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Showing posts from June, 2016

Sabri Assassination; India's NSG Bid; Brexit & Trump; Hamza Yousuf vs ISIS

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Who killed Pakistan's world famous sufi singer Amjad Sabri Qawwal last week? Why was he targeted close to home in MQM-dominated Liaquatabad neighborhood? Is the Sabri killing a failure of Sindh Rangers' Karachi operation? Who wants to see the Army-led Karachi Operation fail? India? RAW? TTP? PPP? MQM? Why?

Why is India seeking full membership of NSG? Why has its effort failed so far? How did India succeed in getting the NSG waiver to allow nuclear trade in 2008? Did Pakistan's then ambassador Husain Haqqani recommend to then President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari to not ask China to oppose the India NSG waiver? Is the NSG waiver not enough to accomplish India's goal of growing both its civil and military nuclear programs?

Why did the British voters vote 52% to 48% to leave the European Union? Do these British voters supporting Brexit have anything in common with Donald Trump supporters in the United States? Is this vote part of anti-establishment backlash against globa…

Chicken More Affordable Than Daal in Pakistan?

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Pakistan's finance minister Ishaq Dar has suggested to his countrymen to eat chicken instead of daal (pulses or legumes). Does the minister sound like Queen Marie-Antoinette (wife of France's King Louis XVI) who reportedly said to hungry rioters during the French Revolution:  “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake”? Let's look into it.

It is indeed true that some varieties of daal are priced higher than chicken. For example, maash is selling at Rs. 260 per kilo, higher than chicken meat at Rs. 200 per kilo. But other daals such as mung, masur and chana are cheaper than chicken.

The reason for higher daal prices and relatively lower chicken prices can be found in the fact that Pakistan's livestock industry, particularly poultry farming, has seen significant growth that the nation's pulse crop harvests have not.


Pakistan's poultry industry achieved 127% growth in the total number of birds produced, 126% growth in the total meat production and 71%gr…

Pakistan Power Regulator Publishes New Feed-in Tariffs for Solar

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Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has published for public comments its revised feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for solar energy projects of up to 100 MW, according to a report in PV-Tech journal.
The proposed FiTs are slightly lower in Balochistan, Sindh and Southern Punjab region than in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) and the rest of Punjab. The proposal for years 1 through 13 includes Rs. 11.128 (US$0.105) per unit for southern region and Rs. 11.783 (US$0.111) per unit for northern region. The rates drop to Rs. 5.588 (US$0.053) and Rs. 5.917 (US$0.056) per unit for northern and southern regions respectively for years 14-25.  The average for the next 25 years works out to Rs. 9.924 (US$0.094) and Rs. 10.507 (US$0.099) per unit for the two regions.



Last year, NEPRA, the nation's power regulator,  approved a regulatory framework for solar and wind energy for both commercial and residential installations. The framework includes feed-in tariffs for commercial power p…

MSCI Adds Pakistan Shares to Emerging Markets Index

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MSCI Pakistan Index will be reclassified to Emerging Markets status, coinciding with the May 2017 Semi-Annual Index Review, according to an MSCI press release on June 14, 2016.

Emerging Market Upgrade:

Pakistan's Karachi Stock Exchange KSE100 Index has rallied 14% in 2016, making it Asia's best performing market so far this year in anticipation of the MSCI announcement.



The upgrade could attract additional $475 million of inflows by the middle of next year as investors rush to buy Pakistani shares, according to analysts quoted by Bloomberg News.



Pakistan was classified as Emerging Market in 1994, a status it retained during the Musharraf years.  It was downgraded to frontier status in December 2008, four months after the former president was forced out by PPP and PMLN politicians.

Loss of investor confidence after President Musharraf's departure triggered a major bear market that wiped out nearly $37 billion of market capitalization at the Karachi Stock Exchange. It led to …

Pakistan's $8.2 Billion Rail Upgrade to Link with China, Russia, Central Asia & Europe

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Pakistan government has approved an $ 8.2 billion project to upgrade the 1,872 km Karachi - Peshawar rail track, bridges, tunnels, and culverts, according to International Railway Journal.

The new track will support increased axle load of up to 25 tons, up from 22.8 tons which is now the norm in South Asian countries. The higher axle load capacity will allow heavier freight trains carrying more freight per train for greater trade overland.

China will provide 85% of the financing for the project. It will be done in two phases, with the first due for completion in December 2017 and the second in 2021.

It will be part of an international rail link that will connect Pakistan with China,  Russia, Central Asia and Europe. It will extend south from the city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Western China to Pakistan's deep-sea Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, according to Zhang Chunlin, director of Xinjiang's regional development and reform commission.

A study for …

Pakistan Economy & Budget; NIA Pathankot Report; Hillary v Trump

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How’s Pakistani economy doing? Is it gaining strength? How are the major economic indicators looking? What are Nawaz Sharif government’s economic priorities? How has it allocated spending in budget 2016-17 presented to National Assembly by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar? Why does Pakistan rely almost entirely on indirect taxation to raise revenue? Why is there such disproportionate burden for revenue placed on the poor and the middle-income Pakistanis? Why is the taxation system in Pakistan so regressive? What needs to be done to broaden the tax net to increase revenue and make the taxation system more fair. What should the provincial governments do? Should they impose at least a modest agriculture income tax and various service taxes to raise revenue?


How did the Indian National Investigation Agency conclude that Pakistan and its agencies had no role in Pathankot incident in India? Why are they now backtracking from this conclusion? What evidence of India-Pakistan border breach do they …