1) Pakistan’s population problem will not remain for long. Growth peaked at 3.4 per cent in 1982, but then wilted and is now at 1.8 per cent. India’s peaked at 2.3 per cent in 1977 and is today 1.4 per cent, but Pakistan’s rate of decline is sharper.
2) The rate of Pakistan’s GDP growth will not rise in this decade. It was about 2.5 per cent last year. One reason, the minor one, is that Pakistan has a problem of order that its army does not appear willing to solve.
3) The larger reason is that Pakistanis have a cultural barrier against saving money. Pakistanis save nine per cent of the GDP. Indians save over 30 per cent. I would say that this pattern of behaviour has to do with the caste of South Asia’s Muslims and certain aspects of religion. Low savings rate = low growth.
4) Pakistan will be left behind in South Asia in 25 years. In the five years between 2005 and 2011, Pakistan’s GDP per capita went from $2,150 to $2,420. India’s went from $2,200 to $3,200.
5) If this trend continues, and Pakistan continues to refuse free trade with India, India-Pakistan will look like South Korea-North Korea by 2037. A wealthy and powerful India will constantly worry about poor, unstable but nuclear-armed Pakistan.
6) There was no Malala Yousufzai moment. The consensus in Pakistan is against fighting the militants. Pakistan’s English columnists and writers will continue to remain on the wrong side of a consensus they do not entirely grasp. Why do I say this?
7) What the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al Qaeda want in order for them to stop their war against the Pakistani state, is full-dress sharia. Essentially, they are demanding the implementation of Article 227 of Pakistan’s Constitution, which also assures Pakistanis sharia. The TTP and al Qaeda are on the right side of the law. I would say they are also on the right side of the consensus.
8) Anti-incumbency is felt in the state, not the centre. Unless Pakistan is very different from India, Punjabis fed up with governance will vote against Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N that has power in Punjab. This means that the PPP will again do well in southern Punjab and that someone, either Imran Khan or the PML-Q will do well in central Punjab.
9) Unless Imran Khan pulls out leaders from the PML-N, he will not be able to convert personal popularity into votes. He will lose again.
10) The United States will expand its theatre in Pakistan. Unmanned aircraft will spy on and carry out attacks in a wider area than they are doing currently. This expansion will not be affected by who wins the presidential elections in America next week.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2012.