Stories about economic

Is the New Silk Road really an economic corridor for China and Pakistan?

While the world is busy tackling the ISIS and its look-alikes in the Middle East, China, on the other hand, has other plans to chase. One such plan is reviving the centuries old Silk Route, or the New Silk Road – a series of routes that were important in the past for cultural interactions and trade between the East and the West. As part of this revival, China recently announced working on a high speed train from Lanzhou to Urumqi, capital of the troubled Xinjiang province. It is also rumoured that the train may, in future, reach out to regional states including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey, along with ...

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After 67 year, we are still unprepared for rain

When it rains in Pakistan, the words of Ardeshir Cowasjee seem very pertinent: “Gutter tou bana nahi saktay, atom bomb banatay hain”. (They cannot even make a gutter but are making atom bombs). Rain, a blessing of nature (or should I say curse in disguise), has wreaked havoc in parts of Punjab and Kashmir. It has not only cost lives and casualties, but also led to the spread of water-borne diseases. These torrential rains have flooded areas where lands have been cleared, people have been displaced and livestock has been harmed. One wonders then whether authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Water and Sanitation ...

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Mr Prime Minister, is your government really the emblem of economic progress?

Forget, for a moment, that your panic and desperation resulted in the nation giving unnecessary attention to Tahirul Qadri. Forget the fact that once again the law enforcers in Punjab, under the umbrella term of law and order, put behind bars thousands of workers of the political parties that were giving you a tough time. Forget, for now, about the fact that what would have been just another march or protest became even bigger because you dug a hole for your own government’s future by over-reacting. Let us even forget for a moment that this political mayhem has us wondering whether democracy will ...

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‘Metronomics’ in Lahore: We may be heading for an ‘F’

What brings economic progress to a country? Social scientists have argued for good institutions, trade-suited geographical placement, favourable climatic conditions, cultural homogeneity among a country’s peoples, and – lo and behold – even their superior genetic makeup. Yet, no sociologist has suggested relegating the laws of economics to history’s waste bin. Endowments of nature (such as those listed above) are important indeed, but their apt utilisation (good economics) is much more important. Fiscally speaking, any new project a public official decides to pursue needs a thorough pre-evaluation by experts. Economists have tools to compare a given project’s usefulness to other potential ones. ...

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Why Obama’s America needs Modi’s India

India’s image has altered considerably over the past few years in the eyes of the Western world due to the increasing influence with regards to global economic growth, steady consolidation with the international market economy, orientation of nuclear weapons, delivery capability of national defence strategies and effective introduction of new technologies of communication. In order to pursue its interest of maintaining its status as a super power, America needs to sustain long lasting and strong relationships with India. By calling India a ‘very important strategic partner’, the US hopes the new Indian government will help in the sustenance of their ‘enduring partnership’. The support and cooperation of India’s new Prime ...

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Four misconceptions about Narendra Modi

India’s new prime minister is a man of contradictions. He covets foreign investment and embraces globalisation, but he also speaks limited English and harbours hard-line Hindu nationalist views. He is alternately described as a pro-business reformer and an anti-Muslim ideologue. Narendra Modi, who was sworn in on Monday, is a complex figure. Not surprisingly, he is also dogged by many misconceptions. Four in particular are getting a lot of mileage these days. Now is the right time to expose them. 1. Modi has been banned from the US since 2005 Observers routinely claim that Modi has not been allowed to visit America since 2005. Actually, this is not technically true. In ...

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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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The myth of Musharraf’s ‘economic boom’ needs to die

A recent article ‘Have you forgotten all that Musharraf did for you, Pakistan?’ by Mr Rafay bin Ali regurgitates a popular myth – dictatorship is better for Pakistan’s economy. The author uses cross-regime comparisons based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size to argue that Pervez Musharraf was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan’s economy. Like all myths, this fable is also sustained by a crafty combination of truth and fiction. But it crumbles once we separate the flimsy truth from the falsehood that it conceals. To do this, we must analyse the methodological flaws in the framework used by the ...

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Democracy cannot work in Pakistan, not yet

In 2015, we will celebrate our 68th year of independence. In these 68 years, the world around us has changed a lot. For better or for worse, we too have changed as a country. The only thing that has remained constant for us over time is the ever prevalent outcry for a democratic political system. To put it in the simplest of terms, a democratic system is one in which a government is elected by a voting process where every eligible citizen is entitled to vote. It is not however ‘majority rules‘ as many of us assume it is — that is a fallacy. ...

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Can the banking sector help Pakistan’s education crisis?

Pakistan is going through an economic crisis. It has been years since the nation has been suffering. For more than 60 years, the nation has put up with different politicians and military dictators. We have no one but ourselves to blame. We are the one who welcomed each of these rulers as our saviours. Despite all of these governing problems, we see that the private sector has sustained itself, and is growing no matter what the circumstances may be. A recent study shows that large private sector organisations can impact the country’s GDP by working on becoming more efficient and improving ...

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