelocal.se/20150905/hans-rosling-you-cant-trust-the-media
Riaz Haq said…
What makes Pakistan resilient
By Tariq MahmudPublished: November 2, 2015


Anatol Lieven and Christophe Jaffrelot, two distinguished writers, in their copious research over time, have taken their readers through the chequered chronicles of Pakistan’s history. Their writings on Pakistan are marked with recurring manifestations of violence and instability, of divergence and divisiveness, of an existential threat still looming large. Both, however, stop short of calling the country a failed or a failing state. According to them, it is the quality of resilience of the state and society that keeps Pakistan afloat.


Over the years, the country has faced acts of terrorism, extremism, sub-nationalist insurgencies and many other challenges, like natural calamities, with societal overlaps providing support to the state’s endeavour to counter them. Resilience, as a phenomenon, has lately been engaging the attention of social scientists. It is a unique capability, which after turbulence and disruption, enables a society to revert to its normal chores. Social receptors, spread over the entirety of societal fabric, respond to the recurring threats with innate spontaneity while the key organs, on balance, continue to retain their basic elements and functionality. The virtue of resilience is not something unique to Pakistan. It is found in other societies as well as it is a normal behavioural response in the face of sudden, mounting odds. What distinguishes Pakistan from the rest is that despite exceptional odds peculiar to the country, there is innate strength with a measure of efficacy in our fallback options. Pakistan is the only country in the post-Second World War era, which suffered a violent disintegration within 24 years of its existence at a scale never known till that point in history. Despite the fissiparous tendencies, the country has existed for over four decades as a compact state with a sense of history and a vision for the future.

Pakistan’s real and perceived vulnerabilities have been attributed to our relatively weak political traditions; these are also attributed to our ideological precepts and assumptions. To Pakistan-watchers, a deterministic form of religion, an over-centralised political dispensation and a skewed civil-military relationship explain much of the country’s paradoxes.

However, there could be a counter-view as well. Deterministic Islam, in many ways, offers choice and autonomy to its followers when it comes to its practice. Islam in Pakistan is the state religion but its practice is a privatised affair. There is no central command authority when it comes to religion, with the Auqaf departments only exercising control over a few mosques. It is the khateeb of the mosque who sets the pace. There is no concept of a supreme religious leader vetoing parliamentary decisions. There can be no denying that certain elements have flexed their muscles to appropriate the right to interpret religion as their exclusive preserve. However, thanks to society’s innate resilience, there continues to prevail, a no-win situation for them.
-----

On a larger plank, we may view the separation of East Pakistan, which amongst many other things, was also on account of a lack of shared interdependencies. It was a case of unequal exchange both, in quantitative and qualitative terms that poisoned the relationship between the two wings of Pakistan. The situation in Balochistan, as of today, alludes to the same drift. During the Musharraf era, the province received an exceptionally large allocation in the public sector development programme, but regrettably there was no framework to cultivate a sense of ownership and mutual sharing with the Baloch people. We need to turn latent interdependencies into a living force and a sustained policy framework as a way forward for Balochistan. That is the only way to deepen resilience in that part of Pakistan, which is also our largest province.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/983885/what-makes-pakistan-resilient/
Riaz Haq said…
World's 10 most illiterate #BurkinaFaso #SouthSudan #Afghanistan #Niger #Mali #Chad #Somalia #Ethopia #Guinea #Benin

http://www.care2.com/causes/10-countries-with-the-worst-literacy-rates-in-the-world.html …


Barely anyone — one to two percent of the population — could read in ancient Rome and nobody thought more people should. Now we recognize that literacy is a human right; that being able to read and write is personally empowering and, in a world that relies more and more on technology, simply necessary.

Nonetheless, millions of children, the majority of whom are girls, still never learn to read and write today (pdf). This Sunday, September 8, is International Literacy Day, an event that Unesco has been observing for more than 40 years to highlight how essential literacy is to learning and also “for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy.”

774 million people aged 15 and older are illiterate, an infographic (pdf) from Unesco details. 52 percent (pdf) live in south and west Asia and 22 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. The latter region is where most of the countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are located, according to data from the C.I.A.:

1. Burkina Faso: 21.8 percent of the adults in this West African country are literate.

2. South Sudan: This country in east Africa, which became an independent state in 2011, has a literary rate of 27 percent.

3 Afghanistan: 28.1 percent of this country’s population are literate with a far higher percentage of men (43.1 percent) than women (12.6 percent) able to read.


4. Niger: The ratio of men to women in this landlocked western African country is also lopsided: the literacy rate is 42.9 percent for men, 15.1 percent for women and 28.7 percent overall.

5. Mali: Niger’s neighbor on the west, the literacy rate in Mali is 33.4 percent. 43.1 percent of the adult male population can read and 24.6 percent of the country’s women.

6. Chad: This west African country is Niger’s neighbor on its eastern border; 34.5 percent of its population is literate.

7. Somalia: Long beset by civil war and famine, 37.8 of Somalia’s population is literate. 49.7 percent of the adult male population is literate but only 25.8 percent of adult females.

8. Ethiopia: Somalia’s neighbor to the north, the literacy rate in Ethiopia is 39 percent.

9. Guinea: 41 percent of this west African country’s population is literate. More than half (52 percent) of adult males are literature and only 30 percent of women.

10. Benin: 42.4 percent of Benin in West Africa are literate.

Around the world, two-thirds of adults who are illiterate are female, meaning that there are 493 women unable to read and write.

54 of the 76 million illiterate young women come from nine countries, most in south and west Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and not necessarily those with high rates of adult illiteracy: India (where almost 30 million young women are illiterate), Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, Egypt and Burkina Faso.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's 2nd, 4th & 5th grade girls much more #literate than #India's. #Nepal's girls do best in #literacy tests http://www.thehindu.com/data/article9259221.ece …

Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have stolen a march over India in quality of school education.

Data from new research on female literacy show that India’s school education system is under-performing in terms of quality when compared to its neighbours, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The research studies changes in female literacy over a number of schooling years.

The proportion of women who completed five years of primary schooling in India and were literate was 48 per cent, much less than 92 percent in Nepal, 74 per cent in Pakistan and 54 per cent in Bangladesh.

These findings, which are part of a forthcoming background paper, were released in a blog-post by New York-based International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (or Education Commission) last week. Justin Sandefur, one of the authors of the paper, said, “This is a simple but powerful signal that India’s education system is under-performing.”

The data also revealed that, female literacy rates went up by one to 15 per cent after completing two years of schooling. Corresponding numbers for Pakistan and Nepal were three to 31 per cent and 11 to 47 per cent respectively. “This implies that schooling is roughly twice as productive at generating literacy for women during the early grades in Pakistan when compared to India. Or, it could also mean that Indian schools are much more lenient about promoting students who cannot read,” Mr. Sandefur said.

DHS data

For this research, the authors devised a way to measure the quality of education around the world, with a specific focus on girls, using data from nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) — one of the most comparable data sources on living standards in the developing world. “We used data from all countries with DHS data that included the literacy measure,” Mr. Sandefur said. Around the world, female literacy rates are improving. However, it is not clear if that is because of improvement in school quality, the study says. India ranks low in global indices of female literacy as well. If countries are ranked by the earliest grade at which at least half of the women are literate — a proxy for quality of learning — India ranks 38th among the 51 developing countries for which comparable data is available. Indonesia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania — all rank higher than India. Ghana is placed at the bottom. According to this study, just seven per cent of female students in Ghana can read after attaining their sixth grade.

Over the years, most countries studied made improvements in the number of girls finishing primary school, which should lead to more literate women. But for girls who don’t finish primary school, the trend is not encouraging: researchers found that little to no progress has been made in increasing basic literacy for the girls who drop out. The report notes, “Millions of women have spent multiple years in school and emerged unable to read a simple sentence” and “it’s not getting much better over time.”

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