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Archive for category Pakistan-A Nation of Many Faiths

Seven Big Challenges for Pakistan—and the Lessons They Could Teach  By Imran Ali , Ali Akbar & Benjawan Yanwisetpakdee

Pakistan-A Nation Given Lemons by its Enemies Makes a Lemonade

Seven Big Challenges for Pakistan—and the Lessons They Could Teach

 By

Imran Ali, Ali Akbar & Benjawan Yanwisetpakdee

Pakistan may be viewed as a case study of the fight for the survival of modern human civilization. Its complex and dangerous problems are not without possible solutions and the strategies that the nation chooses to provide a model for the rest of the world.

 Humans have made enormous advancements in technology. Unfortunately, the challenges to human civilization are also rising quickly. Our ignorance and mismanagement of resources have led us down the path of uncertainty, and we now need all of our available technology to survive. Pakistan is perhaps most known for its struggle with terrorism. Meanwhile, few associate the country with the fight for modern civilization’s survival. Dwindling natural resources, continuous natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and economic instability in the region make for a worst-case scenario for human development. Pakistan is neighbored by China and India, the most populous nations on the globe, so its failure would start a chain reaction of global. On the other hand, the country’s success in meeting current challenges could make it a model for counteracting the problems of modern civilization. This article offers an overview of the major challenges confronting Pakistan, along with possible solutions that provide lessons for the rest of the world.

 

 

 

 

 Challenge 1: Population Explosion

 An average Pakistani woman gives birth to five children, thanks to a preference for large families and a particular desire for sons. Because of high birthrates and increasing life expectancy, Pakistan has one of the highest population growth rates in the world and is expected to become the fourth-most-populous country by 2050. Rising population triggers many other crises, including food shortages, energy and resources crises, and disease outbreaks.

Possible solutions: Pakistan’s rapid population growth highlights the need for effective family planning. Although the government has shown serious interest in the issue, the effects of its efforts are limited. According to one survey, each family welfare centre is visited by an average of two couples per day. The main reasons behind the problem are the overall low education and literacy rate and the inadequate mobility of Pakistani women. Pakistani society is dominated by men; women are scarcely seen in any walks of life, making them an invisible and inactive segment of the country. To help balance society, the government must require education for all citizens. Similarly, increasing the proportion of women in the workforce would increase women’s mobility. Along with free supplies of contraceptives, government incentives to limit childbearing can also motivate couples to use birth control.

Challenge 2: Food Security

Nearly 75% of Pakistan’s population resides in rural areas, where agriculture is the way of life. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not developed its food security policy at the national level. The agricultural sector has slowed by 2.7% from 2000 to 2010, and the country now struggles to provide its people with a sufficient amount of food. Calorie availability is, on average, 26% lower than that found in developed countries. Due to an inadequate food supply, many Pakistanis face the problem of malnutrition. The unmanaged slaughtering of animals, unregulated livestock smuggling to neighbouring countries, and a shortage of livestock feed make it impossible for the poor population to access beef and other meat. Approximately 17,000 acres are deforested every year, causing the depletion of wild resources from the forest, unprecedented ecological misbalance, and loss of biodiversity. The main factors involved in decreased food production are overpopulation, water shortage, energy deficiency, poor soil, and natural disasters. Most of the soil in Pakistan is deficient in macro- and micronutrients. Salinity and waterlogging add to the problem. More than 70% of Pakistan is arid and semiarid regions, where rainfall is insufficient for irrigation of crops; most rainwater is lost due to rapid evaporation and surface runoff, while floods and droughts cause further damage. Rapid urbanization also contributes to food shortages, as fewer people are now available to work on farms in rural areas. Meanwhile, with almost no technology inputs in many parts of the country, traditional farming cannot meet the increasing demand for food. A lack of infrastructure makes it very difficult to transport food from farm to fork.

 Possible solutions: Pakistan has enormous potential to increase its food supply with agricultural reforms. Nearly 20 million acres of cultivable land is unused. Construction of major dams could provide an additional 2.5 million acres of land suitable for agricultural purposes. Pakistan has the chance to become self-sufficient if it can reach even 30% of its potential. National agriculture policy is needed to counteract the low food supply. The government has focused primarily on increasing wheat production, but in order to tackle malnutrition, it must focus on other nutritious crops, livestock, and fruits. To keep up with the increasing population, the agriculture sector must maintain an annual growth rate of more than 5%. The government, with the help of the international community, must improve rural infrastructure in order to develop Pakistan’s agricultural sector. Similarly, poor farmers need access to easy, corruption-free loans to increase their crop yields and improve agricultural practices.

 Challenge 3: Energy Crises

Among developing countries, demand for electricity will rise 40% by 2030. In Pakistan alone, the demand for energy is expected to increase sevenfold. Yet the oil- and gas-reliant country, which currently imports 75% of its energy, lacks the necessary infrastructure, long-term planning, and institutional frameworks to meet current needs, let alone future energy requirements. The energy crisis badly affects the country’s agriculture, economy, the way of life, and technological advancement. A continuous rise in oil prices and electricity is causing inflation and devaluing the currency. Energy is becoming increasingly inaccessible the average person. These conditions are raising agitation, anger, and riots in the frustrated people of Pakistan.

 Possible solutions: Fossil fuels comprise 80% of the world’s energy supply. Rising fossil fuel prices highlight the need for renewable energy sources in Pakistan. Hydropower, solar energy, biomass utilization and wind power are some of the best sustainable energy options for Pakistan. Pakistan’s location is blessed with unending sources of solar energy. Pakistan receives up to twice the solar radiation needed to power solar photovoltaic appliances, such as water pumps. It is estimated that Pakistan’s hydropower is operating at only 15% of its potential. Biomass utilization, especially biofuel production, can fulfil the oil requirements of energy. About 70% of Pakistan’s land is uncultivated and could be utilized to grow crops with high biofuel potential. Livestock in Pakistan is a good source of wet dung and can yield substantial biogases for fuel purposes. Additionally, Pakistan has the capacity to produce 400,000 tons of ethanol per year from its sugarcane crops.

 Challenge 4: Disease Outbreaks

 Pakistan’s rapid urbanization is creating numerous problems, the most threatening of which is disease outbreaks. Water sources in and near big cities are at risk due to wastewater mismanagement.

 In Pakistan, wastewater use in agriculture carries a wide risk of diseases. Food-borne diseases are also a concern, and natural calamities such as frequent floods add more severity to the outbreaks. One study of southern Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, found that diarrhoea and hookworm related diseases were common among farmers working in farms fed by wastewater. Other diseases run rampant: Several types of hepatitis are very common. Due to political propaganda and misinformation, the fight against polio is much tougher. HIV is on the rise. And typhoid, malaria, and tuberculosis are still uncontrolled. Currently, the most serious disease outbreaks are dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). DHF is mostly found in the eastern part of the country, while CCHF is mostly found in the west. From 2005 to 2006, more than 3,640 patients were found to have DHF symptoms.

 Possible solutions: Proper wastewater management can minimize the risks of many diseases, such as hepatitis, malaria, dengue, and typhoid. Although using wastewater in agriculture can be beneficial for Pakistan’s nutrient-deficient soil, its use must be coupled with the pretreatment of water to get rid of any chemical and microbial contamination. Diseases that are spread by human contacts, such as CCHF, must be handled with proper care when dealing with patients, as well as animals. Education and awareness by religious scholars can help to lift the fight against polio and HIV. Health must be given priority in rehabilitation after natural disasters. Along with the global community, Pakistan’s government must be built measures for fighting disease outbreaks—especially ones that may bring global catastrophes.

 Challenge 5: Socio-economic Instability

 According to the Ministry of Finance’s annual economic survey, Pakistan’s GDP growth in 2013 was 3.6%, down from 4.4% in the previous year. The economy is severely affected by the energy crisis, terrorism, and the global economy, and the country operates with a large deficit, thanks to the administration’s reluctance and inability to cut spending or raise taxes. Meanwhile, the value of the Pakistani rupee has decreased in recent years. Each time the rupee falls, both inflation and foreign debts increase. More than 60% of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line, leaving many unable to obtain or pay for food, healthcare, education, and energy. While many factors contribute to the country’s rampant poverty, the energy crisis, in particular, has a strong effect, because of its negative impact on Pakistan’s agricultural and industrial sectors. Entire factories are often outsourced, which leads to unemployment and disturbs supply and demand and the balance of imports and exports. Unemployment and poverty have led to high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide, as well as an increase in crime. Unemployed youth are frequently targeted for recruitment by terrorist organizations, who offer them the means to afford food and an opportunity to show their anger against society. Most of the country’s suicide bombers are under 20 years old.

 Possible solutions: Pakistan has to deal seriously with its energy crisis. Consistently available and affordable energy would lubricate agriculture and industry, which would, in turn, raise GDP and increase employment opportunities. Coupled with reforms to corrupt government spending and tax collection policies, increasing tax rates on certain sectors would provide the country with much-needed growth. Improved infrastructure would result in better trade opportunities with China and central Asia, while better trade between India and Pakistan could bring enormous economic benefits to both countries. The government needs to focus efforts on decreasing suicides and improving mental health. Public sports programs and technical education for unemployed youth would provide the country with young, healthy, and skilled labourers and members of society. And laws aimed at improving income inequality could help to eliminate hate throughout society.

Challenge 6: Natural Disasters

 Mother Nature seems unhappy with Pakistan, which faces severe crises with continued floods, earthquakes, drought, and global warming. Despite heavy investment in irrigation, Pakistan is vulnerable to continuous floods. Due to climate change, the intensity of floods in the Himalayan rivers has increased in the past 20 to 30 years. Human intervention in Pakistan has worsened scenarios by building unnecessary embankments and improperly using the land. The Indus flood of 2010 was one of the greatest disasters in the history of mankind, affecting more than 14 million people and killing nearly 2,000, with approximately US$9.5 million worth of losses to business, agriculture, and other parts of the economy. According to the UN, the humanitarian crisis caused by the flood was even greater than Japan’s 2011 tsunami and the disastrous earthquakes of Haiti and Kashmir. Nearly all the world’s glaciers are on the verge of disappearance, including the Himalayan glacial reserves. Billions of people in the Indian subcontinent rely on this water reservoir, which supplies the Indus, Ganges, and other rivers. Over the past century, the average global temperature has increased by 0.6°C (1°F) and continues to rise. The Himalayan glaciers have begun to melt, threatening frequent floods, loss of water reservoirs, and a rise in sea levels. Climate change has also been observed as a trigger for the increase in the outbreaks in northwest Pakistan of Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that causes malaria. Similarly, a continuous decrease in precipitation, especially in arid and semiarid areas,  is causing a long-term drought. Pakistan is located in a region that experiences frequent earthquakes. In 2005, a devastating, 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 82,000 people and injured more than 126,000. The earthquake also triggered massive landslides and caused dams to break.

 Possible solutions: Natural calamities cannot be avoided, but their intensities, frequencies, and effects can be minimized. Floods in Pakistan are caused by excessive monsoon rain and global warming. Construction of dams can help to store the excess floodwater, which can be used for agriculture and to generate hydroelectricity. Global warming must be fought at the global level by controlling greenhouse gas emissions and by using a carbon credit system. The government of Pakistan must ban the extensive deforestation in the country, as well as solve the energy problem because the trees are mostly cut for energy requirements. Improving public transport systems would minimize individual car usage. There is also a need for nationwide applicable building construction policy to control the effects of earthquakes. Earthquake-proof houses have proven effective, and nationwide quick-response emergency teams equipped with modern technologies can minimize the aftereffects of natural disasters.

Challenge 7: Nuclear War Threats

 Pakistan is of great geostrategic importance. India and Pakistan have fought three major wars and many small military conflicts. The warrior minds are visible as both sides spread the hate and push for war at all times. It may be that they simply do not fully understand the consequences of a war between two countries. The outcomes will not be regional; they will bring global suffering. India is a big country with superiority in conventional weapons and instruments of war. However, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal compensates for this disparity. Each country has more than 100 nuclear warheads at its disposal. A nuclear war between the two countries could kill more than 20 million people in the region, while a nuclear winter caused by the generation of smoke could cripple agriculture of the whole world.

Possible solutions: Both Pakistan and India—and in fact, the entire world—are left with no option but to resolve all their issues through dialogue. War is never a solution to any problem and always a trigger for other problems. The international community must insist that both countries sit together and have a dialogue under UN mediation. There are better uses for nuclear technology than bombs. In the winter, winds are blown from Pakistan to India, and in the summer, Pakistan receives winds from India, making it impossible for these neighbours to think that they will be unaffected by nuclear war. Strategies, Prospects and Hope Pakistan is facing huge, interconnected problems in many areas. The problems begin with people, and, in Pakistan’s case, with overpopulation. The increasing population will require more energy, food, employment, and health facilities. The avail problems, including employment, food production, and underdeveloped infrastructure. The long-term strategy should focus on health care, education reforms, infrastructure development, promoting agriculture, and counteracting explosive population growth. Conditions in Pakistan are not perfect, but not all is bad. Pakistani society looks well aware of the challenges they are facing. Thousands of new PhD scientists generated by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan look committed to providing scientific solutions to the problems Pakistan is facing. For instance, researchers have introduced drought-resistance crops to counter the food shortage. High-yield seed varieties are being used to increase the production of food and fodder crops. There is a considerable amount of ongoing practical and applicable research on renewable energy, and food-safety experts are doing considerable research to ensure safe food handling. Pakistani authorities are serious about mitigating the country’s challenges. For years, Pakistan’s government has tried to control the population. The Lady Health Worker (LHW) program has succeeded by providing basic maternal health facilities in rural areas. The LHWs provide guidance in contraception processes and lead to jobs and mobility. Even given the tumultuous world economy, the Karachi Stock Exchange is showing exceptional progress. In 2013, exports increased slightly, while imports declined. The federal budget looks promising in raising tax net and revenue, controlling inflation, and improving development projects. The government is working to build new dams for controlling floods, as well as to increase hydropower In light of the recent disastrous floods and earthquakes, the role of Pakistan’s people and the government has been appreciable. Establishment of the country’s National Disaster Management Authority looks like a good initiative by the government to manage the effects of natural disasters. And the international community’s responses have shown that it is ready to stand with Pakistan. The Pakistani political regime looks promising in promoting good relations with India. As reported by The Indian Express, Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif has said that he is looking to make a new beginning with India in pursuit of disarmament and nonproliferation and that Pakistan is getting out of the arms race. Such statements are encouraging for the peace process between the two countries. We humans have been given brains more tremendous than any other creature’s. The only destruction we can inflict on ourselves is to be ignorant of what is happening around us. Most of the world’s countries will face the same scenarios that are now happening in Pakistan. Pakistan’s geographic centrality means that any crisis can quickly spread to neighbouring countries. Even though its problems are great, there are solutions that are applicable to the rest of the world. Pakistan still has the strength and opportunities to fight back. The country’s failure or survival will symbolize the defeat or success of the fight for modern humanity.

 About the Authors

Imran Ali (lead author) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Plant Biomass Utilization Research Unit at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and a lecturer at the University of Balochistan in Pakistan. Co-authors include Ali Akbar (University of Balochistan, Pakistan), Hunsa Punnapayak (Chulalongkorn University), Sehanat Prasongsuk (Chulalongkorn University), and Benjawan Yanwisetpakdee (Chulalongkorn University). The authors thank Chulalongkorn University in Thailand for providing access to literature. The Research Grant Funds have been provided by agreement on Post-Doctoral Research Grant Allocation from the Ratchadaphisek Somphot Endowment.

 

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Pakistan-Born on Night of Power: The Miraculous Aspect of Pakistan’s Date of Birth By  The London Post

Pakistan-Born on Night of Power:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Miraculous Aspect of Pakistan’s Date of Birth

By

 The London Post
 –

By
Tariq Majeed  

 

All along the series of important events which led to the emergence of Pakistan, there were signs of divine help at critical junctures. However, there was one occasion when the Hidden Hand of divine power left such a clear imprint of its presence that no one could deny it. This was the matter of appearance of the New State on the map of the world at a pre-determined date.
 
The time chosen by Allah was most blessed in nature. It was the month of Ramazan, the day was the Last Friday, Jumuatul Widaa, the night was 27th of Ramazan, widely acknowledged as Lailatul Qadr, the time was the moment of Midnight.

Exactly at that moment when the hour clock sounded its last toll on the radio, signalling a new day and date, the birth of the State of Pakistan was announced. The date in the lunar calendar was 27 Ramazan 1366 corresponding to 15 August 1947.

It ought to be made clear that Pakistan’s Independence Day is actually 15 August. This was divine power’s decision; making it 14 August was a human decision. It should be realized that August 14 was Thursday, 26th of Ramazan, and had no special merit.

British Parliament’s Indian Independence Act of 18 July 1947 also mentions 15th of August as “the appointed day” for the birth of India and Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah took the oath of office as Governor-General on the 15th. He was aware of the significance of this date and also of the mission entrusted to this country—of becoming a model Islamic state based on Islamic economic, social and moral values.   Speaking at a public reception in Chittagong, on 26 March 1948, he said:

This biggest Muslim State came into being on 15th August 1947. It was a great day in our history. But, on this great day, it was not merely a Government which came into existence, it meant the birth of a great State and a great  Nation—one supplementing the other and both existing for each other. I can understand the limitations of those amongst us whose minds have not moved fast enough to realize that 15th of August ushered in such a State and such a Nation.

It is natural for some to think only in terms of Government but the sooner we adjust ourselves to new forces, the sooner our mind’s eye is capable of piercing through the horizon to see the limitless possibilities of our State and of our Nation, the better for Pakistan. Then and then alone it would be possible for each one of  us to realize the great  ideals of  human progress, of social  justice, of equality and fraternity which, on the one hand, constitute the basic causes of the birth of  Pakistan and also the limitless possibilities of evolving an ideal social structure in our State.1

It was on 29 June 1948 that the Cabinet under Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan “decided that henceforth Independence Day of Pakistan would be celebrated on 14th August.”2

As the Hidden Hand implementing the divine scheme of things uses earthly means, who was used as the instrument for proclaiming the pre-determined date of Partition? It was not the British government or the Hindu Congress or the Muslim League. The instrument was Mountbatten, who had been chosen for the role two years in advance.

Mountbatten leaned toward the Hindu Congress and was quite friendly with its top leaders, while toward the Muslim League and its Pakistan Plan he nourished hostility. However, divine schemes have their own ways of bringing about the desired events; a villainous character may well do something beneficial, while a benign character may turn out to be harmful.

Until the end of 1946, there was no sign that Britain would quit India anytime soon. But the year 1947 came literally with whirlwind changes. On 20 February 1947, British Prime Minister Attlee made a surprising policy statement in the Commons, announcing this historic decision:“…His Majesty’s Government wishes to make it clear that it is their definite intention to take the necessary steps to effect the transference of power into responsible Indian hands by a date not later than June 1948…” 3

This was a momentous turning point in the political situation in India. The events that followed rapidly converged on creating Pakistan. Earlier, on 18 December 1946, Attlee called Mountbatten to 10 Downing Street and invited him to succeed Wavell as viceroy in India.4 He gave parting instructions to Mountbatten:“…If by October 1 you consider that there is no prospect of reaching a settlement on the basis of a unitary government…you should report… on the steps which you consider should be taken for the handing over of power on the due date..” 5

Mountbatten reached Delhi on 22 March and was sworn in on the 24th.  From 24 March to 10 April, he held intensive meetings with Nehru, Gandhi, Liaquat and Jinnah. His mind was focused on the 1 June 1948 date, by which transference of power had to be completed. Then, abruptly his mind changed; a compelling urgency seized him. A new transfer of power plan took shape.

His voice constricted with sudden emotion, the victor of the jungles of Burma about  to become the liberator of India announced: ‘The final Transfer of Power to Indian hands will take place on 15 August 1947.’ 8

Marvellous spectacle! Conceived and directed with absolute precision by the unseen forces of divine power.

“And none can comprehend thy Sustainer’s Forces save

Him alone and all this is but a reminder to mortal man.” 9

 

References

1.   Jinnah, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali: Speeches as Governor General of

Pakistan 1947-1948. Rawalpindi, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, p. 99.

2.   Letter, dated 27 August 2005, by Director National Documentation Centre,

Cabinet Division, in reply to my questions on the subject.

3.   Nicholas Mansergh and Penderel Moon, eds. Constitutional Relations between

Britain and India: The Transfer of Power 1942-47, Vol. XI, London, Her

Majesty’s Stationery Office, first published 1983, Section 45, P. 89.

4.   Stanley Wolpert. Jinnah of Pakistan, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1984, P.304.

5.   Ibid, p. 314.

6.   Britannica, 1977, Micropedia, Vol. VII, p. 90.

7.   The Transfer of Power 1942-47, Vol XI, Item 44, p. 88,

8.   Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. Freedom At Midnight, Delhi, Vikas

Publishing House, 1976.  pp. 164,165.

9.   Qur’an Majeed, Surah 74, Ayah 31.

 

The London Post

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Forget India, profit from ‘quiet rise’ of Pakistan, S Lanka, BD: Barron’s Asia & Pakistan: An Undiscovered Land Of Opportunities by Bader Al Hussain

Sri Lanka-BD-Barrons-AsiaForget India, profit from ‘quiet rise’ of Pakistan, S Lanka, BD: Barron’s Asia

Forget India, profit from ‘quiet rise’ of Pakistan, S Lanka, BD: Barron’s Asia

ISLAMABAD: Investors should forget India and instead profit from the ‘quiet rise’ of Pakistan along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Barron’s Asia said.

“Forget India. Investors looking for the next big thing should look to its South Asia neighbours instead — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,” America’s financial magazine in an article said.

According to the article, the three countries with a combined 390 million people represent what Morgan Stanley chief global strategist Ruchir Sharma calls “the quiet rise of South Asia” as opposed to India which has been “flattered by spasms of hype for years”.

While overshadowed by their larger neighbour, the trio is enjoying fast-paced growth, embracing much needed reforms, and look set to enjoy a demographic dividend over the long term. “A substantially higher economic growth rate than in many other economies globally, coupled with fantastic demographics that will continue supporting growth for many years ahead,” East Capital fund manager Adrian Pop tells Barron’s Asia.

The article mentions that Pakistan is the flag-bearer of the positive changes taking place in the South Asian nations. Since coming to power five years ago, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has got inflation under control, cut the budget deficit and reined in the current account deficit. But more importantly, terrorism finally appears to be on the backfoot given more assertive action by the army. Chinese investment has also poured in: $50 billion will be spent on new roads, transport links and energy projects.

“More power capacity is key for Pakistan to move to an even higher economic growth rate,” says Pop. That will benefit stocks in materials and energy.In December, the Pakistan Stock Exchange sold 40 percent of itself to a consortium of Chinese investors.

The Karachi stock index is up by about 50 percent since the start of last year, propelled by index compiler MSCI’s decision to bump up the country to emerging markets status. That will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars from passive funds into the Pakistani benchmark. The rally in stocks has arguably left the market looking a little pricey as the KSE 100 index trades at over 12 times earnings, its heftiest valuation since late 2009. That’s still about a 15 percent discount to the MSCI emerging markets index, however, plus Pakistani stocks yield an attractive 4 percent-plus dividend.

Bangladesh benefits from a growing working age population and rising labour costs elsewhere in Asia. Garment manufacturing for Western clothing companies has increasingly moved from China to places like Bangladesh, where wages are lower.

The article said in August it tipped downstream firm Pakistan State Oil (PSO.PK), which has since risen 10 percent. It’s worth hanging onto that stock, but we’d add upstream exploration player Oil & Gas Development (OGDC) to the mix too.

Shares in the Islamabad-based company have powered up 45 percent in the last year, and could rise by a further 30 percent.Oil & Gas Development will benefit from any further recovery in oil prices, which have roughly doubled since hitting their nadir last February.

Earnings per share should rise by 17 percent in full-year 2017 and 20 percent in full-year 2018. Oil & Gas Development trades at eight times forward earnings, which is toward the higher end of its historical valuation. That multiple is more compelling than exploration peer Pakistan Petroleum (PPL), however, which trades at 10 times next 12 months’ earnings.

About Lahore’s DG Khan Cement (DGKC), which is one of the country’s largest cement producers, with a capacity of more than four million tons a year. The stock also makes a good foundation for a Pakistan portfolio.

At the end of December, the countries jointly announced a $14 billion dam project close to DG Khan’s HQ in northern Pakistan. The dam will need about a million tons of cement.

Shares in the company have returned a solid 50 percent over the last year. DG Khan’s valuations looks a bit less stretched than that of rival Lucky Cement (LUCKY), which investors were told to pour into their portfolio over summer.

DG Khan trades at 10 times forward earnings, compared to Lucky’s 16 times. Its dividend yield of 2.6% is also bigger than its rival. Brokers think DG Khan can rise by as much as 25 percent.

Reference

Pakistan: An Undiscovered Land Of Opportunities

|

Includes: NTWK, PAK, PKKKY

Bader Al Hussain

Growth, long-term horizon, research analyst, long/short equity

Summary

Lowest market P/E in the region with the highest return.

Macroeconomic stability.

Upgradation of Moody’s rating of the country.

Pakistan is the 26th largest economy according to PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), and the sixth largest populous country in the world with a burgeoning middle class, having 54% of the population below the age of 24 years. In news, Pakistan has been presented as the turbulent nation embroiled in militancy and political violence. However, the landscape of the country has been changing since the past two years, with an improving macroeconomic situation, steady political outlook and substantial improvement in law and order, and the upgradation of its bond ratings from Caa1 to B3, a stable outlook.

On 9th June 2015, the MSCI stated about a potential reclassification of the MSCI Pakistan Index into Emerging Markets from the current classification of Frontier Markets in its 2016 Annual Market Classification review. This categorization would trigger a large flow of emerging market funds to return to Pakistan as the MSCI Emerging Market Index is tracked by global funds worth $1.7 trillion, according to Bloomberg.

Further, in one of the lectures at the Aga Khan University, the Chief Investment Strategist of Morgan Stanley said that Pakistan’s rise is just a matter of time. This was due to the favorable demographics and the lower P/E of the stocks – performing better in terms of return – when compared to the markets of the developed world.

The KSE 100 Index, which tracks the top 100 companies out of the 557 listed on the stock exchange had a five-year US dollar CAGR of 25% (highest among its peers) and net profit margins 60% above the five-year average of the peer group whose margins are 10.2% lower than its five-year average. The Bourse has an average ROE of 19.2% against the peer average of 10.2%.

Pakistani stocks are cheaper when compared to their regional peers. Consider the following graph for further details:

As the above graph illustrates, Pakistani stocks have a lower P/E, P/B and higher dividend yield relative to its peers.

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Shukriya Pakistan – 30 November Islamabad

 What-place-the-tavern-in-Naya-Pakistan-10172014

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Are we wrong about Pakistan? – Telegraph & Comments To Editor

images-11
Khalid Nizami Saheb
Salam masnoon. I often say that don’t accept as the ultimate truths everything that western authors/mediamen say. They are Fasiq in Qur’anic terms: most of the time ignorant, a sizable number of them intentionally writing bad, knowing well that they are telling lies and their state of belief is questionable. The Qur’an commands: “O believers, if a Fasiq (sinner, liar, disobedient to Allah) comes to you with news, investigate, lest you harm people out of ignorance and later regret what you have done” (Al-Hujurat 49:6). This Ayat is about Muslim newsgivers and rumor-mongers. By that token I don’t have any trust of even the so-called Muslim media. They “sell” hot news and char it so that it reeks; they do never go for the truth. I know this by personal experience.
 
This tendency to accept everything from the sahib as the most right and denigrating Muslims however pious, honest, reliable they may be, was started by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and his associates, so much so that now we often present opinions of Carlisle, Margoliouth, Montgomery Watt as testimony of truthfulness, good character and success of the Rasool-Allah, knowing nothing about the original sources of Islam and the early masters who are now insulted publicly.
 
As for Pakistan, let the Pakistanis know that with14 August 1947 as the baseline, the ratio of progress made by Pakistan is far higher than that of India, given the economic conditions and state of infrastructure inherited from the British by the two countries.
 
Present sociopolitcial situation of Pakistanis due mainly to wrong leadership it has been suffering from for decades and failure of the people to know their friends and foes; and more than that failure to know their strengths and relevance.
 
Change the perception and see the difference. It is not as difficult as people think.
 
Muhammad Tariq Ghazi
Saturday 29 November 2014
 
 
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Are we wrong about Pakistan? – Telegraph

When Peter Oborne first arrived in Pakistan, he expected a ‘savage’ back water scarred by terrorism. Years later, he describes the Pakistan that is barely documented…
 
 
 

Are we wrong about Pakistan?

 
When Peter Oborne first arrived in Pakistan, he expected a ‘savage’ back water scarred by terrorism. Years later (Feb 2012), he describes the Pakistan that is barely documented – and that he came to fall in love with
 
 
The beautiful Shandur Valley of Pakistan Photo: GETTY
By
 

It was my first evening in Pakistan. My hosts, a Lahore banker and his charming wife, wanted to show me the sights, so they took me to a restaurant on the roof of a town house in the Old City. My food was delicious, the conversation sparky – and from our vantage point we enjoyed a perfect view of the Badshahi Mosque, which was commissioned by the emperor Aurangzeb in 1671.

 

It was my first inkling of a problem. I had been dispatched to write a report reflecting the common perception that Pakistan is one of the most backward and savage countries in the world. This attitude has been hard-wired into Western reporting for years and is best summed up by the writing of the iconic journalist Christopher Hitchens. Shortly before he died last December, Hitchens wrote a piece in Vanity Fair that bordered on racism.

Pakistan, he said, was “humourless, paranoid, insecure, eager to take offence and suffering from self-righteousness, self-pity and self-hatred”. In summary, asserted Hitchens, Pakistan was one of the “vilest and most dangerous regions on Earth”.

Since my first night in that Lahore restaurant I have travelled through most of Pakistan, got to know its cities, its remote rural regions and even parts of the lawless north. Of course there is some truth in Hitchens’s brash assertions. Since 2006 alone, more than 14,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks. The Pakistan political elite is corrupt, self-serving, hypocritical and cowardly – as Pakistanis themselves are well aware. And a cruel intolerance is entering public discourse, as the appalling murder last year of minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti after he spoke out for Christians so graphically proves. Parts of the country have become impassable except at risk of kidnap or attack.

 

Yet the reality is far more complex. Indeed, the Pakistan that is barely documented in the West – and that I have come to know and love – is a wonderful, warm and fabulously hospitable country. And every writer who (unlike Hitchens), has ventured out of the prism of received opinion and the suffocating five-star hotels, has ended up celebrating rather than denigrating Pakistan.

 

A paradox is at work. Pakistan regularly experiences unspeakable tragedy. The most recent suicide bombing, in a busy market in northwestern Pakistan, claimed 32 lives and came only a month after another bomb blast killed at least 35 people in the Khyber tribal district on January 10. But suffering can also release something inside the human spirit. During my extensive travels through this country, I have met people of truly amazing moral stature.

 
Take Seema Aziz, 59, whom I met at another Lahore dinner party, and who refuses to conform to the Western stereotype of the downtrodden Pakistani female. Like so many Pakistanis, she married young: her husband worked as a manager at an ICI chemical plant. When her three children reached school age, she found herself with lots of time on her hands. And then something struck her.
 
It was the mid-Eighties, a time when Pakistan seemed captivated by Western fashion. All middle-class young people seemed to be playing pop music, drinking Pepsi and wearing jeans. So together with her family, Seema decided to set up a shop selling only locally manufactured fabrics and clothes.
The business, named Bareeze, did well. Then, in 1988, parts of Pakistan were struck by devastating floods, causing widespread damage and loss of life, including in the village where many of the fabrics sold by Bareeze were made. Seema set out to the flood damaged area to help. Upon arrival, she reached an unexpected conclusion. “We saw that the victims would be able to rebuild their homes quite easily but we noticed that there was no school. Without education, we believed that there would be no chance for the villagers, that they would have no future and no hope.”
 
So Seema set about collecting donations to build a village school. This was the beginning of the Care Foundation, which today educates 155,000 underprivileged children a year in and around Lahore, within 225 schools.
 
I have visited some of these establishments and they have superb discipline and wonderful teaching – all of them are co-educational. The contrast with the schools provided by the government, with poorly-motivated teachers and lousy equipment, is stark. One mullah did take exception to the mixed education at one of the local schools, claiming it was contrary to Islamic law. Seema responded by announcing that she would close down the school. The following day, she found herself petitioned by hundreds of parents, pleading with her to keep it open. She complied. Already Care has provided opportunities for millions of girls and boys from poor backgrounds, who have reached adulthood as surgeons, teachers and business people.
 
I got the sense that her project, though already huge, was just in its infancy. Seema told me: “Our systems are now in place so that we can educate up to one million children a year.” With a population of over 170 million, even one million makes a relatively small difference in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the work of Care suggests how easy it would be to transform Pakistan from a relatively backward nation into a south-east Asian powerhouse.
 
Certainly, it is a country scarred by cynicism and corruption, where rich men do not hesitate to steal from the poor, and where natural events such as earthquakes and floods can bring about limitless human suffering. But the people show a resilience that is utterly humbling in the face of these disasters.
 
In the wake of the floods of 2009 I travelled deep into the Punjab to the village of Bhangar to gauge the extent of the tragedy. Just a few weeks earlier everything had been washed away by eight-feet deep waters. Walking into this ruined village I saw a well-built man, naked to the waist, stirring a gigantic pot. He told me that his name was Khalifa and that he was preparing a rice dinner for the hundred or more survivors of the floods.
 
The following morning I came across Khalifa, once again naked to the waist and sweating heavily. Pools of stagnant water lay around. This time he was hard at work with a shovel, hacking out a new path into the village to replace the one that had been washed away.A little later that morning I went to the cemetery to witness the burial of a baby girl who had died of a gastric complaint during the night. And there was Khalifa at work, this time as a grave digger. Khalifa was a day labourer who was lucky to earn $2 (£1.26) a day at the best of times. To prejudiced Western commentators, he may have appeared a symbol of poverty, bigotry and oppression. In reality, like the courageous volunteers I met working at an ambulance centre in Karachi last year, a city notorious for its gangland violence, he represents the indomitable spirit of the Pakistani people, even when confronted with a scale of adversity that would overpower most people in the West.
 
As I’ve discovered, this endurance expresses itself in almost every part of life. Consider the Pakistan cricket team which was humiliated beyond endurance after the News of the World revelations about “spot-fixing” during the England tour of 2010. Yet, with the culprits punished, a new captain, Misbah-ul-Haq has engineered a revival. In January I flew to Dubai to witness his team humiliate England in a three-match series that marked a fairy-tale triumph.
 
Beyond that there is the sheer beauty of the country. Contrary to popular opinion, much of Pakistan is perfectly safe to visit so long as elementary precautions are taken, and, where necessary, a reliable local guide secured. I have made many friends here, and they live normal, fulfilled family lives. Indeed there is no reason at all why foreigners should not holiday in some of Pakistan’s amazing holiday locations, made all the better by the almost complete absence of Western tourists.
 
Take Gilgit-Baltistan in the north, where three of the world’s greatest mountain ranges – the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas and the Karakorams — meet. This area, easily accessible by plane from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, is a paradise for climbers, hikers, fishermen and botanists. K2 – the world’s second-highest mountain – is in Gilgit, as are some of the largest glaciers outside the polar regions.
 
Go to Shandur, 12,000ft above sea level, which every year hosts a grand polo tournament between the Gilgit and Chitral polo teams in a windswept ground flanked by massive mountain ranges. Or travel south to Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, cradle of the Indus Valley civilisation which generated the world’s first urban culture, parallel with Egypt and ancient Sumer, approximately 5,000 years ago.
 
Of course, some areas of Pakistan are dangerous. A profile of Karachi – Pakistan’s largest city and commercial capital – in Time magazine earlier this year revealed that more than 1,000 people died in 2011 in street battles fought between heavily armed supporters of the city’s main political parties. Karachi is plagued by armed robbery, kidnapping and murder and, in November last year, was ranked 216 out of 221 cities in a personal-safety survey carried out by the financial services firm Mercer.
 
But isn’t it time we acknowledged our own responsibility for some of this chaos? In recent years, the NATO occupation of Afghanistan has dragged Pakistan towards civil war. Consider this: suicide bombings were unknown in Pakistan before Osama bin Laden’s attack on the Twin Towers in September 2001. Immediately afterwards, President Bush rang President Musharraf and threatened to “bomb Pakistan into the stone age” if Musharraf refused to co-operate in the so-called War on Terror.
The Pakistani leader complied, but at a terrible cost. Effectively the United States president was asking him to condemn his country to civil war by authorising attacks on Pashtun tribes who were sympathetic to the Afghan Taliban. The consequences did not take long, with the first suicide strike just six weeks later, on October 28.
 
Many write of how dangerous Pakistan has become. More remarkable, by far, is how safe it remains, thanks to the strength and good humour of its people. The image of the average Pakistani citizen as a religious fanatic or a terrorist is simply a libel, the result of ignorance and prejudice.
 
The prejudice of the West against Pakistan dates back to before 9/11. It is summed up best by the England cricketer Ian Botham’s notorious comment that “Pakistan is the sort of place every man should send his mother-in-law to, for a month, all expenses paid”. Some years after Botham’s outburst, the Daily Mirror had the inspired idea of sending Botham’s mother-in-law Jan Waller to Pakistan – all expenses paid – to see what she made of the country.
 
Unlike her son-in-law, Mrs Waller had the evidence of her eyes before her: “The country and its people have absolutely blown me away,” said the 68-year-old grandmother.
After a trip round Lahore’s old town she said: “I could not have imagined seeing some of the sights I have seen today. They were indefinable and left me feeling totally humbled and totally privileged.” She concluded: “All I would say is: ‘Mothers-in-law of the world, unite and go to Pakistan. Because you’ll love it’. Honestly!”
 
Mrs Waller is telling the truth. And if you don’t believe me, please visit and find out for yourself.
 
This article also appeared in SEVEN magazine, free with The Sunday Telegraph. Follow SEVEN on Twitter @TelegraphSeven

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