Stories about growth

Budget 2017-2018: Is Pakistan really on the upward trajectory?

With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size.  The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...

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Pakistan and India: Friends abroad always, enemies at home always always

As someone who had been raised in the United States by Pakistani immigrants, I have always found it difficult to fathom the animosity between Pakistanis and Indians living in South Asia. All the aspects of life that bring the two groups together – from music and food, to values and mannerisms – get clouded out by the venomous politics between the countries’ governments. During this time of celebration for the 69th year of independence of Pakistan and India, I strongly believe that the only way forward is for the citizens of both these countries to recognise their shared experiences ...

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Is Twitter dying a slow death?

The importance of social media cannot be overstated. It has gained significant value in the personal, social, professional and corporate aspects of our lives. The public is believed to be the biggest beneficiary of these social networking tools as they have provided people with a decent opportunity to share their opinions, independently. This is endorsed by a few happenings in the recent past. From the Arab Spring to US Presidential Elections 2012, Pakistan’s GE 2013, Operation Zarb-e-Azb, and Shahzeb Khan’s murder case, there are numerous examples at which the public shared its voice, anger, opinion and led a change. Twitter, the subject under discussion today, gained significant popularity as being the leading source ...

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What will happen to the stock market if the PM resigns?

In 2007, I underwent a six-hour-long marathon panel interview at the London office of one of the (then) largest hedge funds in Europe called XYZ Capital*. A senior partner – perhaps a PhD holder – drew the entire map of the Middle East, East Asia and Europe, and tested my knowledge about the current affairs of each country turn by turn. After a gruelling session, the partner remarked, “An investor may have the best of quantitative minds but markets don’t make sense if the political factors don’t make sense.” I engraved it then but have only felt it now. Surviving through the minor speed breakers ...

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Agriculture is our golden goose; don’t kill her, my dear Industrialists

The projection of economic growth as something evil, that benefits only the rich, is wrong. Even so, equally erroneous is taking the GDP number for a sacrosanct symbol of sure-fire prosperity for all. Praise is due to the government’s economic team for various improvements in the macro-economy: five per cent growth in first quarter (Q1), about 10 per cent appreciation in the rupee within three months, and excellent performance of the stock market – all reflect recovery. Yet, how these gains are shared with the neediest of the needy remains to be seen – and only this should be taken as being an encompassing yardstick of success. Historically, Pakistan’s ...

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Why tech-based entrepreneurship is important

Technology based entrepreneurship has rapidly gained momentum in western societies with low costs to entry and high Return on Investment (ROIs) acting as the prime catalysts. The trend has piqued interest in Pakistan recently as well for similar reasons. Consequently, entrepreneurship courses and workshops are gaining interest among the country’s youth. As recently as a month ago, there was news in The Express Tribune about a book exchange project launched by two students of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. This was truly a commendable effort and such entrepreneurial spirit can only be facilitated through the innovative use ...

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How golden was Ayub Khan’s era?

The numbers do not lie: in terms of economic growth, former President Ayub Khan was not the best ruler Pakistan ever had. Admittedly, he is in second place and beaten only very narrowly by former President Ziaul Haq: Ayub averaged 5.82% growth during his eleven years in office compared to Zia’s 5.88%. Still, the myth of Ayub’s “Decade of Development” persists and so it is worth examining (on what would have been his 105th birthday), what his record was and how he compared to the rest of Pakistan’s rulers. Perhaps the single biggest reason people remember Ayub’s era fondly is because ...

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One dozen provinces, please

Recently, the voices calling for the division of Punjab have been getting louder and louder. But do we really need to? What will the consequences be? What are the advantages? My personal view is that many people are demanding division for their petty agendas, but the step is not in the larger interest of Pakistan. Keeping personal interests aside and treating the matter without bias we have come to the conclusion that: Pakistan has certainly developed but not uniformly, many smaller cities have been overlooked (not only in Punjab but in all provinces) Facilities are not provided equally to people of all regions A ...

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Drowning and helpless

There are many ways in which you can feel helpless. You feel helpless when you think about college, you feel helpless when you realise that very few people around you actually remembered that Thursday was International Literacy Day. And it doesn’t help when someone tells you that 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed since 9/11. One of those times, and the most recent, involved a car, submerged in waist deep water, stuck while reversing over a ditch, with the water level inside the locked car rising exponentially, the rain thundering outside and leaking through the crack in the window, and with ...

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Why Pakistan and India must increase bilateral trade

Since 2008, Pakistan has been experiencing the lowest average GDP growth of all South Asian countries, at 3%. Few will disagree that this is perhaps among the biggest challenges that Pakistan is facing at present. China and our arch-rival India are both booming, both experiencing over 8% GDP growth for the past few years. It should be borne in mind that both countries have been rivals themselves and had a border dispute many years ago that erupted into a war. However, both have realised the mutual benefits of trading with one another and whatever disputes they may have had are ...

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