Monday, January 26, 2015

Technology Transformation of 21st Century Warfare For India and Pakistan

How is increasing use of technology transforming modern warfare?

What will be the impact of widespread deployment of cyberweapons like Stuxnet worm used by the United Sates to cause extensively physical destruction of Iran's nuclear centrifuges? Will such weapons be used to destroy critical infrastructure of telecommunications, water and power and the economy of the enemy?

Will the boots on the ground be replaced by bots on the ground, in the air and on the water in the future? How autonomous will such bots be? How will the armed drones distinguish between combatants and non-combatants in war?

Will bio-hacking lead to new extremely lethal biological agents developed and deployed by terrorists and rogue individuals and nations?

How is the information technology changing the battlefield awareness with more effective command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I)?

Are India and Pakistan modernizing their militaries for technology-based warfare?

What are the key ethical issues raised by high-tech warfare? Will it make it easier for nations with advanced technology to start wars with impunity?

Capacity For Revolution in Military Affairs Source:  Laird & Mey 1999

Vision 2047 host Farrukh Shah Khan discusses these questions with Riaz Haq in the following video:

Vision 2047: Impact of Revolution in Military Affairs on South Asia from WBT TV on Vimeo.

How Will Technology Change Warfare in South Asia- by faizanmaqsood1010
As to the potential cyber component of any future wars between India and Pakistan, its dramatic impact could reverberate across the globe as the computers used in South Asia for outsourced work from the United States and Europe come under crippling attacks from hackers on both sides. Here is how Robert X. Cringeley describes it in a June 2009 blog post captioned "Collateral Damage":

"Forget for the moment about data incursions within the DC beltway, what happens when Pakistan takes down the Internet in India? Here we have technologically sophisticated regional rivals who have gone to war periodically for six decades. There will be more wars between these two. And to think that Pakistan or India are incapable or unlikely to take such action against the Internet is simply naive. The next time these two nations fight YOU KNOW there will be a cyber component to that war.

And with what effect on the U.S.? It will go far beyond nuking customer support for nearly every bank and PC company, though that’s sure to happen. A strategic component of any such attack would be to hobble tech services in both economies by destroying source code repositories. And an interesting aspect of destroying such repositories — in Third World countries OR in the U.S. — is that the logical bet is to destroy them all without regard to what they contain, which for the most part negates any effort to obscure those contents."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Defense Production Goes High-Tech

Drones Outrage and Inspire Pakistanis

RMA Status in Pakistan

Cyber Wars in South Asia

Pakistan's Biggest Ever Arms Bazar

Genomics and Biotech Advances in Pakistan

India's Israel Envy: What if Modi Attacks Pakistan

Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

How Did Industrial Revolution Impact South Asia?

The Industrial Revolution marked the beginning of a major shift in economic, military and political power from East to West.

  A research letter written by Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JP Morgan, and published in the Atlantic Magazine shows how dramatic this economic power shift has been. The size of a nation's GDP depended on the size of its population and labor force in agrarian economies prior to the Industrial era.  With the advent of  the Industrial revolution, the use of machines relying on energy from fossil fuels dramatically enhanced labor productivity in the West and shifted the balance of power from Asia to America and Europe.

Here's a video discussion on the subject:

Vision 2047: Political Revolutions and South Asia from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Major East-West Power Shift Since Industrial... by faizanmaqsood1010
Here's a video of a BBC documentary about Al Andalusia or Muslim Spain:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Was India Ever Rich? 

Pakistan Military Industrial Revolution

China's Checkbook Diplomacy

Education Attainment in South Asia

Pakistan Needs Comprehensive Energy Policy

Social Media Growth in Pakistan

Is America Young and Barbaric?

Godfather Metaphor for Uncle Sam

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pakistan's Official GDP Figures Ignore FMCG Sector's Phenomenal Growth

"In terms of LSM growth, a number of sectors that are showing strong performance; (for example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector; plastic products; buses and trucks; and even textiles), are either under reported, or not even covered. The omission of such important sectors from official data coverage, probably explains the apparent disconnect between overall economic activity in the country and the hard numbers in LSM." State Bank of Pakistan Annual Report 2014
Economists have long argued that Pakistan's official GDP figures significantly understate real economic activity in terms of both production and consumption.

M. Ali Kemal and Ahmed Waqar Qasim, economists at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE),  explored several published different approaches for sizing Pakistan's underground economy and settled on a combination of  PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) consumption data  and mis-invoicing of exports and imports to conclude that the country's "informal economy was 91% of the formal economy in 2007-08". 

And now the State Bank of Pakistan has focused on the production side of the economy in its annual report for Fiscal Year 2014. The nation's central bankers have singled out the economic activity in large scale manufacturing sector as their focus in the latest report.  They say that the existing LSM (Large Scale Manufacturing) index was based on Census of Manufacturing Industries (CMI) that was conducted in 2006 which included only those sectors which had significant value addition to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the time of census. 

In the years since 2006 CMI (Census of Manufacturing Industries) census, Pakistan has seen a significant expansion of its middle class along with rapidly growing consumer demand in sectors such as processed foods and fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCG).  It's one of several major new sectors whose growth is not reflected in the official GDP figures. 

Pakistan's Processed Foods and FMCG Sector Source: BMA Capital

According to a report by analysts at Pakistan's Topline Securities that examined 25 consumer firms in various sectors, the 2012 sales of the FMCG firms increased by 17% to Rs. 334 billion while profits grew by 40% to Rs. 24 billion. In the five years between 2008 and 2012, sales of these companies showed a compounded average growth rate (CAGR) of 18%, while profits grew at a CAGR of 20%. 

Engro Foods, a star performer in the sector, reported 191% increase in profit in 2012 alone, led by the dairy and beverages segment. Other players such as Nestle, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, have also seen explosive growth with many new plants in production to meet demand. The growth in this sector is not reflected in the LSM component of GDP. 

Another key area in large-scale manufacturing is plastics industry. Pakistan Plastic Manufacturing Association says there are 6,000 units operating in the country, employing  600,000 people. This sector is producing a broad range of products from household items, industrial containers, medical and surgical items, auto parts, stationery items and PVC pipes. Yet they are not covered in LSM.

The SBP report further explained that the LSM data was not being reported in Pakistan in accordance with the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) of United Nations Statistics Division’s defined 22 broad categories of manufacturing.  The reporting of LSM is limited to only 15 sectors identified by the ISIC while data pertaining to manufactures of apparels, publishing, printing products and recorded media, fabricated metal products (except machinery and equipment), office and accounting machinery and computers, medical precision and optical instruments and recycling of metal and non-metal waste scrap, is not included as part of Pakistan’s LSM. 

Pakistan has changed a lot since 2006 in terms of economy and demographics. The World Bank moved Pakistan from a low-income to middle-income country in 2007. Pakistan is much more urbanized and more middle class now than it was in 2006. Pakistan's large scale manufacturing (LSM) sector  has changed to respond to meet the rising new product demands of the country's growing middle class consumers. Its time for Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to conduct a new manufacturing census and Pakistan Census Bureau to do a population census to paint a more accurate picture of the country's demographics and economy now.  

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Growing Middle Class

Pakistan's GDP Grossly Under-estimated; Shares Highly Undervalued

Fast Moving Consumer Goods Sector in Pakistan

3G-4G Roll-out in Pakistan

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mobile Broadband Accelerates Data Service Revenue Growth in Pakistan

Mobile service operators enjoyed 24% jump in data revenue in fiscal year 2013-14 ended in June. Meanwhile, Pakistanis signed up for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services at a rate of one million per month over the last five months.

The data revenues of mobile phone service operators reached Rs. 47 billion during the year under review, 47.4% year-over-year growth. “This is a healthy sign in the wake of 3G and 4G services in the country and shows that the use of internet and data services on the cellular mobile has been increasing,” according to a recent Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) report.

As of June 30, 2014 data revenues account for 19.3% of the telecom sector’s overall revenue, up from 16.4% at the end of FY13 – the number for cellular segment, too, increased from 7.3% to 10.1%.

The increased use of social media messaging apps negatively impacted text messaging growth as the SMS volume declined to 301.7 billion during FY2014, down 4% compared to 315.7 billion in 2013. The average monthly SMS per subscriber volume was down to 180 in FY14 compared to 214 of FY13.

PTA reported that each cellular subscriber in the country has 2.17 SIMs on average, which translates to an actual monthly ARPU (per user revenue) of Rs 432.

Mobile broadband roll-out and double-digit growth in data revenue are expected to enable a whole new Internet-based economy with growth of mobile apps from social media, education, health care,  entertainment, financial services and e-commerce to government services in Pakistan.

3G/4G Subscriber Update As Of January 2015:


Pakistan ended January with over 9.07 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 5.71 million in December 2014, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Telenor led the 3G/4G market with over 2.25 million subscribers, followed by Ufone (2.25 million 3G/4G subscribers), Mobilink (2.17 million 3G/4G subscribers), and CMPak (1.85 million 3G subscribers and 5,023 4G customers) Warid had 44,075 LTE network subscribers at 31 January 2015.

Related Links:

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pakistan's Year-end 2014 Review: State of Economy, Politics and Security

I wish all my readers a very happy new year!

Pakistan's year 2014 saw major anti-terror actions by the military against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in their safe haven of North Waziristan and elsewhere in the country. The year-end massacre of children at a Peshawar school further galvanized the nation against terrorism. Pakistan Tehrike-e-Insaf's political rallies against the government drew huge turn-out  of young urban middle-class Pakistanis. Pakistani economy showed clear signs of improving confidence with 3G-4G mobile broadband roll-out, Chinese investment commitments and booming stock market.  Key challenges are successful execution of anti-terror campaign and energy-infrastructure projects.  Here are some the major highlights and lowlights of the year 2014 in Pakistan:


1. Outrage against the killing of 130 school children in Peshawar helped galvanize Pakistanis to fight terrorism. 

2. Civilian casualties from terrorism in Pakistan  significantly declined from 3001 in 2013 to 1774 in 2014, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal. Biggest drop occurred since OP Zarb e Azb started 15 June 2014 after the terrorist attack on Karachi Airport.

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal

3. President Ashraf Ghani's election and policies helped improve Afghan-Pakistan ties, just in time for the US military pull-out from the region. 

4. Deal signed for $45.6 billion to build Pak-China industrial corridor. It has the potential to set new FDI records and solve Pakistan's energy crisis and spar new wave of industrialization in special economic zones.

5. 3G-4G rollout and growth of smartphones helped increase access to Internet as subscribers signed up at a rate of a million a month to hit the 5 million mark in 5 months since the launch. High-tech startup ecosystem took shape with several successful startups in e-commerce, smartphone apps space, gaming, etc. Several VC deals closed. A dozen e-commerce startups are starting to take off in Pakistan. 

6. New face of political protests rallies emerged with massive turn-out of young urban middle class Pakistani turning out for Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf rallies with music, containers, and drones.

7. In 2014, the KSE-100 Index gained 6,870 points thereby generating a handsome return of 27% (31% return in US$ terms), making Pakistan's KSE world's third best performing marketTotal offerings in the year 2014 reached 9 as compared to 3 in the year 2013. After a gap of seven years, Rs 73 billion were raised through offerings in 2014 as compared to a meager Rs 4 billion raised in 2013. Foreign investors, that hold US$ 6.1 billion worth of Pakistani shares -which is 33% of the free-float (9% of market capitalization)-remained net buyers in 2014.

8. Pakistan organized biggest ever arms show IDEAS 2014 in Karachi. It attracted 333 defense-related companies including 50 companies from Pakistan. Delegates from 50 countries attended the show this year.

9.  Malala Yousufzai became youngest Nobel Prize winner. Education got a boost with new reports indicating increased enrollment

10. Several Pakistani-Americans, particularly women, made news in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in America. For example: Ashar Aziz, Umaima Mendhro, Shama Zehra, Mir Zafar Ali, Novaira Masood, Shan Kandawalla, Hana Dehradunwalla.

11. Pakistan was accepted as an associate member of CERN, one of the world's top research labs, ahead of India. 


1.  Slow recognition of the existential threat terrorism cost a lot of lives and hurt confidence in Pakistani state and economy.  Failure to convict terrorists made the situation worse. 

2. Violence against minorities continued with some of the most horrific incidents of killing and burning of innocent people. 

3. Abuse of blasphemy law took its toll on an increasing number of people...both Muslim and non-Muslim. 

4. Polio continued to take its toll on children with number of confirmed cases at an all-time high of 296 in 2014. 

5. India-Pakistan ties hit new lows after Hindu Nationalist hard-liner Narendra Modi was elected India's new prime minister. India stepped up covert war in Pakistan.

6. Poor governance created chaos with failure to respond to Model Town incident and rigging allegations. 

7. Execution of energy and infrastructure projects continued to lag.

8. Thar drought and children's deaths exposed incompetence and corruption of Sind provincial govt. Pakistan ranked worse than India on World Hunger Index for the first time in history.

Source: IFPRI

9. Pakistan-bashing books made brisk sales in the rapidly growing Indian book market.


Key lies in successful execution of anti-terror campaign and energy-infrastructure projects. It'll be a huge challenge for all Pakistanis, particularly the political and military leadership of the country. 

Here's a video discussion of Pakistan's Year 2014:

Related Links:

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