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Political economy & socioeconomics


MDGs: long way off from Pakistan It won’t be too hard to guess that Pakistan is not on target to meet the Millennium Development Goals, aimed to be reached by 2015. The World Bank’s recent Global Monitoring Report 2011 reiterates this view, though with a more optimistic stance than any average Pakistani might hold. MDG goals focus on enhancing access to education, reducing gender disparity in education, eradicating poverty, improving maternal health and improving water and sanitation facilities. Compared to its South Asian peers, – India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – Pakistan is on target for only a few of the goals, while the others have managed to be on the road to achieving more targets than Pakistan. The star of the quad is Sri Lanka, which is on target for most of the goals. Interestingly one of the very few goals that Pakistan is on target to meet, is poverty reduction. In this aspect the country has beaten regional ...

Two to tango ‘Reforms’ is perhaps one of the most resounding words in Pakistan these days. From drawing rooms to ‘chai-khanas’; from Islamabad to business hubs, this word is ringing bells everywhere -- with most participants passing the bucket to the government. The government, no doubt, is responsible for providing basic amenities for the populace. But it is increasingly becoming evident, in the words of certain officials, that social contract between the government and the governed is breaking down. “You ...
Count on, for better policy decisions After a hiatus 13 years, the government is finally undertaking the gigantic task of putting an official figure to the number of heads vying for the scant resources of Pakistan. The magnanimity of the task can be quite daunting. After all, many important policy decisions are based on this exercise until the next census takes place. Simple as it may seem, what hold particular importance vis-à-vis this exercise are the policy implications that the census embodies. From ...
Celebrate aid-dependency? Many might look at the $650 million and $125 million loans approved by the Asian Development Bank and World Bank through rose-tinted glasses. After all, they’re an extra brace on the crutches of fiscally-limped Pakistan. At least, so it seems. But the hitches and ‘ifs and buts’ attached to such loans is what makes one revisit the apparent idealism in such assistance. Reconstruction of roads, bridges, irrigation systems, etc. with the help of ADB loans may appear ...
An eye for an eye? The issue of strike against extortion in Karachi is multifaceted – and it is increasingly becoming complex in the wake of the ‘political hijacking’ of the movement and the divide between the trade bodies.   Karachi, like several other big cities of past and present, has had a history of gang wars, and other types of crimes like kidnappings, protection money, and so forth. So yes, it makes sense to strive for the elimination of the same.   However, ...
Put the creative foot forward Leadership and creativity have some common traits: not everybody is good at it and those who are, are often envied, ridiculed, or despised for their guts. The biggest similarity, perhaps, is the debate on, whether leaders and creative folks are born – as in God-gifted – or made, is still on. Yet, in the case of creativity, at least one thing is certain: once creative reserves are proven, its success can be amplified using the forces ...
EU concessions: Where are the lobbyists? In the context of Pakistan’s trade relations, two recent developments stand out. One spells hope, the other raises concerns. Recall that the lobby of Turkish denim manufacturers had pushed its government to enhance the duty on Pakistani fabric from 6.5 percent to 34.5 percent – an increase of 28 percent – which in the words of Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, advisor to prime minister on textile, “would have virtually seized exports to Turkey”. Well, after weeks of efforts, ...


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Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 30, 2015
Reserves $19.828 bln