Pakistan: a country in crisis

Published: April 29, 2012
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The writer is a former vice-president of the World Bank and a former caretaker finance minister of Pakistan

The writer is a former vice-president of the World Bank and a former caretaker finance minister of Pakistan

Pakistan is attracting a great deal of academic and analytical interest. That is not surprising. Some have called it the most dangerous place on earth. The titles of a number of recent books on Pakistan throw light on the various aspects of a state and society in deep trouble. Anatole Lieven, in Pakistan: a hard country (2011), looks at the social and political structures of a country that, even six-and-a-half decades after achieving independence, is still engaged in the process of creating one nation out of many different people. The ‘hard’ in the book’s title has several meanings. To begin with, the country is not easy to understand. It is full of contradictions: modernisation versus extreme conservatism; asceticism versus love for the good things of life; a tradition of philanthropy versus little regard for the sufferings of the less advantaged; isolationism versus a deep desire to work with the world, in particular the West.

The ‘hard’ also refers to the fact that though torn by numerous conflicts that divide its people, the country keeps muddling through. It is a hard country to put down. What gives it resilience is the set of local loyalties that bind the citizens to the members of the political establishment that, in turn, meet the people’s basic needs and aspirations.

Maleeha Lodhi’s Pakistan beyond the crisis state (2011) is a rare book in the sense that its contributing authors are positive about the country’s future. They believe that the contemporary security challenges and long-term demographic pressures and energy shortages can be overcome if the country’s political establishment can muster the political will to undergo wide-ranging institutional and structural economic reforms. The authors look at what might emerge in the country once the difficulties it faces are overcome. At the end of a long tunnel through which the country is now passing, they see it emerging not very different from a number of other Asian states that have already produced high rates of sustainable GDP growth. They argue that Pakistan is capable of transitioning itself into a stable modern Islamic state, though bold reforms are necessary. The country can be reeled back from the brink of crisis.

According to Ahmed Rashid, the country is already on the brink. His latest book, Pakistan on the brink: the future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West (2012), adopts a tone even more somber than his earlier ones. His reading of the Pakistani situation is different from that of Lieven and those of the contributors to Lodhi’s volume. The former sees some resilience in the structure of the Pakistani society, while the latter believe that actions by the ruling establishment can not only save the situation from further deterioration, they can also move the country toward a better future. Rashid, however, is considerably less optimistic. He lays the blame equally on those who have ruled in the past and those who are ruling right now. “They take no responsibility for providing services to the public, while indulging in large-scale corruption. They allow an unprecedented economic meltdown to become worse by declining to carry out reforms or listening to international advice.”

Some of the analytical interest in Pakistan looks at the impact it is likely to have on the world if the crises it faces are not managed. According to Zahid Hussain’s The scorpion’s tail: the relentless rise of Islamic militancy and how it threatens America (2010), Pakistan carries a lot of poison stored in its body. Provoked, it will sting. Having delivered the poison it carries it may die, as scorpions are said to do once they have attacked, but its sting could prove to be fatal for its victim. Stephen Cohen’s The Future of Pakistan (2011), (which he has edited) does not believe, at least according to the volume’s editor, that the country has much of a future. But, in line with Zahid Hussain, the editor of this rather depressing volume suggests that this highly troubled South Asian nation will go a long way toward determining what the world looks ten years from now.  They advise the world to watch Pakistan closely and prepare for the worst.

To this list of recently publishedbooks we should add the World Bank’s World Development Report, 2010 which comes with the subtitle, Conflict, Security and Development . While not entirely focused on the situation in Pakistan, It sees the country belonging to the category of what it calls “fragile states”. The Bank’s report has one powerful message: that there is enough evidence from around the globe to suggest that the fragility of the states it examines need not result in their failure. They can recover but will need to be kept on life support for years to come.

There is one thing common to all these analyses. They focus on many crises Pakistan currently faces. It is a perfect storm through which the country will have to navigate. Whether it can go through without capsizing will depend on how the Pakistani establishment is able to steer the state towards the safety of a shore. What will help those in command is to develop a better appreciation of the nature of the many crises they must deal with. They should also have some idea about the way the country dealt with crises in the past.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (64)

  • Apr 29, 2012 - 9:01PM

    Pakistan has consistently defied prophets of doom since its birth, when 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.

    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.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/08/pakistans-story-after-64-years-of.html

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 29, 2012 - 9:10PM

    In 2003 to 2006 i stoped reading articles of papers they were so scary that i thought world will end sooner than later thanks to the bush wars but now i think new world is emerging and i my believes got firmers than before that nature is going to change the world wind to the east once again for good.

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  • Harsh
    Apr 29, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @ haq India paid 55 crores to Pakistan. Don’t spread lie. Mahatma Gandhi fasted for that. He intact got killed for that reason

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  • Babloo
    Apr 29, 2012 - 9:19PM

    The author says “..how the Pakistani establishment is able to steer the state towards the safety of a shore..” , so those responsible for current Pak situation, the establishment, is the saviour ? Please explain how do you find that possible or plausible ?

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Apr 29, 2012 - 9:50PM

    Burki Sahib,

    I think they know what crises they face and how they can be dealt with. It is not rocket science.

    Why they cannot take the bull by the horns and undertake meaningful reforms which would serve their interests as well, I don’t know.

    Or maybe they know something I don’t.

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  • Apr 29, 2012 - 9:53PM

    It is difficult to generalize about a country of 200 million who have different ethnic and class backgrounds.The people in the Indus Valley went for independence from Hindus and British. They did’t have a clear idea as what to do after achieving independence.You had different classes and each one wanted to dominate and run it differently. What emerged was various combinations of feudal and middle class.What messed up these conglomerates ware the singularly stupid strategic decisions taken by the ruling groups military take overs,shifting capital, destroying states that had been there for centuries, generating, centralization absorbing even local governments four ethnic provinces, and to cap it military adventures in Kashmir and Afghanistan,and moreover consistently encouraging and seeking support of religious groups.

    Pakistan’s culture is growing well despite dominating overpower by religion and culture.The economy can only flourish by massive deregulation on a massive scale which would dethrone the officialdom. Just think of liberating the food sector !

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  • Max
    Apr 29, 2012 - 10:10PM

    I had the opportunity of reading all these and regretfully did not find much in Ahmed Rashid’s or in Zahid Hussain’s books. Rashid just pulled the material from his earlier writing and threw a book in the face of readers . There is nothing new, academic or analytica in both volumes. Just spinning the old wheel. I did not see anything sparkling in Zahid Hussain’s volume that may have any academic worth or something the readers did not already know. Just blowing off hot-air does not help the reader to understand the Pakistani malaise. One sees Academic worthiness and journalism parting their ways in both volume. You did not mention Irfan Hussein, same goes for his book. Looks like that these people mint their books overnight. Recommend

  • Apr 29, 2012 - 10:12PM

    @Harsh: Pakistan’s share of reserves was due in 1947 but it was blocked by Indian govt until 1948 to try and hurt Pakistan’s chances of survival in the very first year of its existence.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 29, 2012 - 10:14PM

    @Riaz Haq: “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.”

    Depending on whether you use IMF, World BAnk or CIA fact book data, size of Pakistan’s economy is between 45 the and 47th. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofcountriesbyGDP_(nominal)

    Also Pakistan was included in the Next 11 in 2005 by Goldman Sachs. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. In fact Morgan Stanley has downgraded Pakistan from Emerging market country to a frontier country.

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  • Naeem khan Manhattan,Kansas.
    Apr 29, 2012 - 10:18PM

    Although this article is thought provoking but very depressing, I ask the question why and how we have come to this ” brink”, Is it that we have failed to educate the masses and created this bi or even tri- level education systems in Pakistan where nobody is teaching the kids at the kinder garden level to be honest, hard working and be cosiderate of others rights. Every one that I know of wants to be rich regardless how they do it and then wealth brings political power.The economic leadership did not do better either and they saw to it that the rich get richer because of their training of Lassie fair in Western Economic models and that include you Dr.Burki. How to control this runaway train is beyond me, it seems that Pakistanis are looking at some violent revolution in the near future, what else could be done is on the shoulders of young generation.

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  • logic wins
    Apr 29, 2012 - 10:32PM

    The reason the world is fixated with Pakistan, is the the volatile mixture of nuclear weapons
    and radical ideology.Events like the OBL raid and Mumbai attacks have also fueled interest
    in Pakistan.The strategic geographical location of Pakistan can also be blamed for attracting
    attention from the leading powers.It is not only the establishment which will steer the state towards safety but the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
    If we look at at populations of developing countries like India,China their aspirations
    are peace,progress,scientific development,brighter future for their children. It are these aspirations that drives the growth of the India and China.
    Pakistanis have to decide what their priorities are.

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  • Apr 29, 2012 - 10:42PM

    @ayesha_khan: Pakistan’s economy is the 27th largest in terms of PPP GDP which is more relevant than nominal GDP for measuring actual purchasing power.

    Your knowledge of Pakistan’s place on Goldman Sachs’ growth map is outdated. In his recently published book “The Growth Map”, Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill of BRIC fame has reiterated Pakistan’s long term growth prospects as part of the Next 11 (N-11) group of nations which includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam. In fact, Goldman Sachs has recently launched an N-11 equity fund (GSYAX) to enable investors to take advantage of growth in the Next-11 group of nations which includes Pakistan.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/03/pakistan-on-goldmans-bric-n11-growth.html

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  • Naresh
    Apr 29, 2012 - 11:09PM

    @Riaz Haq:
    .
    You stated “Pakistan has consistently defied prophets of doom since its birth, when Pakistan state was broke in 1947 because India refused to give Pakistan its share of Sterling reserves.”
    .
    Although India Paid Pakistan its share, Pakistan has still not paid the Rupees 300 Crores – about US$ ONE BILLION at 1947 Exchange Rates – that it owes India since 1947!
    .
    Meantime please update you Pakistan Population Figure. As per the 2011 Pakistan Census the Pakistan Population is 197 Million and I reckon by now it is 200 Million!
    .
    Cheers

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  • Falcon
    Apr 30, 2012 - 12:16AM

    To give another perspective on the issue; in the last decade, there has been a sudden surge in demand for information pertaining to Pakistan because of its play in the war on terror. On the other side, traditionally, not a lot of good books have been written in Pakistan on the different type of risks it is facing (specially the ideological ones) and how these can potentially converge. Putting it all together, since the demand outweighs supply of information in the short-term, whatever is dramatic, fits the pre-conceived mold of worldwide perception regarding Pakistan, and is oversimplified will sell (for at least some years till a sizeable body of quality literature emerges).

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  • Anjaan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 1:08AM

    @ Riaz Haq & Ali Tanoli,

    Pakistan is indeed a big country in terms of population and economy. I think you Pakistanis owe it to some extent to the repeated loan waivers and rescheduling offered by the US backed financial institutions in the past decades. Moreover the generous American military and developmental aid for the last several decades, with no accounability whatsoever, has played a major role in survival of Pakistani economy in spite of the huge military expenditures.

    There is already news floating around about Pakistan opening the NATO supply route in exchange of another complete loan waiver coupled with hike in transit fees.Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Apr 30, 2012 - 1:16AM

    @Riaz Haq:
    Your knowledge of Pakistan’s place on Goldman Sachs’ growth map is outdated.
    I don’t see how it is outdated – @ayesha_khan has mentioned that the N-11 was suggested in 2005, which is correct. This group is basically the Developing-8 group of muslim countries (excluding Malaysia) along with Mexico, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam – where Pakistan and Bangladesh have the dubious distinction of the lowest per capita GDP among them. Pakistan’s potential is now seen in terms of its huge (and growing) population – unfortunately without proper education (again lowest literacy levels among the above) and adequate infrastructure creation, this is not going to yield any long-term benefits (pls don’t send me another link from your blog). Further, pls note that when comparing economic growth and power, nominal GDP is always the relevant benchmark, while PPP makes sense when assessing the relative standard of living across countries. By your standard, India is already the third largest economy in the world.

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  • Shabbir
    Apr 30, 2012 - 1:21AM

    @Riaz Haq: Why don’t you visit India and give a report about its present condition and prospects? You seem to be a armchair expert on knowing how poor and backward India is. Why don’t you go there and see it in person and then confirm it for the whole world. why do just keep quoting fringe material which supports how downtrodden India is?

    Why should the readers of this newspaper be interested in India?

    Why focus on India? Should you not just ignore it and focus on Pakistan? Do you not see how it needs your help, Mr. Silicon Valley?

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 1:26AM

    @Naresh: Are you a self-appointed debt collector for India’s bogus debt claims? The fact is that India never equitably shared with Pakistan the civilian and military assets at the time of partition. Even former British colonial officials have acknowledged this fact.

    As to population figures, the primary criterion used by Goldman Sachs for membership of a developing nation in BRIC and N-11 is the size of its population. So higher population and younger demographics means that Pakistan’s potential is even greater than Goldman Sachs’ O’Neill expects.

    Youth literacy is in mid-70% range and growing, and young people are spending more time in schools and colleges to graduate at higher rates 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.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/10/pakistans-expected-demographic-dividend.html

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  • Cosmo
    Apr 30, 2012 - 1:43AM

    @Riaz Haq:
    “Pakistan carries a lot of poison stored in its body” thats the truth u need to see!

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  • Ashamed
    Apr 30, 2012 - 2:23AM

    @Riaz Haq:
    You are very selective about the statistics you quote! Pakistan’s growth rate during 2011 was 2.4 percent and it was ranked 128th out of 185 countries. See the website;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofcountriesbyrealGDPgrowthrate(latest_year)

    The statistics are on a wikipedia website.

    Please do not let facts confuse you.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 3:12AM

    @Riaz Haq:
    Per UNICEF, 97% of Indian kids are enrolled in school compared to 66% of Pakistani kids. Youth literacy in Pakistan is 79% for males (88% for India) and 61% for females (74% for India). I prefer to trust these sources to the Harvard sources you quoted.

    Also when comparing national GDPs, nominal GDP is the more appropriate figure to use. PPP is more relevant when comparing per capita GDP

    Finally I am unsure what you mean when you say that my knowledge of Next 11 is outdated? I stated that the idea was introduced in 2005 and that has not changed.

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  • Spud
    Apr 30, 2012 - 3:23AM

    @Riaz Haq: India paid Rs. 55o million to Pakistan. It is a lie to say that India did not give any money to Pakistan in those early days. If Pakistan does become a strong economy by 2025 it will be good but present indications are that it is likely to be a basket case as it has been for the past several decades. It survived by getting money from USA.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 3:49AM

    @Shabbir: Unlike the Indian commentators here whose main source of info is highly biased Indian media, I have actually visited and compared both South Asian neighbors. And I think average Pakistanis are much better off than average Indians. This is not just my opinion; it’s also the opinion of others such as Reuters’ Alaistair Scrutton, British writer William Dalrymple, Indian journalists Hindol Sengupta & Yoginder Sikand and others who have actually traveled through both nations and compared ground realities.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/12/pakistans-m2-motorway.html

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Apr 30, 2012 - 4:22AM

    @Riaz Haq: ” … Youth literacy is in mid-70% range and growing, and young people are spending more time in schools and colleges to graduate at higher rates than their Indian counterparts

    Quantity has a quality of its own … Joseph StalinRecommend

  • rehmat
    Apr 30, 2012 - 4:24AM

    @Riaz Haq: The next 11 were chosen purely due to the size of population. Within these 11, they were ranked using GES (Growth Environment Score) and Pakistan’s score was the lowest. Not a single country has been dropped from the original 2005 list including Iran where Goldman Sachs is not currently allowed to invest, so the fact that Pakistan continues to be in the list does not mean anything. While announcing the fund based on N-11, GS stated that it was most heavily invested in Turkey, Mexico, Korea and Vietnam. Also countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria were pure frontier market play. It was completely silent about Pakistan.

    Also the notion of betting on these 11 countries was due to the expected demographic dividend. The demographic dividend however can only be realized in countries which invest in health and education of the kids thus making them employable in the labour force. Pakistan’s net enrollment rate in primary school as well as infant mortality rate is by far the lowest and Pakistan continues to reduce its development expenditure making a turnaround in these metrics anytime soon unlikely.

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  • Maria
    Apr 30, 2012 - 7:48AM

    From the way that people from India have rallied against Riaz Haq, he must have struck a chord. It seems that the the evidence of his information with quoted facts from impartial sources has taken some wind out of their steam. Thanks for pointing out a great deal Mr. Haq. I admire your rejoinders to the detractors who want to ignore the facts you are providing! I recently visited Pakistan and could sense that a great deal of improvement was under way in the society- especially among young people in Punjab. It is only a matter of time before it spreads across all segments of society and all regions.

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  • Jim
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:08AM

    How cruel of you all to jump on @Riaz Haq and not allow him to live on his delusions. Just let him be people. Each day is looking brighter for Pakistan.

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  • Sajida
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:25AM

    @Meekal “Why they cannot take the bull by the horns and undertake meaningful reforms which would serve their interests as well, I don’t know.” many governments are like that and not just amongst developing countries as the recent economic crisis is revealing. .Some are not even working to address caused by demographic changes also. If developed countries are like that, it is a tall order to expect that of Pakistan whose Government persits in clinging to 19th century form of local government that was flawed even when it was operating at the time!

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  • Sajida
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:34AM

    @logic wins by the world you mean US and allies are “” fixated with Pakistan, is the the volatile mixture of nuclear weapons and radical ideology.” They are fixated on pakstan because they want to blame someone for losing in Afghanistan.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/25/why-i-refused-to-fight-afghanistan-occupation
    Why I refused to return to fight in Afghanistan’s brutal occupation
    The Taliban clearly has broad support from Afghan people. Conscientious objection is a right and obligation in a failed war
    These same countries are conflicted about”radical ideology” since they cozy upto the Saudis who are the fount and chief nourishing source of this ideology.

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  • Sajida
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:39AM

    Why are Indian’s comparing themselves to Pakistan?
    They should compare themselves to China and ask themselves why China has only 37 million doing open defecation and India has 660 million doing that? Maybe the fecal matter that is in the local water has gone affected their thinking?Recommend

  • Sajida
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:46AM

    @rehmat “The demographic dividend however can only be realized in countries which invest in health and education of the kids thus making them employable in the labour force.” very true. Pakistan needs to help its population and so does India and US. The able part of India is aging and its poor malnourished (and with deficient brain power because of malnourishment) will be its dominant generation. In the US the poor minorities will dominate as white majority ages. In fact the dominant generation was born last year so time is short. If their education is not improved before they start school, US will be unable to remain a developed country.

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  • bharat
    Apr 30, 2012 - 10:16AM

    The question of Pakistan is not growth but survival

    Will Pakistan survive ?

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  • Wellwisher
    Apr 30, 2012 - 10:30AM

    *IMF is most worried about Pakistan, because there are two economies running simultaneously- one by the civilian government and another by the Army. What Pakistan is going to do to make it one? *

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  • Raj
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:14AM

    @Riaz – So what Indian places have you visited? Share your experience at grass root level please. Please don’t quote some third party analysis of India and Pakistan and some Indian journalists quote on Pakistani highways and then your interpretation on the same based on your convenience.

    I am sure India has lot of problems to deal with but I would like to know whether you really understand what the problems are or you just copy paste quotes from internet and do a superficial analysis.

    By the way I don’t want to deny your claims on the infrastructure of India and Pakistan as honestly speaking I don’t have enough information on the same. It is very much possible that urban centres of Pakistan especially Islamabad has much better infrastructure and transport facilities than Indian metros as well as the highways in Pakistan are better and similar to that in West.

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  • BlackJack
    Apr 30, 2012 - 12:03PM

    @Sajida:
    …Maybe the fecal matter that is in the local water has gone affected their thinking?
    It is unfortunate that the debate is reduced to this level – but even this can be addressed using facts; Fecal matter (and hence unsanitary conditions) is considered to be the primary agent for the spread of polio; again, Pakistan has the dubious distinction of being one of the last 3 nations on the globe still not to eradicate the disease – you do the math.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 1:13PM

    @Riaz Haq:

    Selective History is pretty dangerous. Pakistan went to war with India within few weeks of separation. And, you talk about money. So, withholding money is a greater event than attacking of Indian Territory, under the guise of Religion, is it?

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 1:25PM

    Pakistan chose to goto war within a few weeks of its birth. Its founder famously wanted aid from a Super Power and its help to guide Pakistan. Those basic trends have still not changed today. Pakistan still is a revisionist power, wants aid without accountability and is playing footsie with power which are dozens of times larger than its own.

    Pakistan’s outlook hasn’t changed one bit in the last 65 years, which compels one to note that Pakistan is incapable of change. That can only happen if the basic foundation of Pakistan is faulty, the very idea has to be questioned.

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  • Max
    Apr 30, 2012 - 3:08PM

    People are jumping up and down without reading the article. Some are taking very antagonistic positions for no reason and regrettably some just like it that way. The hostile feeling between Indian and Pakistani readers need to diffused. Mr. Burki is not talking of traditional India-Pakistan rivalry nor did he say anything that may ignite the situation. Please relax, read, and then comment. It is a simple book review and nothing else.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @Sajida: “Pakistan needs to help its population and so does India and US. The able part of India is aging and its poor malnourished (and with deficient brain power because of malnourishment) will be its dominant generation.”

    You make a valid point about India Sajda. The only thing is that people have been demanding AND getting more allocation to education and healthcare. Today net enrollment in school going children is 98% in India. Thi is a remarkable achievement given the highly rural composition of Indian population. For the last few years infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate have also received focus and are improving at a much quicker pace than before. There is also better monitoring of things like vaccination which allowed India to finally become polio free. So while things are clearly not perfect, they are moving in the right direction.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 7:51PM

    @ ayesha_khan: After 64 years of independence, the harsh reality is that India is still home to the world’s largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates who still defecate in the open.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/08/63-years-after-independence-india.html

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  • Singh
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:10PM

    Riaz Khan I don’t need to say anything, just watch any Pakistan TV or Indian TV on internet and make your own judgment.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 8:19PM

    @Riaz Haq: “After 64 years of independence, the harsh reality is that India is still home to the world’s largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates who still defecate in the open”

    Yes. It is a reality when you consider absolute numbers. But both of us know that India is earnestly working to address the issue of literacy of young kids and has 98.5% net enrollment in school In other words only 1.5% school age kids are not in school. The comparable number for Pakistan is 34%. Per latest available UNICEF figures, youth literacy in India is 81% and that in Pakistan is 70%. Infant mortality rate in India is 47 compared to 63 for Pakistan. Recently news about the double counting Pakistan GDP was published in Tribune and it appears that this double counting was going on for last 10 years. Why then would anyone trust poverty numbers emanating from Pakistan that state that only 17% people live under poverty line? Also the question is if only 17% Pakistanis are poor, why are 34% of them not sending their kids to school? Despite defecating in open, India has eliminated polio. Pakistan is yet to do so.

    Do check out the UNDP published HDI rankings. India is amongst the medium development countries and Pakistan among the low development countries as per the report published in 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ListofcountriesbyHumanDevelopmentIndex

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 8:55PM

    @ ayesha_khan: I suggest you read Katherine Boo’s “Behind Beaiful Forevers” to understand the reality of India’s school enrollment figures. She documents that a large number of the slum children “attend” ghost and fraudulent schools where the money is pocketed by corrupt Indian politicians and officials.

    Also, look at drop-out and graduation rates in India as documented by Harvard researchers Barro & Lee who clearly show that Pakistani is doing better than India on these metrics.

    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.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/08/pakistan-ahead-of-india-in-graduation.html

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  • Hella
    Apr 30, 2012 - 9:07PM

    @Riaz Haq, Forget India .It is a lost case. Can’t understand why Muslims in Pakistan a country formed for Muslims have performed so poorly. It is 64 years since Independence. By now Pakistan should have had 100 % literacy for all, very low infant and maternal mortality, clean drinking water and sanitation for 100 % population and a GDP per capita(PPP or otherwise) of $ 20000+. Why has this not been achieved?

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  • Sami
    Apr 30, 2012 - 9:26PM

    @ Ayesha_Khan: You might be right with regards to your argument with Riaz Haq, but you need to provide some proof. You have provided no solid data to back you up and Riaz Haw has provided more than enough to prove his point.
    Your main source of information seems to be Wikipedia, which we all know is not reliable because anyone can go in and write their own points and figures.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 9:32PM

    @Hella:
    I like the fact that you aim high, and I agree that Pakistan should have done significantly better than it has. To understand it, let’s look at the East Asian experience which has some important lessons for Pakistan.

    The East Asian nation of South Korea has become a great model of economic success for the developing world. Back in 1960s, its annual per capita income was around $80, less than half of Ghana’s at the time. Today, it stands at $30,000, comparable to that of some wealthy European nations. For most of this period, the people of South Korea have ignored the Washington consensus, the western prescription on economy and politics, to achieve this miraculous progress.

    In 1960s and 1970s, Korea was led by military ruler General Park Chung-Hee who put in place the policies which helped Koreans realize their great potential. President Park made huge investment in infrastructure, health and education. In addition, South Korean analyst Ha-Joon Chang says that the Korean government “practiced many policies that are now supposed to be bad for economic development: extensive use of selective industrial policy, combining protectionism with export subsidies; tough regulations on foreign direct investment; active, if not particularly extensive, use of state-owned enterprises; lax protection of patents and other intellectual property rights; heavy regulation of both domestic and international finance.”

    Pakistan, too, was ruled by a military dictator General Ayub Khan in a period labeled by Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain as “the Golden Sixties”. General Ayub Khan pushed central planning with a state-driven national industrial policy. In fact, South Korea sought to emulate Pakistan’s development strategy and copied Pakistan’s second “Five-Year Plan”.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/03/should-pakistan-ignore-washington.html

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 10:01PM

    @Sami: I did provide a link for the UNDP ranking on HDI in my earlier post. I had quoted UNICEF as a source for primary school enrollment, IMR, youth literacy but since you want a url, here you go

    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/indiastatistics.html
    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/pakistan
    pakistan_statistics.html#88

    By the way, I appreciate the civil tome you used. Any discussion based on fact and data can and should remain civil.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 10:41PM

    @Sami: While all of South Asia ranks low on human development, what the HDI does not reflect is the basic reality that Pakistan has lower poverty rate (World Bank), less hunger (World Hunger Index), better sanitation (UNICEF) and higher graduation rates and more years of schooling (Barro & Lee) than India.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/10/india-and-pakistan-comparison-update.html

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 10:47PM

    @Sami: You did question the wikipedia url which really reflected the UNDP rankings. HEre is the actual UNDP source for the exact same information.
    http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/
    I have also separately provided the UNICEF links for data related to net school enrollment, IMR and youth literacy
    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/indiastatistics.html
    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/pakistan
    pakistan_statistics.html

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  • ayesha_khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:07PM

    @Riaz Haq: I looked at the Barro and Lee report and it only includes people that got enroled to begin with. Since percentage enrolled in Pakistan is much lower, this is not an apples to apples comparison. Please see the following ranking by NAtionmaster
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eduaveyeaofschofadu-education-average-years-schooling-adults India has 5.1 years of average schooling vs. 3.9 years for Pakistan. This is understandable given that India spends more on education (4.1% ) compared to Pakistan (who spends 1.8%)
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edueduspe-education-spending-of-gdp

    Finally here is the post from Express Tribune stating that the GDP has been overstated for the last 10 years – something that IMF and World Bank did not pick up on since they use derived numbers and do not have access to raw numbers. Why then would you believe the poverty numbers especially when you see that 34% of kids of school going age are not enrolled in school despite poverty ratio only being 17%?

    Finally the concept of HDI was introduced by an Indian and a Pakistani economist. Just picking and choosing metrics selectively does not change the fact that certain metrics have been used by UNDP after much discussion and debate to assess the state of human development. And while you satated that all South Asian countries have low HDI, the fact is that India is included amongst the Medium Ranked HDI countries (ofcourse Sri Lanka is much higher still). I have provided the UNICEF links in an earlier post.

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  • SK - Salman
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:15PM

    @Riaz Haq, @Sajida, & @ Maria: I echo your sentiments and statements. The hate displayed from the Indian trolls is what convinced me long time ago about the need of Pakistan as a separate nation. 64 years is a drop in the ocean in the annals of history. I believe we have a glorious future ahead of us, regardless of what others, specially our antagonists, wish for us.

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  • Rationalist
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:25PM

    @Riaz Haq:

    “PPP GDP which is more relevant than nominal GDP for measuring actual purchasing power.”

    But, when it comes to global trading prowess, it is the total nominal GDP that is important. Otherwise, a tiny country of one million with a PPP GDP of three times that or Pakistan can also claim to be a global economic power. See the difference?

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  • Hella
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:29PM

    @Riaz Haq, Thanks for your reply. Yes one should always aim high and its about time Pakistan does that. All we have had in the last 64 years is under-performance (on a massive scale) with excuses and useless comparisons with its under-performing neighbour. This article is about Pakistan and still India comes in (how does that help?). Lets hope Pakistan stops looking at its neighbour and benchmarks itself against South Korea. Regards

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  • Rationalist
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:39PM

    @Sajida:

    “China has only 37 million doing open defecation and India has 660 million doing that?”

    Wonder how one would count the number defecating in the open! Do they send a million observers to every open field and count the numbers?

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  • May 1, 2012 - 1:39AM

    @ ayesha_khan: You claim that you read “Barro and Lee report and it only includes people that got enroled to begin with.”

    No, it does not. It gives the total enrollment rate & completion rate for 15+ age group. It shows that enrollment in Pakistan is lower (not “much lower” as you claim) than India’s. And Nationmaster data is old, and not used by any researchers.

    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

    http://www.barrolee.com/

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  • gp65
    May 1, 2012 - 2:39AM

    @Rationalist: “Wonder how one would count the number defecating in the open! Do they send a million observers to every open field and count the numbers?”

    I am a patriotic number and unfortunately these numbers about India are true. They were collected during the latest census. Now I don’t know how reliable Pakistani and Chinese numbers are and what their sources are. This is one of the focus areas that the minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh is concentrating on.

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  • May 1, 2012 - 5:52AM

    Analyzing the book by Anatole Lieven, “In Pakistan: a hard country (2011)”,The writer says that the ‘hard’ in the book’s title has several meanings. To begin with, the country is not easy to understand. It is full of contradictions: modernisation versus extreme conservatism; asceticism versus love for the good things of life; a tradition of philanthropy versus little regard for the sufferings of the less advantaged; isolationism versus a deep desire to work with the world, in particular the West.* Sir, I do beg to differ with the causes stated above. Because all these causes are equally true for India or in a way on any country with multireligious and multi-social society. But why Pakistan is in such turmoil and not the others. I firmly believe that all those other countries including India have accepted the reality that the majority population has to create space for the minority communities. They are struggling to bring them at par with the majority community and protecting all their rights in the greater interest of their country. Where as Pakistan since beginning has worked in the opposite direction by excluding others. They are still debating “Pakistan ka matlab kya” and are busy isolating even those Muslim sects who want to be with them. How can you be not under threat when you are threatening others by active violence.

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  • Rationalist
    May 1, 2012 - 8:08AM

    @Riaz Haq:
    You are forgetting one very important point in your cut and paste jobs. The agencies that compile these data get the numbers from the governments of the countries concerned. It is very well known that Pakistani establishment has consistently been fudging its data sent to the world bodies to make Pakistan appear better than India. Right now there is and article right here in ET that talks about how Pakistan fudged the economic growth data. No number coming out of Pakistani government is reliable.

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  • Raw is War.
    May 1, 2012 - 10:37AM

    @ Rationalist

    absolutely agree with you. Pakistan’s GDP is keeping pace with India – but their growth is just half. Explanation. Figures are fudged when submitted to IMF.

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  • Amjad
    May 1, 2012 - 7:12PM

    @Raw is War.: If you think that numbers from India are more reliable than numbers from Pakistan, then you are mistaken. I think even more fudging of facts and figures go on in India to deceive the world about so called “growth” when over half the population there doesn’t have access to a toilet.

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  • May 1, 2012 - 7:55PM

    @amjad: A recent book “Behind Beautiful Forevers”, author Katherine Boo exposes the false Indian propaganda with lots of anecdotes and data.

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  • vigilant
    May 1, 2012 - 10:00PM

    @Harsh:
    would u like 2 elaborate when???

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  • 321
    May 1, 2012 - 11:58PM

    @Spud:

    do u not read the other comments? or even know history? india withheld money from pakistan in the beginning. and yes they did give us our share later though.

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  • arjun
    May 3, 2012 - 5:02AM

    @Sajida: I cannot understand how pervert a human mind can be after seeing what you have written. Considering how bad Pakistan is at this point. Just pervert delusions

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