Saturday, March 23, 2013

Celeberating Pakistan Resolution of 1940

As Pakistanis celebrate Pakistan Day today, March 23, 2013,  there are some who are questioning the founder's wisdom in seeking partition of India to carve out Pakistan as an independent nation.  They do not recognize today's Pakistan as Jinnah's Pakistan. The doubters justifiably point to the rising tide of intolerance and increasing violence and  a whole range of problems and crises Pakistan is facing. Many in the  oppressed Shia community wonder aloud if it was a mistake to demand a separate country for Muslims of undivided India.


 
Wax Statues of Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi in Islamabad

Are the critics correct in their assessment when they imply that Muslims in Pakistan would have been better off without partition? To answer this question, let us look at the following facts and data:

1. Muslims, the New Untouchables in India:

While India maintains its facade of  religious tolerance, democracy and secularism through a few high-profile Muslim tokens among its high officials and celebrities, the ground reality for the vast majority of ordinary Muslims is much harsher.

An Indian government commission headed by former Indian Chief Justice Rajendar Sachar confirms that Muslims are the new untouchables in caste-ridden and communal India. Indian Muslims suffer heavy discrimination in almost every field from  education and housing to jobs.  Their incarceration rates are also much higher than their Hindu counterparts.

According to Sachar Commission report, Muslims are now worse off than the Dalit caste, or those called untouchables. Some 52% of Muslim men are unemployed, compared with 47% of Dalit men. Among Muslim women, 91% are unemployed, compared with 77% of Dalit women. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 46 ca not read or write. While making up 11% of the population, Muslims account for 40% of India’s prison population. Meanwhile, they hold less than 5% of government jobs.

2. Upward Economic Mobility in Pakistan: 

In spite of all of its problems, Pakistan has continued to offer  higher upward economic and social mobility to its citizens over the last two decades than India. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future".

Miles Corak of University of Ottawa calculates that the intergenerational earnings elasticity in Pakistan is 0.46, the same as in Switzerland. It means that a difference of 100%  between the incomes of a rich father and a poor father is reduced to 46% difference between their sons' incomes. Among the 22 countries studied, Peru, China and Brazil have the lowest economic mobility with inter-generational elasticity of 0.67, 0.60 and 0.58 respectively. The highest economic mobility is offered by Denmark (0.15), Norway (0.17) and Finland (0.18).


The author also looked at Gini coefficient of each country and found reasonably good correlation between Gini and intergenerational income elasticity.

 More evidence of upward mobility is offered by recent Euromonitor market research indicating that Pakistanis are seeing rising disposable incomes. It says that there were 1.8 million Pakistani households (7.55% of all households) and 7.9 million Indian households (3.61% of all households) in 2009 with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more. This translates into 282% increase (vs 232% in India) from 1995-2009 in households with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more. Consumer spending in Pakistan has increased at a 26 percent average pace the past three years, compared with 7.7 percent for Asia, according to Bloomberg.

3. East Pakistan Debacle: 

Critics love to point out Pakistan's break-up in 1971 as evidence of failure of Jinnah's Pakistan. They lavish praise on Bangladesh and scold Pakistan as part of the annual ritual a few days before Quaid-e-Azam's birthday every year.

Economic gap between East and West Pakistan in 1960s is often cited as a key reason for the secessionist movement led by Shaikh Mujib's Awami League and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. This disparity has grown over the last 40 years, and the per capita income in Pakistan now stands at more than twice Bangladesh's in 2012 in nominal dollar terms,  higher than 1.6 in 1971.

 Here are some figures from Economist magazine's EIU 2013:

Bangladesh GDP per head: $695 (PPP: $1,830)

Pakistan GDP per head: $1,410 (PPP: $2,960)

Pakistan-Bangladesh GDP per head Ratio: 2.03 ( PPP: 1.62)

4. Poverty, Hunger, Other Socioeconomic Indicators: 

 Pakistan's employment growth has been the highest in South Asia region since 2000, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka in that order, according to a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".


Total employment in South Asia (excluding Afghanistan and Bhutan) rose from 473 million in 2000 to 568 million in 2010, creating an average of just under 800,000 new jobs a month. In all countries except Maldives and Sri Lanka, the largest share of the employed are the low‐end self-employed.


Pakistanis have higher graduation rates in education and suffer lower levels of hunger and poverty than Indians and Bangladeshis.

Pakistanis spend more time in schools and colleges and graduate at a higher rate than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee. Pakistan has seen its human capital grow significantly over the last decade.  With nearly 16% of its population in 25-34 years age group having college degrees, Pakistan is well ahead of India and Indonesia, according to Global Education Digest 2009 published by UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UNESCO data also shows that Pakistan's lead is growing with younger age groups.


Source: Global Education Digest
Barro-Lee Data on Educational Attainment in India and Pakistan
Here is a summary of Barro-Lee's 2010 data in percentage of 15+ age group students who have enrolled in and-or completed primary, secondary and tertiary education:

Education Level.......India........Pakistan

Primary (Total)........20.9..........21.8

Primary (Completed)....18.9..........19.3

Secondary(Total).......40.7..........34.6

Secondary(Completed)...0.9...........22.5

College(Total).........5.8...........5.5

College(Completed).....3.1...........3.9



According to the latest world hunger index rankings, Pakistan ranks 57 while India and Bangladesh are worse at 65 and 68 among 79 countries ranked by International Food Policy Research Institute in 2012.


World Hunger Index 2012


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

 Pakistan ranks well ahead of India and in the middle among 15 similar countries compared by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010).  Other countries in this group include India, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Island, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

Poor Treatment of Minorities:

Clearly, Pakistanis have not lived up to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's vision of a tolerant and democratic Pakistan where the basic rights of all of its citizens, including religious and ethnic minorities, are fully respected. Popular Pakistani columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee put it well when he wrote: "Fortunately for him, Jinnah did not live long enough to see his dream betrayed by men unworthy even to utter his name. He died before total disillusionment could set in (though he had his suspicions that it was on its way) and broke his heart. From what we know of him, he was that rare being, an incorruptible man in all the many varied meanings of the word corruption, purchasable by no other, swayed by no other, perverted by no other; a man of honor, integrity and high ideals. That the majority of his countrymen have been found wanting in these qualities is this country's tragedy."
 
Defying Prophets of Doom and Gloom:

Pakistan finds itself in the midst many serious crises of governance, economy, energy, security, etc. I do think, however, that all of the available and credible data and indicators confirm the fact that Muslims in Pakistan are not only better off than they are elsewhere in South Asia, they also enjoy higher economic and social mobility than their counterparts in India and Bangladesh.

On Pakistan's National Day today, let me remind everyone that Pakistanis have made a habit of proving pessimist pundits wrong. Pakistani state was dismissed as a temporary "tent" and a "nissen hut" at birth by Viceroy Lord Mountbatten in 1947. That same "nissen hut" is now a nuclear power about which Brookings' Stephen Cohen has says as follows:

“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.” 

Here's a video discussion on Pakistan:



Imran Khan's March 23 Jalsa and Musharraf's Return to Pakistan from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Here's a video report on widespread discrimination against Muslims in India:



Muslims in India by desitvonline
 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision of Pakistan

Rising Tide of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslims-New Untouchables in India

Violent Conflict Marks Pakistan's Social Revolution

Economic Mobility in Pakistan

Poverty Across South Asia

Graduation Rates in Pakistan

Introspection of Pakistan's Creation

18 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of an Express Tribune Op Ed on youth vote in Pak elections:

Figures released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) show that a significant proportion of this year’s electorate is made up of people under the age of 35. Nearly half of the 84 million registered voters — 47.8 per cent — are aged between 18 and 35, while 19.77 per cent, or 16.88 million voters, are under the age of 26.

There is no doubt that political parties are aware of this sizeable youth vote and its potential voting power. Perhaps, the most obvious example is Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which has targeted much of its campaigning at young people over the last two years. It has a greater online presence than the other, more established parties, using Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information and engage supporters. PTI campaign material also places emphasis on the concerns of disillusioned youth, pledging to build a better economic environment with more job opportunities. These efforts have been reflected in its pubic rallies, largely populated by young people. While the PTI — a relatively new entrant to the political scene — has an obvious interest in utilising the youth vote to challenge the status quo, the more established parties have also made attempts to court the young. For its part, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has been aggressively encouraging registration for Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC). Without one, you cannot vote and many of the new registrations are expected to be in rural areas where the PPP can rely on support. There is also the fact that along with a CNIC comes eligibility for vote-winning public welfare and loans, which young people can benefit from. Meanwhile, in Punjab, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has given away thousands of free laptops to college students.

It is obvious, then, that the big parties don’t want to miss out on the votes of young people. But how important will this group actually be in deciding the election result? The first thing to note is that no one knows how these voters are going to behave. Many of them — around eight million — are new voters, created when the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 in 2002. There is no guarantee that these newly registered voters will even make it to the polling stations and there isn’t much data available for comparison. The ECP does not collate information on how people have voted according to age group, so it is a mystery what under-35s have done in past elections. Certainly, the influx of new voters didn’t have much impact on the status quo in either the 2002 or 2008 elections. This lack of information makes it difficult to predict the future with any accuracy.
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The political parties may all be engaging with youth when it comes to winning votes, but after the next government has been formed, whoever emerges victorious would do well to focus on the things that will actually keep this young population happy, productive and engaged with society. Rather than free computers or welfare handouts, the only things that will make a difference in the long term are education, economic development and the jobs that go with it.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/525778/pakistans-youth-bulge/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET blog post by Paul Keijzer,a Dutch resident of Karachi:

It has been ten awesome years since I started working and living in Karachi, Pakistan. It’s a strange realisation that I have never lived longer in any other place my whole life.

I arrived in March of 2003.

It was the start of the Iraq war and one can only imagine the concern my parents felt when I told them I was moving to Pakistan. Their apprehension has not faded (they get daily reminders of the horrors that Pakistan is exposed to) but they have now accepted that this is my home.

Obviously I was also quite uneasy at first, and to make matters worse in June 2003 Time Magazine ran a front cover story with the headline:

“Karachi: The world’s most dangerous city.”

The interview inside quoted one of Karachi’s most infamous hit-men. Surprisingly, it was not the interview or the murder statistics that blew me away, it was the fact that even Karachi’s most notorious hit-man had a number of body guards for his own protection.

When I first moved here, driving on MT Khan Road was a short and excruciating version of the Paris – Dakar race. The city would get completely swamped and immobile for days following a refreshing summer rainstorms, and there was just McDonalds at Park Towers for entertainment.

Ten years is a long time and Karachi is a different city now.

Despite all our complaints, the infrastructure of the city has completely transformed and life in Karachi has moved on. It remains a city of extremes, with the newest and most expensive imported cars trading places with camel carts. With high-flying socialites enjoying coffee at the newest hot spot in town and millions of people living from day to day, if not hour to hour, fighting for survival.

However, as a Dutch man I strongly believe in an equitable society where people have similar opportunities and chances, and where success is based on merit.

We live in a country where 100 million people are under the age of 25, all who dream to acquire a branded life style. Sadly, only a small percentage of them have the abilities to do so (50% of the population under 25 can’t read or write). It is a wonder that this social time bomb has not gone off yet.

Ten years living here and I have learned to love this country.

Pakistan is an absolutely amazing place with amazing people. No other country in the world would be able to get back on its feet after the numerous mortal blows it has received.

An example that will always stay in my heart was the reaction to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. In a time of great need, it was humbling to witness the compassion and commitment to help fellow citizens.

I am very optimistic about our future. With our resources, our resourcefulness, the desire to build a better life for our families, our compassion and our love for the country, we will get it right and prosper. We will elect the right leaders that will sort out our governance issues.

We will come together unite, showing the world how magical Pakistan can be, the place that I so dearly call home.

Happy Pakistan Day – Pakistan Zindabad!


http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/16591/celebrating-10-amazing-years-in-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an EdWeek report on Punjab education:

A new book written by Sir Michael Barber explores the education reforms in the Punjab region of Pakistan over the past two years, including their use of vouchers to help encourage more children to enroll in school.

Barber, who was the the head of the British Prime Minister's Delivery Unit and chief adviser to the Secretary of State for Education under Tony Blair, and who is now Pearson's chief education adviser, was pegged to create a plan for bringing about education improvements in the Punjab region by Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the area's chief minister of education, in late 2010. The plan was rolled out in January 2011 and has since been implemented in more than 60,000 schools in the region.

Under the plan, enrollment in schools has increased by 1.5 million students and more than 81,000 new teachers have been hired. Part of the enrollment increase can be traced back to a voucher program which provides the equivalent of U.S. $15 to send children of poor families to participating private schools through the Punjab Education Foundation. To be eligible to receive the tuition funds, participating private schools that teach even one student from the voucher program are required to test all students in the school to demonstrate progress.

Over the course of the 2011-12 school year, the number of students participating in the voucher program has expanded from 20,000 to 140,000. Barber predicts the program will add an additional 50,000-80,000 students over the next 18 months.

There are about 255,000 students enrolled in school choice programs including vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and education savings accounts in the US, according to the Friedman Foundation, which gave that number to Education Week earlier this year.

Read more about Barber's findings on EdWeek's BookMarks blog from Catherine Cardno, who outlines Barber's conclusions and observations.


http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2013/04/pakistan_embraces_vouchers_to_boost_enrollment.html

http://www.reform.co.uk/resources/0000/0688/The_good_news_from_Pakistan_final.pdf

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/bookmarks/2013/04/michael_barber_on_education_reform_in_pakistan.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a Brookings opinion piece titled "Quiet Progress for Education in Pakistan":

The engagement of policymakers as well as citizens is essential to the success of any large scale public sector education reform. While the Punjab Education Reform Roadmap is involving high-level officials and community leaders, Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan is doing its part to include citizens in the dialogue. Every year, 9,000 volunteers from across Pakistan work to collect ASER data that is then shared with the government, civil society organizations, media, bilateral and multilateral agencies and other stakeholders working in the education sector. This process supports the Right to Education (RTE) campaign that has collected almost 2 million signatures from in-school and out-of-school children in an effort to pressure the Pakistani government to implement free and compulsory education for all children aged five to sixteen. United Nations special envoy for Global Education and former prime minster, Gordon Brown, presented 1 million signatures from the RTE campaign to the president of Pakistan on Malala Day, November 10th, 2012, which lead to the ratification of the first RTE bill in Pakistan. Following the death of Shahnaz Nazli, Malala started a new petition in honor of the slain teacher, which continues to put pressure on the Pakistani government to end the killings and violence that deny children their right to an education–especially for girls.

These advances are important for the people of Pakistan and the 5.1 million children out of school throughout the country. But these efforts also offer lessons for the international community. The Punjab Education Reform Roadmap as well as the work of ASER Pakistan and courageous individuals like Malala and Shahnaz Nazli show that even in the face of daunting challenges and an uncertain future, ambitious goal setting, collaboration and the effective use of evidence can deliver impressive results in a relatively short amount of time. Governments and partners working to improve education systems everywhere should take note.


http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/04/08-pakistan-education-winthrop

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a Reuters' report on Karachi shares market:

The market's benchmark index continues to soar to record highs -- up 10.34 percent year to date -- fueled in part by expectations May elections will mark Pakistan's first transfer of power from one democratic government to another. Previous civilian governments were all dismissed by Pakistan's ultimate power: the military.

"Pakistan has a lot to offer investors and this is our chance to show it," said Nadeem Naqvi, the KSE chairman. He plans to embark on a series of roadshows for potential foreign partners that will take him to London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong in the coming months.

Many of the companies listed on the KSE offer double-digit returns, low stock prices and resilient business models in this frontier market with a population of 180 million. The index still has an attractive price/earnings ratio of $8.50 despite the soaring returns of the past few years.

Pakistan now has a 4 percent weighting in the MSCI Frontiers Market Index and has become somewhat of a discovery for foreign investors chasing new markets and yields.

THE SEAMIER SIDE

But the KSE's spectacular rise last year can at least be partly attributed to another factor entirely - the cleansing of "black money".

The market took off last year just as a government decree was finalized allowing people to buy stocks with no questions asked about the source of the cash. Average daily volume more than doubled last year to 173 million shares from 79 million in 2011.

Authorities say the measure will bring undocumented funds into the tax net in a country where few pay taxes. But some critics decried it as a gift to corrupt officials and criminals seeking to launder dirty cash.

"Politics and dirty money go hand in hand in Pakistan," said Dr. Ikramul Haq, a Supreme Court lawyer and a professor on tax law.

"People want to be outside the regulatory framework and outside the tax net."

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The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) said it found 23 violations of securities laws that merited fines in fiscal year 2011-12 (April/March). The market regulator sent warning letters in another 19 cases, it said in its annual report. (www.secp.gov.pk/)

That's a drop in the bucket, says Ashraf Tiwana, dismissed as head of SECP's legal department after years of clashes with his bosses over fraud in the market. He has petitioned the Supreme Court to replace the SECP chairman and commissioners.

"There's a lot of fraud, a lot of market manipulation ... but not enough action has been taken, especially not enough criminal action has been taken," Tiwana told Reuters. "They're just passing small fines and giving out warning letters."

Regulators are too close to the market, Tiwana said. The head of the stock exchange is a former broker and the two top members of the SECP are former employees of Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, founder of one of the country's biggest brokerage houses.

BIG DHEDHI

Nicknamed "Big Dhedhi" for his ability to move markets, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi heads one of Pakistan's largest domestic conglomerates, the AKD Group.

Lately, the well-known philanthropist and leading member of Pakistan's business establishment has been trying to fend off arrest over allegations of insider trading.

An SECP investigator accused traders, including Dhedhi's brokerage, of buying shares in a state-run Sui Southern Gas Co before an official announcement allowing the company to raise its prices. In the weeks before Sui Southern's announcement, the stock price jumped from 13.5 rupees to 20 rupees, its biggest hike in five years.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/09/us-pakistan-stockmarket-insight-idUSBRE93813Z20130409

Riaz Haq said...

A recent UNESCO report shows that Pakistan had 162 science and tech researchers per million people in 2009, a 2X increase from from 80 in 2005.

http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=3587&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=5860&BR_Region=40535

By contrast India had 152 S&T researchers per million inhabitants in 2009, up from 136 in 2005.

http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=3587&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=3560&BR_Region=40535

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on Chusdhry Shujaat Husain of PML (Q) warning to consequences of haste in prosecuting Musharraf:

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Sunday urged all those concerned with the Pervez Musharraf treason case to avoid taking any step whose consequences they will not be able to control afterwards. Talking to the media, the PML-Q president said that it was a sensitive issue that could have wider repercussions. “When the election campaign is in full swing, this is certainly not the time for taking such hasty steps, as it would be detrimental to national interest and the interests of democracy,” he said. The senator said that he had always spoken up against the politics of revenge and victimisation, adding that any attempt to humiliate either an individual or an institution would be counterproductive and dangerous. Shujaat warned that this was not simply a matter pertaining to one personality, as it could also open up a Pandora’s box.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\04\22\story_22-4-2013_pg1_4

Riaz Haq said...

Indian Muslims make up 14.6% of India's population, almost 50% higher than the 10% of Indian-American Muslim population. In addition, every Indian minority other than Muslims is over-represented in America.

http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Demographics/Asian%20Americans%20religion%20full%20report.pdf

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21572785-steadily-rising-muslim-population-continues-fall-behind-growing-and-neglected

Riaz Haq said...

Here's BBC's Lyse Doucet on Pak elections 2013:

Pakistan can be an unpredictable place. But in a chequered history that has kept lurching from crises to coups, one event has kept coming back, with reassuring certainty - elections.

I've covered almost every one of them since 1988 when martial law abruptly ended and a people who fought for democracy directed their energies and enthusiasm towards the battle for ballots.

What boisterous campaigns there've been - massive rallies that packed stadiums and fields, convoys of vehicles snaking, horns blaring, through villages and down highways - a chaotic carnival in every constituency.

But elections in Pakistan can't be like that anymore. It's simply too dangerous. Not a day goes by without a report of an attack by one of many armed groups on a politician, or a public space, or the police.
“Start Quote

Social media provides the safest of places to argue and analyse”

I'm back in Pakistan to find out what it's like to campaign in "Elections 2013", and what it takes to win.

The crush of massive crowds has mostly been replaced by "corner rallies". Politicians travel across the land in helicopters on carefully guarded schedules, rather than spontaneously weighing into the fray.

Something has been lost. But something else has been gained. A different kind of explosion has transformed the political landscape here.

There's a dizzying array of television channels in all the languages spoken here. And social media provides the safest of places to argue and analyse, and of course to jockey for influence and joke. It wouldn't be Pakistan if they didn't.

Another chance

Many worry about "saving Pakistan" - from the blight of official corruption, growing violence and extremism, deepening divisions. That's on top of the age-old problems of poverty and illiteracy.

Everyone talks of "change". Everyone has waited a long time for it to happen. Will it come, this time, from within the parties which traditionally dominated politics or will it usher in the rise of new political dynamic?

Yet again, this is an election where people warn that Pakistan "at a crossroads", is facing a "last chance".

Despite all the threats and disappointments, every person I have spoken to - so far - told me: "Yes of course I am voting!"

Pakistan always seems to get another chance. And yet again, you sense that at least the people want to seize it.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22356845

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an NDTV report today:

Of every 100 new-borns that die in the world, 29 are in India. In real, heart-rending numbers that is three lakh babies who die on the day they are born, every year.

Infants fare better even in Pakistan and Bangladesh, says a new report.

Non-governmental organisation Save the Children compared first-day deaths in 186 countries for its "State of World's Mother Report". Luxembourg has the least new-born deaths, India the most, the reports says.

While infant deaths in India have come down by almost half compared to 1990, the rate has been slower than that in, say, Nepal.

The statistics only get worse. More than half the child deaths in India happen in the first month. And India has the biggest disparity between the rich and poor in child deaths.

The country's report card on mother and child health too is abysmal; India is behind Pakistan and Bangladesh on this list.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/most-new-born-deaths-in-india-says-report-pakistan-bangladesh-fare-better-363552

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Aljazeera report titled "Pakistai economy grows in spite of state":

Lahore, Pakistan - Zia Hyder Naqi started his first business when he was eight years old, turning old newspapers into paper bags in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. He didn’t earn much, but the 1.5 Pakistani Rupees ($0.02) he made every day was enough to buy him his lunch, and a sense of satisfaction at having made something.

Today, 40 years later, Naqi is the managing director at a plastics manufacturing firm that employs 430 people, and earned $14.2m in revenue last year.

Synthetic Products and Enterprises Ltd (SPEL) is one of the largest firms of its kind in the country, and makes everything from plastic cups to the inner sides of car doors for firms such as Toyota, Honda and Suzuki, and everything in between.

Business has been good for SPEL, Naqi says, but that's not because the government is providing a conducive climate for economic growth.

"Let's start by saying that we work in spite of the government and not because of the government," Naqi told Al Jazeera. "It really means that we have to struggle. We compete against the best in the world."

Power cuts

Pakistan suffers from a raft of economic problems - spiraling inflation and unemployment, a chronic energy crisis, a lack of implementation of existing policies and an unstable investment environment, owing to the country’s tense security situation.

Primary among those difficulties, Naqi says, is the issue of power cuts - or load-shedding, as it is referred to in Pakistan.

"Our reliability is affected when we have load-shedding, because we don't know when power will arrive and go. So we have to create back-ups, which means that the cost of operations goes up. It affects morale, it affects our work, it affects our delivery, it affects our customers. [It affects] the cost at which we deliver, and how competitive or uncompetitive we become to the customer," he says, estimating that the cost of putting in those back-up system raises the overall cost of his products by as much as 10 percent.

Last year, Naqi’s firm spent an extra $1.2m on putting back-up generators into place, fuelling them and paying for their general upkeep, as opposed to taking electricity off the grid. Moreover, he says, that $1.2m is a sunk cost, as it is not being invested into productive processes. The result: it’s harder for Pakistan’s products to compete in the international market, as the cost of producing electricity pushes firms into a loop of spiraling costs and being unable to further invest in new technologies.

Pakistan’s electricity woes, analysts say, are a result of industrial growth outstripping the pace of growth in generation, and a woefully maintained distribution system that results in line losses of around 20 percent At its peak last summer, the country’s electricity shortfall was a staggering 8,500MW - about 40 percent of the country’s total generation capacity (not counting transmission losses)
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Meanwhile, far from the think tanks and policy committees, the entrepreneurial spirit of the eight-year-old Naqi is still alive and well. Over the last month, dozens of shops have sprung up all over Lahore, selling elections campaign-related merchandise - everything from pins and badges (for about $0.40 each) to gigantic flags ($2.44), from T-shirts ($3.05) to stuffed soft toys in the shape of party election symbols.

"With the amount of money that I’m making right now," says Muhammad Imran, 30, the owner of one such shop, "we could have built a whole bridge!"
....


http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/05/201358163114782192.html

Riaz Haq said...

According to World Values Survey done by two Swedish researchers, India, Jordan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong by far the least tolerant.

In only three of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5 percent of Indians, 51.4 percent of Jordanians and an astonishingly high 71.8 percent of Hong Kongers and 71.7 percent of Bangladeshis.

Unfortunately, the Swedish economists did not include all of the World Values Survey data in their final research paper. So I went back to the source, compiled the original data and mapped it out on the infographic above. In the bluer countries, fewer people said they would not want neighbors of a different race; in red countries, more people did.

Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier. Although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dhaka Tribune report comparing Bangladesh, India and Pakistan:

South Asia is one of the fastest growing regions of the world and is home to one-fifth of the global population. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the three largest economies of the region, hold the key to lifting several millions out of the vicious poverty cycle into economic prosperity. Although traditionally India and Pakistan generated the most interest around the globe,

Bangladesh has come into the spotlight over the past decade with drastically improving social indicators and a growth rate of around 6% throughout the financial crisis and global recession.

So how has the Bangladeshi economy performed over the past decade compared to the Indian and Pakistani economies?

The simplest measure of economic well-being of a country is its GDP per capita which is a measure of the value of total goods and services produced in a country divided by the total population. From the graph below, one can see that all three nations have more than doubled their GDP per capita with India and Pakistan bringing larger absolute increase compared to Bangladesh.

Sadly, Bangladesh continues to remain poorer than India and Pakistan with the gap increasing over the decade and the gaps in absolute terms have more than doubled with India and Pakistan (see graph 1).

A much more dynamic performance of the economy can be seen from observing the trend in the economic growth rate of the three nations. The Bangladeshi economy maintained a near constant growth rate of around 6% throughout the decade compared to the large gyrations in growth rate of India and Pakistan and it managed to do so throughout the global financial crisis of 2008-12.....
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Long term growth potential in an economy can usually be seen from gross savings (% of GDP). Gross savings is gross national income and net transfers less total consumption in the economy. Saving in an economy is important as it in turn provides internal fund for borrowing and investment in the economy.

Bangladesh did manage to attain the highest gross savings as a proportion of GDP by 2011. It saved over 30 cents for every $1 of goods and services produced from year to year since 2003. This broadly shows that the country has a large potential to bring about significant investment from its own fund just like India and unlike Pakistan which saw a drastic fall in gross savings over the decade (see graph 4).

However, capital formation has been rather sluggish in Bangladesh despite growth in savings. Gross capital formation (Gross domestic investment) as a proportion of GDP remained constant at 25% throughout the decade unlike India, which increased it significantly. This shows that, in general, Bangladesh has been building less infrastructure and investing less in industries than it can, something that the government needs to take look into account.
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http://www.dhakatribune.com/long-form/2013/jul/11/how-does-bangladesh-measure

Riaz Haq said...

Urban elite of cities now in #Pakistan was #Hindu, #Sikh. #Muslims were peasants. #Lahore now "overrun by villagers”

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/57YwvcZC4oXwM0Evqj7s4O/Remembering-Pakistans-intellectual-wanderer.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AsiaNow report on disproportionate population of Muslims and Christians in Indian prison:

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The high number of prison inmates from socio-religious minorities "is due to the attitude of some states, which target the most vulnerable sections of society," said Arun Ferreira, an activist for Christian Dalits and tribals, who spoke to AsiaNews following the release of the 2012 Prison Statistics report by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB).

According to the report, Muslims, who are 13.4 per cent of India's population, represented 28.02 per cent of the prison population in 2012. Christians are in the same situation. Nationally, they are 2.3 per cent of the population but they constitute 6 per cent of the prison population.

For the activist, "We get these percentages because Dalits, Tribals, Muslims and Christians are often the victims of loopholes and sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Ferreira should know. He personally experience what it means to be behind bars. Accused of being a Naxalite (Maoist) guerrilla, he was arrested in May 2007 in Nagpur (Maharashtra) and indicted on 11 charges, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

During his detention, he was tortured and interrogated twice after being treated with a "truth serum," a psychoactive drug that is now illegal. After four years and eight months in jail, he was released on bail.

"My experience in prison is that every state tends to target minorities, showing some of its specific features," Ferreira told AsiaNews.

"In states where Hinduism is strong, like Orissa (where the effects of anti-Christian pogroms still linger), many innocent Christians have been arrested and thrown in prison, falsely accused of being Naxalites. However, the same thing happened in Gujarat after the 2002 riots."

"In Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which are also under strong Hindu influence, the authorities have overtly attacked the Christian community, treating its members as the 'criminal' element in the Dalit and Tribal groups."

All too often, Christians fall into the clutches of the justice system on false evidence because they back causes that embarrass the authorities.

"In Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, some tribal Christians were arrested on false accusations of terrorism," Ferreira noted, "when in fact the problem was their struggle against large-scale mining projects that required huge tracts of land to be expropriated."

The same is true for Tamil Nadu, where Christians have been charged with 'subversion' for opposing the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

"Sadly, neither the government nor the NCRB recognise political prisoners as a separate category, so there are no statistics about it."

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Discrimination-in-India:-Christians-are-6-per-cent-of-the-prison-population-30626.html

Riaz Haq said...

Sindh's Muslim landowners were big beneficiaries of partition. It freed them from heavy debts they owed to Hindu moneylenders:

1. From the Imperial Gazetteer of India by W.W. Hunter 1881:

"They (Muslim landowners) are almost always in debt to t,he Hindu moneylenders who exact as much as cent per cent on their advances"

http://books.google.com/books?id=RooIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA368&lpg=PA368&dq=Sindh+landowners+indebted+to+Hindu+moneylenders&source=bl&ots=A817RIA-AK&sig=J2h546t0IanRqEd_gx0ts-mjSvI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1mRMU7G-NsrM8QHOpoGYDg&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Sindh%20landowners%20indebted%20to%20Hindu%20moneylenders&f=false

2. From The Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia:

"Partition increased the economic power of the landowners because many of the Hindu moneylenders to who they were indebted fled for their lives to India"

http://books.google.com/books?id=zqz3bnuX7LsC&pg=PA84&lpg=PA84&dq=Sindh+landowners+indebted+to+Hindu+moneylenders&source=bl&ots=YIVGubP9q7&sig=VMtwTeecpQXCVwmEIqjgkH_44u0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1mRMU7G-NsrM8QHOpoGYDg&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Sindh%20landowners%20indebted%20to%20Hindu%20moneylenders&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

From BBC:

A court in Bangladesh has found a British journalist guilty of contempt of court for questioning the official version of the number of people who died in the country's war of independence in 1971.
The judges said a 2011 blog post by David Bergman had deliberately distorted history.
He was ordered him to pay a fine of $65 or go to prison for seven days.
According to the official account, three million people died in the war of independence from Pakistan, but Mr Bergman said there was no evidence to support that.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30298784

From Bergman's blog:

There have been a number of other estimates on the number of people who died in 1971.

(i) The Peace Research Institute in Norway along with Uppsala University in Sweden, have collected information on the numbers of 'battle deaths' in all wars since 1900. Apparently, on the basis of eye-witness and media reports as well as other data, they have estimated that about 58,000 people died in battle in 1971 in Bangladesh.

However, it has proven difficult to clarify the methodology upon which they came to this figure and relying on press reports (if this is what they have done) is clearly a far from accurate method of ascertaining the number of deaths. It should be noted that this figure does not seem to include the numbers of deaths of civilians.*

(ii) More recent research conducted by academics at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington in Seattle, and published in 2008 in the British Medical Journal, analysed World Health Organisation population surveys, looking at sibling deaths, to estimate the number of 'direct violent deaths' in different wars in different countries. Their calculation suggest that the number of 'deaths from war injuries' in 1971 was closer to 269,000 – five times the number of the Scandinavian researchers which involved only 'battle deaths'. Their figures range from 125,000 to 505,000. It should be noted this does not include other war related deaths.

The reports also says that the 'estimates presented here should be viewed as conservative', pointing out that the surveys were unable to capture 'families with no survivors'. ****
(iii) Perhaps the most reliable estimate of number of deaths as a result of the war in 1971 is found in a little known study published in 1976 by the Cholera Hospital (now the ICDDRB) in a prestigious journal called 'Population Studies'. One of the article's three authors was Lincoln Chen who subsequently became a very noted public health specialist and is due, I understand, to be honored by the Bangladesh government for his contribution to independence in 1971.

The article looked at changes in population numbers in the rural area of Matlab Bazaar Thana. The Cholera hospital had collected detailed population data, including details of birth and deaths, on this area since 1963, and so was able to compare the population figures collected in 1972 with those collected during the war and prior to it to make an estimate of the number of 'excess' deaths.

http://bangladeshwarcrimes.blogspot.com/2011/11/sayedee-indictment-analysis-1971-death.html

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt from BBC News on housing discrimination in India:


Segregation has inevitably led to curious business opportunities. Sensing that mixed neighbourhoods were fast disappearing and even well-to-do-Muslims were finding it a problem to buy property, Ahmedabad-based entrepreneur Mohammed Ali Husain began a property fair connecting Muslim builders with buyers.

More than 40,000 potential buyers have turned up for the two fairs he's held so far, checking out and buying housing offered by 25 Muslim builders.

"Earlier communities lived in segregated neighbourhoods for cultural reasons," say Mr Husain. "Now the reason is the fear of the other."

Deep divisions
In a deeply divided and hierarchical society like India, segregated living - and housing - has existed for centuries.

Mumbai has community-based "vegetarian only" housing societies. Delhi and Calcutta have Muslim ghettos, crowded, run-down and neglected. A planned apartment coming up in Delhi promises "dream homes for elite Muslim brotherhood".

Ahmedabad has been always divided on caste, community and religious lines. But, as analysts say, the ghettoisation was relative in the sense that Muslim-dominated areas co-existed with Hindu-dominated ones.

"These mixed neighbourhoods disappeared after Muslims became the main victims in communal riots which have gone on a par with their growing socio-economic marginalisation," write Christophe Jaffrelot and Charlotte Thomas in their study of ghettoisation in Ahmedabad.

The divisions of the past appeared to be more cultural in nature; the divisions of today appear to be rooted in fear, distrust and anomie.

Mr Kadri says he was picking up an order at a burger chain drive-thru a few years ago when he overheard the manager asking one of his delivery boys to not to deliver to Juhapura because, "people will chop you into pieces if you go there".

Rising urbanisation was expected to blur religious and social boundaries, but that hasn't happened fully.

So despite the fact that more than a third of India's Muslims live in cities and towns - making them the most urbanised community of a significant size - poverty and discrimination continues to easily push them into ghettos.

Even Dalits - formerly known as untouchables - who escape the stifling caste-based discrimination of their villages to live and work in the cities find that they still end up living in ghettos.



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30204806