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Subject: At 58, Pakistan shining like never before
K2    9/23/2005 11:09:19 PM
Of the 184 member countries of the IMF, Pakistan's rate of economic growth is second only to China. The rate of growth in our Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) is at a 30-year high. Construction activity is at a 17-year high. Tax receipts are the highest they have ever been. Consumption of electricity and the production of cement are both at a record high. Insurance premiums are at a record high, and at the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Pakistanis are registering new companies at a rate that they have never done before. Just what does it all mean? It means that more Pakistanis now own their own homes than ever before. It means that more Pakistanis now own cars than ever before. It also means that more Pakistanis now own motorcycles than ever before. This all simply means that Pakistan is richer now than ever before. It's true that rich Pakistanis are getting richer but an average Pakistani is also doing better today than ever before. If owning a car is the definition of being "rich" then here is the raw data: In 1999, Pakistanis could only afford to buy a total of 32,461 locally assembled cars. The latest annual figure stands at 115,000. Currently, there are 1.3 million cars on Pakistani roads as opposed to 815,000 cars some five years ago; a 60 percent jump in car ownership. It's true that the "trickle-down-affect" of the massive new wealth being generated is yet to make any meaningful dent in overall poverty. But, if "leaving poverty behind" means owning a motorcycle then here is the raw data: In 1999, a total of 94,881 new motorcycles were sold in Pakistan. In 2005, Pakistanis are going to buy -- or lease -- some 500,000 new motorcycles. What that means is that a half million Pakistanis have "left poverty behind". Look at mobile telephony, for instance. Over the past five years the number of Pakistanis owning mobile phones has gone up from 306,000 to 10.4 million (as of April 2005). Etisalat, UAE's telecom giant, is depositing a colossal $2.59 billion into our treasury for a 26 percent in PTCL. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is getting $291 million each from Telenor, Warid, Paktel and Mobilink. The last time I looked at the figure, Pakistan's private sector had borrowed a wholesome Rs325 billion -- a historical record in itself. Pakistan's private sector is borrowing to buy industrial machinery, import capital goods, finance automobiles, buy motorcycles, tractors, buy houses, get advance salaries, undertake renovations, buy televisions, computers, refrigerators, microwave ovens, refrigerators, deep freezers, DVD players and vacuum cleaners. At 58, Pakistan is shinning like never before. So, the economy is robust and Pakistanis are richer now than ever before but what about democracy? To begin with, democracy is not a predefined destination of some sort. To be certain, democracy is an ongoing process whereby, over the passage of time, every sovereign entity becomes either less or more democratic. Isn't the real essence of democracy to increase the standard of living of the masses? Consider the Local Government Election 2005, for instance. It's true that power in Pakistan remains highly centralised but grass-root democracy is doing at least some of the things that democracy is meant to be doing. It's true that we don't have enough schools and that we don't have enough health clinics. But, where there are public schools teachers don't show up to teach and where there are public health clinics doctors don't show up to treat. On August 23, The New York Times ran "Local politics in Pakistan offers hope for democracy". Qaim Din Khan is up for re-election for the coveted post of nazim. In his previous tenure, Qaim Din was given the equivalent of $3,500 in development funds. Qaim Din had three choices: One, enrich private pockets with public funds. Two, use the funds to buy patronage. Three, spend the money in order to improve the delivery of public services to his constituents. Qaim Din spent the development funds on paving 40 streets in his area and installed 10 new transformers. Qaim Din faces three challengers all of whom are promising to pave even more streets and install even more transformers. Electoral accountability seems hard at work. The Times concludes that "pressured by nazims, government doctors and teachers are now more likely to be at their posts. Drugs are also available more often in public health clinics." Our economy is shinning, democracy is not. We need to sustain the economic growth for at least another decade while, at the same time, working even harder on the democracy part. Source: Jang / The News
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kranti    RE:At 58, Pakistan shining like never before    9/24/2005 8:28:43 AM
Pakistan has the potential to become a great nation.But it will fail in this endeavour if it fails to separate religion and the state.
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Shah Rukh    RE:At 58, Pakistan shining like never before    9/24/2005 4:51:20 PM
Great news K2. U asked for links for my previous article...Here You go: Its an official Pakistani site...i get most of the information about Pakistan form here ;-)
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HoundOfHello    RE:At 58, Pakistan could be shining even more if...   9/24/2005 9:00:05 PM
I agree with kranti on this one. Kudos to Pakistan for its recent developments, but be more forceful in telling the mullahs to stick to the pulpit, not the politician's chair. Pakistan's got major potential, but as long as there are people preaching martyrdom through suicide bombings the world is going to be on your backs, wouldn't you agree? Democracy is also something that Pakistan should reconsider in my opinion. Hold elections and reform your military structure so that every time a PM fails to act according to his station, a power-mad general doesn't throw him out. I'm not going to be one sided here though. The same definitely goes for India with regards to religion. Support for hindu militant groups like the VHP and the BJP will inevitably lead to the alienation of certain groups of people (*cough cough* Muslims *cough cough*). We should be integrating them into mainstream Indian life and culture, not driving them out. However at the same time, don't appease them too much. A uniform legal and civil code can coexist with freedom of religion right? The bottom line: If India and Pakistan embrace each other and finally get over their differences, they will be unstoppable. The only thing that is stopping us is ourselves. -HoH
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TopGun       9/5/2006 4:35:49 PM
very nice article.  Their truly is a lot of good going on in Pakistan, unfortunately the media poorly picks up on these issues, but thats ok, as improvements should occur for genuine reasons and not for public consumption.  Pakistan truly has much potential despite not having any large oil reserves(like other middle-eastern countries), yet its consumer class is rising rapidly to over 40 million and the % of those living below the poverty line is now less than 23%.  Furthermore, its population is well on its way to being under control, having achieved the 2nd fastest decline from high population to steady population(after China) and has no risk of spiralling out of control like that of its neighboors India( and even Bengladesh) which despite all the rants of its economic boom(no surprise, when ur population is over 1.1 billion) will always remain in a perpetual state of chronic endemic poverty and class/social divides.  This is something that Pakistan does not face and many analyst point to the similarities of Pakistan and the late militaristic Japan of the early 20th century, whose population also began to stabilize and whose government was militaristic and involved in nation building. The way the economy has picked up, the steady rise in Foreign Direct Investment, the now booming trade with surrounding countries(China, Dubai and recently Afghanistan), logistical supports provided to Internation forces in Afghanistan, the countries geostrategic location on the border of 4 continents(Middle East, Central Asia, Asia, South Asia) making it ideally suite for investment and its slowing population growth rate are sure to pay their dividends in the next few years.  Pakist is surely an interesting country to watch for.  I strongly believe, that the US should help this loyal ally from the 50's and not forget the sacrifices and hardship it has often undertaken for our benefit.  To have such a strong Muslim ally is indispensible at this time and hour, we need to help Pakistan develop its infrastructure, economy, conventional arms and most of all, help it return to a stable democracy. 
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Pakistan Power       2/19/2007 4:44:52 PM
i agree with Top Gun... we need to be doing a better job a promoting ourselves but maybe, its good to be the silent under-dog... have a silent rise similar to what China is doing and what Japan did!
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