15
January

Demographic Dividend or Youth Bulge?

Written By: Farrukh Saleem

Pakistan's median age of 21.2 years – with a global range of 48.9 for Monaco and 15 for Uganda – makes Pakistan one of the youngest of countries in the world. By 2050, with an annual growth rate estimated at 2.07 percent, Pakistan is expected to become the fourth most populous state. Pakistan's population growth rate, its age structure, income distribution and the development of its human capital shall be the principal determinants of Pakistan's productive capacity.

In the 1960s, population growth rates in the East Asian region began decelerating, the working age population began expanding and the age dependency ratio went down sharply. For the following thirty years, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong managed to attain exceptionally high rates of economic growth and came to be known as the Four Asian Tigers.

Ireland was once one of the poorest of European economies. Over the 1995-2007 period, the Irish economy went through a phase of rapid economic growth that transformed Ireland from one of the poorest European economies to among the richest. Celtic Tiger, a term coined by Morgan Stanley, the global financial services entity, had demographic transition, is one of the most powerful of drivers behind that rapid economic growth. In the 19th century, population growth rates in Europe began decelerating, the working age population began expanding and the age dependency ratio went down sharply. For the following several decades, Europe managed high rates of economic growth.

Pakistan's population growth rate is decelerating, the working age population is expanding and the age dependency ratio is on its way down. All of these factors point towards a demographic transition with the potential of a huge demographic dividend resulting in a “rise in the rate of economic growth due to a rising share of working age people in the population.” Pakistan, at 186 million, is the planet's sixth most populous country behind China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil. Over the past six decades, Pakistan's urban population has increased by more than sevenfold whereby close to 40 percent of the population is now urban making Pakistan the second most urbanized country in South Asia.

Pakistan's median age of 21.2 years – with a global range of 48.9 for Monaco and 15 for Uganda – makes Pakistan one of the youngest of countries in the world. By 2050, with an annual growth rate estimated at 2.07 percent, Pakistan is expected to become the fourth most populous state. Pakistan's population growth rate, its age structure, income distribution and the development of its human capital shall be the principal determinants of Pakistan's productive capacity. According to the Economic Survey 2010-11, “Pakistan's population has been growing at a decelerating pace but still Pakistan has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Population growth has decelerated from 3.06 percent in 1981 to 2.07 percent in 2011.” Between 2014 and 2040, Pakistan's working age population is expected to expand.

According to the Economic Survey 2010-11, “Empirical evidence suggests that a large part of East Asia's spectacular economic growth derives from demographic transition, i.e. from working age population bulge because those countries have invested in their population and demographic1converted them in highly skilled human capital. This transition from a young to prime age population presented a demographic gift because East Asia has had relatively fewer young population compared with earlier periods which resulted in small group of dependents/non productive population. In countries where an increasing share of the population is of working age, economic growth per person tends to be highest and national saving tends to rise.”

Jack Goldstone, a professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and a consultant to the U.S. Government, has argued that a fast growing young adult population unable to find productive employment is a recipe for “social unrest, war and terrorism.” A study by Population Action International suggests a “strong correlation between countries prone to civil conflicts and those with burgeoning youth populations. Social scientists label this demographic profile 'youth bulge,' and its potential to destabilize countries in the developing world is gaining wider acceptance among the American foreign policy community. The theory contends that societies with rapidly growing young populations often end up with rampant unemployment and large pools of disaffected youths who are more susceptible to recruitment into rebel or terrorist groups. Countries with weak political institutions are most vulnerable to youth-bulge-related violence and social unrest.” Demographic dividend has to be reaped within a demographic window of opportunity. The Commission on Population and Development defines that window as the period “when the proportion of children and youth under 15 years falls below 30 percent and the proportion of people 65 years and older is still below 15 per cent.”

As per Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “Pakistan's population promises to remain youthful over the next few decades. In the 2020s, the 15-24 age bracket is expected to swell by 20 percent. Pakistan's under-24 population will still be in the majority come 2030. And as late as 2050, the median age is expected to be only 33.” Europe's demographic transition opened up the demographic window that remained open for some five decades. The Chinese window opened up in 1990 and is expected to remain open till 2015. Pakistan's window of opportunity won't remain open forever and Pakistan would have to build schools, hospitals, housing and roads – and build them fast. Pakistan would have to keep its youth educated, healthy and employed.

For Pakistan, would there be a demographic dividend or would it be a youth bulge? According to the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics: “For economic benefits to materialize, there is a need for policies dealing with education, public health, and those that promote labour market flexibility and provide incentives for investment and savings. On the contrary, if appropriate policies are not formulated, the demographic dividend might in fact be a cost, leading to unemployment and an unbearable strain on education, health, and old age security.”

The writer is an analyst who regularly contributes for national and international print and electronic media. Twitter: @SaleemFarrukh
16
January

Enduring India-Pakistan Hostility: Prospects for Conflict Resolution

Written By: Dr. Rizwana Abbasi

Then comes, the Modi Doctrine! This doctrine is focused on forceful maximization of political influence through greater maritime power thereby reinvigorating partnerships from Indo-Pacific to Asia-Pacific. The Modi Doctrine has transformed the Indian “Look East” policy to the “Act East” policy. India has forcefully redefined bilateral security partnerships with Japan, Australia, and the US-centric alliances, which are the salient features of this doctrine. Modi has been professing phrases like vikas vaad (peaceful development) and vistar vaad (expansionism) in the contemporary environment. Based on its expansionism notion, this doctrine seems more domineering, dangerous and aggressive in the regional context, which is likely to exert enormous pressure on Pakistan.

We know that India and Pakistan are the most uneasy neighbours being entangled in troubled history, the genesis of which lies in disputed territorial issues. We are also familiar that the conflict between the two states is enduring one and has been pulling the region back from making strides in the field of peace, development and progress. Here I refer to T. V. Paul’s categorization of enduring rivalry, where he opines that “enduring rivalry is characterized by a persistent, fundamental and long term incompatibility of goals between the two states.” Holding the common colonial legacy, the two states have set their distinct strategic directions, which are fundamentally conflicting, or should I say ‘Strategically Orthogonal,’ since their partition in 1947. Even the similarities, though a few, in the most indices have been mired with hostility, antagonism and mistrust. Today these attributes are embedded in the societies of these two countries as a never ending vicious cycle. Broadly, the endemic rivalry can be explained based on these factors: Security-Insecurity paradox; Competition to reduce power differential; Legacy of Radcliffe Award, i.e., demarcation of boundaries resulting into territorial disputes; Convoluted history, i.e., facts and realities clouded by sentiments and politico-religious and ideological narratives; Inclination for alignments with extra-regional power and their ‘nefarious designs’. This is why the region has been described by Bill Clinton in 2004 as ‘the most dangerous place on earth’.

Thus, this short study ponders on few striking questions: What are the causes which increase differences, mistrust and security dilemma between the two states? Can we answer the two states’ divergences? What are the imperatives and mechanisms for the resolution of their enduring conflicts?

The realists’ theoretical assumptions on ‘balance of power,’ ‘material power and states’ intensions towards ‘security maximization’ provide the most powerful and valuable explanation in understanding the Indo-Pak enduring rivalry.

In the Indian context, two strands (power and identity) help understand Indian strategic orientation and thinking. The perception of many Indian elites regarding Pakistan after independence in 1947 was that it was ‘vivisection of the motherland’ (the phrase of Mahatma Gandhi). Various Hindu leaders believed that the birth of Pakistan was a kind of division as a temporary phase in the history of the subcontinent. At that time, the Congress Party passed a resolution that in the future, Pakistan would fall back under the fold of ‘mother India’. These kind of historic narratives built reckonable perception inside Pakistan that India will always be a factor of ceaseless threat in the calculus of security.

Cumulative Gandhian and Nehruvi philosophy, ‘Greater India’ – [rise of India as a great power – maximization of power and expansionism] is a concept that derives its power from Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Mahabharata philosophy rooted in power based Machiavellian realist school. The manifestation and latent presence of Kautilyan thought in contemporary India cannot be discounted. Since 1947, empirical evidences show that India has experienced a ‘Kautilyan-realist learning curve.’ Other historically driven radical concepts, like Akhund Bharat, and Hindutva, populated with anti-Pakistan sentiments have been extensively used by political parties and religious extremists in India – apparently to remain relevant in their respective spheres of domestic influence and power. Though, I consider that larger Indian society is not truly radicalized by these postulates of conflict, yet Pakistan has always figured these as principles that have motivated Indian foreign and military policies.

In response to the above Indian consistent power based approach with anti-Pakistan sentiment, behaviour of a smaller Pakistan with weak infrastructure and poor economy can be better evaluated. The Indian power maximization approach and threat of the Indian Army posed to Pakistan’s borders became the immediate concern after independence in 1947. Pakistan professed India as an arch rival and a hegemonic player focused upon breaking and dismantling Pakistan. Thus, Pakistan’s strategic directions have been guided by these factors, largely: Survival as an independent state; Kashmir to be ‘an integral part of Pakistan’ – i.e., Jinnah calling it a jugular vein of Pakistan; Looking outward for bridging the power disparity – focusing on external balancing; India – a clear, direct and existential threat to its security.

It is important to review here just a little, of what happened after the Indian Independence Act of 1947 which intensified Pakistan’s fear. We know 562 princely states had the option to join either India or Pakistan. Out of these, the three princely states decided to stay independent from both India and Pakistan: Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Hyderabad in the south, and Junagadh in the west. While the rulers of the latter two were Muslim, the majority of their population was Hindu and their accession to India occurred through, extensively, Indian military actions. New Delhi, later, legitimized these accessions through subsequent ‘polluted’ referenda. Only Jammu & Kashmir emerged as the most contentious, given its geographical proximity to Pakistan and a majority Muslim population. The Hindu ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, first chose to remain independent from both India and Pakistan. But in October 1947, disturbances occurred inside Kashmir. India claimed that it was the tribal forces from Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province, which attacked Kashmir, whereas Pakistan contended that it was the local revolt against Raja’s intentions of acceding to India. Nevertheless, Maharaja sought India’s help and signed an agreement to accede to India, and the Indian forces intervened. This conflict was turned into a short war between the two states, which lasted until the end of 1948. Thereafter, Kashmir became a major territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.

Additionally, in 1948, India took the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations Security Council and agreed to conduct a plebiscite on Kashmir in order to accomplish the wishes of the people of Kashmir. Nevertheless, this plebiscite was never allowed to be held by India, as India alleged that there were substantial interferences by Pakistani Military inside Kashmir to incite insurgency. This became the deep rooted cause of tension between the two.

Question here arises why is Kashmir so important to Pakistan? Broadly because of: cultural and religious coherence; sources of water and a valued ecosystem; strategic location – a bridge between Pakistan and China; question of human rights and international law. Therefore, Pakistan cannot simply let go of Kashmir even though it faces an ominous threat of Indian military.

Being a smaller state, based on lesser capability, the primary objective of Pakistan was security and survival. Pakistan adopted a more defensive, liberal and cooperation based policy and relied on the international alliances such as US led CENTO and SEATO as an umbrella against stronger India and Communist USSR. However, these alliances failed to render Pakistan with any support when another war broke out with India in 1965 on Kashmir. Once again Pakistan received no support from its Western alliances when the third war broke out in 1971.

The evolution of this enduring hostility here onward, with respect to India can be summarized in these doctrinal developments: Indira Doctrine – or The Greater India (Strong Internal Balancing); Vajpayee Doctrine – or The Refocus on Hindutva (The Hard Power); Manmohan Doctrine – or The Shining India (The Soft Power); Modi Doctrine – or The Strong India (Realignment, External Balancing – thereby promoting soft power approach globally and hard power approach regionally).

Speaking of Indira Doctrine (the second longest serving Indian PM, 1966-1977 and 1980-1984) was a manifestation of Indian expansionism, power maximization and material based interests. Later, based on its power maximization notion – The Greater India – India rejected the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), calling it a ‘discriminatory treaty and went for so called Peaceful Nuclear Explosions with military element attached to it. The consequence of Indira Doctrine was the disintegration of Pakistan, which Indira Gandhi achieved in 1971. Successors of Indira Gandhi followed her thesis until Vajpayee. Pakistan in response modified its cooperation based policy into ‘open option policy’ for nuclear weapons. Pakistan, after the Indian nuclear tests in 1974, officially announced to acquire the similar capability. Based on its security-centric orientation, Pakistan acquired nuclear capability and went for Cold Tests in 1982-83. Between 1987 and 2002 India and Pakistan experienced additional four crises nonetheless, not any of these slide into a major war – including Kargil War (1999).

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, initially influenced by hawks and hardliners, went nuclear in 1998 but later realized that the notion of ‘Refocusing on Hindutva’ was unrealizable. He visited Lahore and prospects for peace looked hopeful. The Kargil Conflict ushered a new dimension in the paradigm of nuclear deterrence – the notion of stability-instability paradox and emergence of Indian Cold Start Doctrine, the strategy of Pro-Active Operations, and the construct of Two Front War. Many analysts and professional soldiers began to believe that nuclear deterrence too permitted two nuclear armed states to engage in an inter-state conflict. This was something which had not happened before! Pakistan maintained its claim that its nuclear deterrence is defensive to address the perceived threat from India, and to nullify Indian perception of undoing the creation of Pakistan. Moreover, analysis of Pakistan’s pursuit of maximization of security would suggest that it is based on realists’ notion of balance of power to guarantee peace with adversary. Besides Kargil, the second important dimension was terrorism and extremism which redefined the threat spectrum thereby complicating the regional security situation and deepening mistrust after the terrorists’ attacks on the Indian Parliament (2001) and later in Mumbai (2008).

After the 9/11, while Pakistan was busy fighting war on terrorism with the international forces on its Western front, India kept projecting its soft power approach globally thereby achieving no enduring peace regionally through conflict management or settling the pending disputes. Manmohan Singh’s political vision and doctrine was a manifestation of India’s economic renaissance in an era of globalization and greater economic openness. The accomplishment of Indian remarkable external liberalization and the re-integration of the Indian economy into the growth processes of East and Southeast Asian economies have played a pivotal role in the credibility and maximum acceptance of this doctrine.

Then comes, the Modi Doctrine! This doctrine is focused on forceful maximization of political influence through greater maritime power thereby reinvigorating partnerships from Indo-Pacific to Asia-Pacific. The Modi Doctrine has transformed the Indian “Look East” policy to the “Act East” policy. India has forcefully redefined bilateral security partnerships with Japan, Australia, and the US-centric alliances, which are the salient features of this doctrine. Modi has been professing phrases like vikas vaad (peaceful development) and vistar vaad (expansionism) in the contemporary environment. Based on its expansionism notion, this doctrine seems more domineering, dangerous and aggressive in the regional context, which is likely to exert enormous pressure on Pakistan.

These are some of the brief reflections that how Pakistan-India hostility is enduring and it is not going to fade in the next few decades. Though India has shifted its focus from Pakistan to a more globalized form, but Pakistan’s security calculus cannot ignore the Indian threat. I shall now move further to see what needs to be done to bring the two nuclear armed rivals in an architecture of cooperation and understanding that could help maintain a lasting regional stability.

Areas of Convergence: I believe there are certain areas which indicate implicit ways of convergence for both India and Pakistan. I use a phrase “for the good people of sub-continent” – these two countries need to move on and focus these areas of common concern such as: poverty alleviation, education, health, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, freedom of the seas – suppression of crimes like piracy in a joint manner.

In my view, the enablers for conflict resolution that could bring strength to coming close on areas of shared concern could be:

•     Social factors contributing to the genesis of both states rival identities – which led to such intractable security disputes in the first place – can play vital role in conflict resolution; like people-to-people contacts.

•     Cultural perspective may provide ways to conflict resolution.

•     Peaceful normative framework would help us lessen tension and can help eliminate the transnational terrorists who threaten the region.

•     Trust – the trust deficit in addition to the incongruity of material power has an equal important socio-cultural aspect that is often neglected and seldom gets enough recognition.

•     Geographical contiguity, interdependence on natural resources such as water and food resources would help lessen the tensions.

Mechanism for Conflict Resolution: Here, I’d discuss some previous models/constructs that could help us solve our current problems. We have these agreements to look into:

•           Indus Basin Treaty, 1960.

•           Tashkent Peace Agreement, 1965.

•           Rann of Kutch Agreement, 1968.

•           Simla Agreement, 1972.

•           Lahore Declaration, 1998.

Arguably, the Indus Water treaty was the only useful agreement which was concluded with the help of the World Bank. The Tashkent Peace Agreement was initiated with the Soviet support following the 1965 War. It stipulated that relations between India and Pakistan shall be based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the other. The Simla Agreement was initiated in 1972, which renounced the use of force as a means of settling outstanding disputes. Nevertheless, implementation of these agreements has been poor. India is not willing to negotiate on the final status of Kashmir and India also does not allow third party mediation. This is a major barrier and only India can remove it.

There are further important agreements which exist between India and Pakistan such as military hotlines, political hotlines, an agreement on reducing the risks from accidents relating to nuclear weapons, ballistic missile flight-test pre-notification, agreement on prior notificatio        n of military exercises, agreement on the prevention of violation of airspace, agreement on non-attack of nuclear facilities, bilateral accord on chemical weapons and agreement on non-harassment of diplomats. All these agreements are significant and implementation in future is important.

On territorial issues such as Sir Creek and Siachin, which are not as complicated if compared with Kashmir, the Indus Water Treaty and Rann of Kutch models provide guiding posts to settle these issues but India is not ready to accept third party involvement, which is the major stumbling block.

The issue of Kashmir is the most complex one. The most plausible and relevant approachable solution on Kashmir was General Pervez Musharraf’s four points agenda. But Indian cold response and its elites abandoned the whole idea. India’s such behaviour shows that it is not ready to accept any solution on Kashmir. Kashmir is a difficult case because of which both the states are not ready to compromise. The greedy and revisionist states generally do not wish to cooperate, or negotiate on resolution of the territorial issues or on peace mechanism and aim at creating more space for limited war.

At present, it is important that both countries resume talks and initiate dialogue. Track II will help to reinitiate official talks. Nevertheless, Track II holds no significance in the absence of governmental dialogue. Democracy is considered a variable for maintaining peace. Under the nuclearized environment, democratic rule in both the countries should help reinitiate Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and trade links. In my view, attitude of the states is a fundamental problem, which further intensifies their differences. India should learn and accommodate its neighbours. It is urgent that we make efforts to institute peace without getting into violence and war in the contemporary globalized environment. Explore areas of commonalities and learn from each other’s good experiences. Understand and learn about each other’s capabilities.

Realistically speaking, conflicting interests and the distinct aspirations of the two states are likely to incentivize further arms development and prompt aggression, thereby increasing the prospects of escalation to an undesirable level. Ensuring that advancements in nuclear delivery mechanisms do not stabilize secure peace, thereby contributes to the possibility of escalation of these states’ insecurities. There is no doubt that nuclear weapons will continue to play a role in the national security policy of these two states as these weapons did maintain fragile peace and prevented outbreak of a conventional or total war. Indians, by now, must have been able to shun off their notions of Hindutva and Akhund Bharat, and ready to accept the new realities. If prevailed in the past, India now must not let its flawed Kashmir policy to dictate the future. Only through adoption of a more accommodative and flexible course, and taking practical steps towards speedy and peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue, India would be able to substantially contribute towards peaceful South Asia. Now, the ball is in India’s court and they need to respond positively.

The writer is a PhD in International Security and Nuclear Non-Proliferation from University of Leicester, UK and is on the faculty of NDU, Islamabad. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
15
January

Towards a More Prosperous Future

Written By: Jennifer McKay

Pakistan is already achieving success and making change in a lot of areas but we lose sight of these amidst the seemingly endless bad news. Peace will be important in achieving prosperity. Operations by the military are underway to cleanse the country of terrorist groups and this will ultimately bring peace and greater stability. With stability, investment will increase bringing more jobs and improved economy. Although the greatest responsibility for progress lies with the governments of the day, everyone has to make an effort to do a little more in whatever way they can. As we head into the New Year, it is timely to think about ‘New Year Resolutions’. The national resolution – the narrative – should be to do all we can to make this a more resilient, prosperous and stable country.

It’s almost twelve years since I first arrived in Pakistan for what I thought would be a ‘once only’ visit. I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived. The travel warnings were alarming and friends questioned the wisdom of making a trip at that time. I needn’t have worried. In the two weeks I was here, I soon realized that the country, I was seeing and the warm and welcoming people, I was meeting, didn’t match the perceptions in the West. I had such an enjoyable time that I was eager to return when the opportunity arose mere three months later. It was the start of a deep and abiding fondness for the country and the people and I kept returning regularly until eventually making Pakistan my home. Without doubt, the question I am still asked most often these days is “why on earth would you want to live in Pakistan?” Surprisingly, it is Pakistanis who are curious about this rather than foreign friends. This is usually followed up with all the reasons that make them want to leave. I hope they change their minds but it makes me wonder if many Pakistanis have developed a complex about the country and lost sight of the good and positive things. I find it sad but also understandable. Pakistan’s international image continues to take a severe mauling at the hands of the international media, which seem to be pushing a particular agenda. Rarely, do we read positive stories about the country, yet there are many. I find it depressing and often offensive too.

We can’t deny that Pakistan has more than its share of problems. In my time here I’ve witnessed some of the worst disasters in history, political upheaval, terrorism, the impact of conflict, sectarian violence, polio on the rise, the energy crisis, crushing poverty, food insecurity, and a litany of other problems. Despite the challenges I prefer to focus on the positives and there are a lot of those. I’ve met wonderful people in cities, towns and villages and been deeply touched by their generous hospitality and inclusiveness. My work and love for travel has taken me to so many parts of this spectacular country including the breathtakingly beautiful Northern Areas, FATA, all the provinces and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. I’ve worked on some of the most challenging disasters in the country’s history alongside capable and committed Pakistanis, and been humbled by the courage and resilience of people facing the most challenging of circumstances. I’ve been inspired by the talent and potential of young Pakistanis who are a joy to work with. And I’ve also had so many funny and memorable times and made a large circle of friends who so frequently overwhelm me with their kindness and generosity of spirit. Living here does not seem at all an odd choice and I intend to stay.

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that no matter what country we live in there are still challenges in everyday life, and not everyone lives a comfortable life in the West. Poverty exists in developed countries too. Falling incomes, fewer jobs and unemployment, high costs of housing and food, ill health and other problems impact on people’s lives just as they do here. In 2012, statistics in Australia indicated that 12.8% of the population lived below the poverty line. Admittedly the poverty line is set higher than in developing countries but the end result is similar. In the same year in the UK the number was around 14% and in the US, even higher at 14.5%. In the US there are over 600,000 homeless people sleeping rough every night regardless of the weather, and many of them are war veterans. Life can be tough wherever we are when the system fails us.

Pakistan is still a young country. It had a rough start but it will eventually get through these tough times. Like many post-colonialist countries, it has had to reposition itself following independence and partition, to establish its own identity and rules, and where possible take the best advantage out of what the former colonial masters left behind. Some post-colonial countries have achieved a faster rate of development than others but there are many factors that affect progress which make it difficult to compare any two countries. There are, however, lessons for countries to learn from each other in what has been successful in making progress.

The hallmarks of the more successful post-colonial countries in the Asia-Pacific region, like Australia and Singapore are good governance, accountability, robust legal, financial and regulatory systems, strict urban planning laws, environmental safeguards, and health services and education available to all. They are also peaceful – this makes quite a difference. Since gaining independence in 1965, under the strong leadership of the first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who governed for three decades, the tiny island state of Singapore has transformed itself from just a shipping port into the financial centre of South East Asia, the location of the regional headquarters for many large multinational companies and financial institutions. With no natural resources, it focused on services, developing global hubs of excellence in a number of sectors including information technology, biotechnology, tourism, aviation, shipping, arbitration, commodities trading, healthcare, and education. The government offered a range of attractive incentives to encourage businesses to set up their headquarters there and ensured the infrastructure and technology as well as an educated workforce was in place that could support these corporations. It has been a hugely successful strategy and today Singapore is a vibrant and booming city state. It is also worth noting that in addition to ensuring a well educated population (literacy rate 95.9%), Singapore has attracted some of the top universities and business schools in the world to set up campuses there, joining three impressive Singaporean universities. Singapore has been so successful that Dubai looked to it as a model when developing their vision for the future.

Malaysia, though still a developing country, also has had strong leadership at a critical time, particularly under the Prime Ministership of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (from 1981-2003), who was unafraid to take the hard steps needed to transform the country. Since gaining independence from Britain in 1957, and then separating from Singapore in 1965, Malaysia has been steadily moving forward. Under Dr. Mahathir’s leadership, the country experienced a rapid phase of modernization, large infrastructure projects and economic growth. A strong advocate for third world development he was often critical of the policies of western countries like Australia, the UK and US in Asia. Malaysia also followed Singapore’s lead in encouraging businesses to set up headquarters in the country. While it has not attracted businesses at the same rate, it has had a reasonable amount of success with this model. Malaysia has also focused on the education sector, not only to ensure an educated population (literacy rate 93.1%), but also as one of its key business themes to attract foreign students and investors in the private education sector.

Education is clearly one of the critical components of transforming a country. An educated population makes better decisions, develops sustainable livelihoods and business, saves money and enjoys better health and quality of life. With many bright young people having great potential, Pakistan is not short of human resources but the literacy rate lags at 55%, the third lowest in Asia, beating only Bhutan on 52.8% and Afghanistan which sits at the bottom of the table at 28.1%. This is dismal and governments – both national and provincial – must take action. Other Asian developing countries like Indonesia, China, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand have all given high priority to education as part of their development and are ahead of Pakistan in development indicator indexes.

But contrary to popular opinion, particularly in the West, the education sector in Pakistan is not all bad news and is actually quite vibrant. Parents do want their children to go to school. It is no secret though that the state struggles to improve the standard and availability of education and 6.5 million children remain out of school while others attend substandard facilities with poor teacher quality. However, private schools, and not-for-profit schools run by NGOs are filling the void. In Punjab alone, 60 percent of students are now attending privately run schools. But there is only little the private and not-for-profit sectors can do. The state eventually has to step up to its responsibilities as set down in Article 25A of the Constitution to “provide free and compulsory education for all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.”

To learn more about the private sector’s approach I talked to Kasim Kasuri, CEO of Beaconhouse Schools System, the largest private school network in Pakistan. He told me, “Private sector organisations, including Beaconhouse and others with similar models such as The City School and Lahore Grammar School, have managed to develop systems for managing multiple schools across the country. This has been a big success. Scaling doesn’t mean one company has to own all the schools. For Beaconhouse, which in 2015 will mark its 40th anniversary, the network of franchise schools, The Educators, established 12 years ago, has become even larger and provides the ability to reach out to an even larger group of students in a shorter period of time. In total, the network of Beaconhouse and The Educators currently has approximately 260,000 students. The franchise model has proved to be tremendously successful in reaching out to students all over the country.” Mr. Kasuri went on to explain, “Through The Educators, we’ve been able to offer a standarised quality product at an affordable price. We’ve developed the curriculum, lesson plans and teacher training for our network associates as well as standard operating procedures, branding and marketing, with quality backed by Beaconhouse.” Beaconhouse has also moved into the competitive

international education market, exporting its expertise in education and its emphasis on professional development and teacher training. The group now owns just under 40 schools in eight countries outside Pakistan including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, UK, Oman and the UAE. Mr. Kasuri also pointed to some of the successes of not-for-profit schools run by charitable foundations. He highlighted the excellent work of The Citizens Foundation (TCF) which has 1,000 School Units with over 145,000 students, and Care Pakistan which adopts a Public Private Partnership model to provide free education to over 175,000 students in 257 schools across Pakistan. While TCF builds their own schools, the Care model is based on adopting government schools, refurbishing them and adding science laboratories, computer rooms, libraries and clean drinking water, and adding Care teachers to supplement those employed by the government. Students from Care and TCF schools achieve good academic results with many going on to university and then professional careers. These organisations also have valuable lessons for other countries in developing sound education systems in the not-for-profit sector through scaling up and being able to provide quality facilities and proper teacher training.

I also asked Mr Kasuri what Pakistan can learn from the West in the education sector. He said, “We can learn a lot from countries like Australia about the need for an emphasis on physical education and sports. In Asia, there is too much emphasis only on academic results, which don’t necessarily show anything other than being able to pass exams, rather than a focus on learning. This is to the detriment of physical education and sports which teach real skills like problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking which is tremendously valuable in real life, university or in the workplace. However, there is still some resistance from parents who worry that this loses focus on studies. What we can also learn from the West is how to get both young people as well as their parents to understand the importance of physical education and sports, not just for the critical role it plays in character building, fitness and personal development, but also that there is a whole range of professional careers in and around the business of sports such as coaching, management, nutrition, sports science and sports medicine.” Beaconhouse has recently employed an Australian as Assistance Director of Sports to work on an entire programme which encompasses not only sports but also changing mindsets of students and parents, and how to integrate the programme into the curriculum to ensure enough time is available.

Introducing sport into public schools, many of which have more space for this than private schools, would also be enormously beneficial. Pakistan has so much natural talent for sports and it would be so helpful to channel all that youthful energy into something positive for their future while at the same time getting an education. However, with the public education sector already underfunded, it is hard to see any real progress for some time. Disasters are another issue, which has a profound impact on development, and this is another important area for two-way knowledge sharing. Pakistan has acquired a great deal of knowledge, and learned many lessons from the many disasters that have struck the country in recent years. Disaster Management experts from Pakistan are now regularly invited to present at international conferences and seminars overseas to share the experiences. But perhaps more important, is what Pakistan can learn from other countries, particularly in the areas that are not currently being addressed here. While natural disasters receive a lot of attention, little has been paid to urban man-made disasters to develop effective response systems and improve community safety in our cities. Fires, building collapses, and industrial and other accidents are frequent in Pakistan causing substantial loss of life, but the systems, training and facilities, and building regulations are inadequate. Fire services and emergency responders like 1122 though hard working, are not well funded, and many emergency services are not available at all in some cities. Given the density and vulnerability of urban areas in Pakistan with millions living in crowded cities with poor infrastructure and substandard buildings, improving standards is critical. In this area, Pakistan can learn from developed countries.

I asked Shane Wright, Executive Director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) in Bangkok for some thoughts. Mr. Wright was formerly the Chief Officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in Melbourne, Australia, an organization with over 2,000 full time career fire fighters, supported by 270 corporate staff. The MFB, which services an urban area of up to 3 million people, has a total annual budget of $345 million, many times that of any national or provincial budget for emergency services in Pakistan. It responds to a wide range of emergencies including fires, hazardous material spills, rescues from car accidents, train crashes, machinery, from heights and aircraft, trench collapse, building collapse through urban search and rescue, swift water rescue, marine environment pollution control, and emergency medical support. The organization is equipped with a vast array of very expensive equipment and has highly trained leadership and technical expertise. To ensure a high state of readiness and coordinated response capability, MFB recently opened its new $120 million training centre for all emergency services personnel including fire brigade, police, medical services and civil defence.

The MFB also plays a significant role in community safety and is legislatively involved in the building and construction approvals process on fire safety matters. They’ve also had success in changing the qualifications for people who work in hospitals and other care homes to improve the safety of vulnerable community members. These are important areas where Pakistan can learn much on how to better address these problems. However, allocating budgets for proper facilities and developing and enforcing building regulations is likely to remain a challenge. Another interesting area where there are opportunities for both sharing and learning is in countering violent extremism. The rise of violent groups like Islamic State (IS) have increased the level of concern for many countries including developed ones like Australia, Singapore, UK, Europe, US and Canada, as well as the Middle East. Countries are looking for answers and lessons from successful programmes on how to deradicalize violent extremists. Pakistan has already been quietly addressing the problem for several years. ‘Sabaoon’ located in a valley in Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was the first of the centres established by Pak Army to address the problem of boys who had been involved in violence while being with the Taliban. The centre has been achieving a high rate of success in turning these boys away from a life of violence and reintegrating them into the community, and to continue their education, or establish their livelihoods through vocational training. The programme, administered by a highly qualified team of civilian psychologists, social workers, teachers, and religious teachers, with the support of the Army, has recently been evaluated by a top international expert in deradicalization and received a very positive ‘report card’. Several other centres, have since been established. The lessons from these centres – most of which I have visited and seen the work for myself – should be shared internationally to help other countries address these challenging issues. In reverse, Pakistan can gain from experiences of other countries, particularly in relation to prevention. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Algeria, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, US, UK and many European states currently have deradicalization programmes, each a little different but, like Pakistan, all have valuable knowledge to share to address to challenging problem.

This has been a snapshot of just a few of the issues that need to be considered but there are so many more. Countries can transform themselves and in time, Pakistan will too but it will take great determination. Pakistan is already achieving success and making change in a lot of areas but we lose sight of these amidst the seemingly endless bad news. Peace will be important in achieving prosperity. Operations by the military are underway to cleanse the country of terrorist groups and this will ultimately bring peace and greater stability. With stability, investment will increase bringing more jobs and improved economy. Although the greatest responsibility for progress lies with the governments of the day, everyone has to make an effort to do a little more in whatever way they can. As we head into the New Year, it is timely to think about ‘New Year Resolutions’. The national resolution – the narrative – should be to do all we can to make this a more resilient, prosperous and stable country.

The writer is Australian Disaster Management and Civil-Military Relations Consultant, based in Islamabad where she consults for Government and UN agencies. She has also worked with ERRA and NDMA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
15
January

Arms for Peace

Written By: Major General Agha Masood Akram

Some of the major indigenously developed products showcased during IDEAS-2014 included Main Battle Tank Al-Khalid, Fighter Aircraft JF-17 Thunder, Jet Trainer Aircraft K-8 and a variety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) etc. The event offered a unique opportunity to the international delegates and visitors in acquiring an insight into the entire defence manufacturing and training capabilities of Pakistan exhibited under single umbrella. It may be pertinent to highlight that Pakistan has a large defence manufacturing, training and support infrastructure in place, which not only meets the needs of Pakistani Armed Forces, but also has the capacity to fulfil demands of other countries with exceptionally high quality products at mutually acceptable terms.

The fluid geopolitical climate, resulting from the rapid changes in the global security situation in recent years, has forced many governments to take a fresh look at their national security mechanisms. At present, structural and technological improvements dominate the planning of most militaries and law enforcement agencies throughout the world. The most volatile geopolitical region in the Asia has now become one of the biggest markets for defence products.

Pakistan’s defence industry is in quest for seeking international alliances to meet the requirements of its armed forces and the growing needs of the regional defence forces. Pakistan’s own defence products present a perfect mix of indigenous and foreign technologies thus offering an opportunity for defence collaboration.

arms for1Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) was established under Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) in year 2000. One of the major roles of DEPO is to conduct International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS). It provides a platform for facilitation, promotion and coordination of the defence exports in public and private sectors. IDEAS is conducted biennially at Expo Centre Karachi since 2000. It presents an ideal platform to local defence industry to showcase their products ranging from the equipment used in the third world countries to the most sophisticated weapon systems. At one hand IDEAS provides a perfect interactive forum for the defence forces to assess the products and technologies suited / fulfilling their requirements and on the other hand, it also offers an ideal opportunity to the defence manufacturers for entering into collaboration and joint ventures with Pakistan and other prospective international partners. It is the biggest defence exhibition of international stature in Pakistan.

The objectives of IDEAS can be summarized as under:-

•     Providing opportunities to our defence industry, both in public and private sectors to display its products at one forum and interact directly with international community.

•     Inviting international defence manufacturers for establishing joint ventures, transfer of technology and research to further improve Pakistan’s defence industry.

•     Provision of an international platform to convey our view point on security issues concerning Pakistan.

•     Creation of an opportunity to reinforce our diplomatic efforts in the realm of defence diplomacy.

•     Image building of Pakistan as a modern, progressive and tolerant state that is willing to co-exist peacefully with the international community.

•     Demonstrate our organizational skills to plan and conduct a mega event of international stature.

Success of any international defence exhibition is directly linked to the number, variety and quality of the exhibitors, besides the number and level of delegations and trade visitors. Another yardstick of successful exhibition is the aspect of networking amongst delegations and trade visitors. It may be highlighted that international defence exhibitions play a critical and pivotal role in positioning the defence products of any country. These exhibitions are the only trade fairs or the market places that generate business activities on one hand and the marketing of defence products on the other. Undeniably, sales promotions of the defence products through such business hubs is crucial for the growth and sustenance of the defence industries.

arms for2With the passage of time, IDEAS has significantly contributed towards promoting strategic partnership with our friends and has served to achieve the shared objectives of peace and stability in the region. It is also the IDEAS slogan “Arms for Peace” which reflects Pakistan’s principle stand that a more balanced arms equation amongst neighbouring countries acts as an effective deterrent. It provides a platform to showcase technology of tomorrow and innovations in defence with variety of weapon systems and items of equipment on display. It is a market place of innovative ideas and also brings together international manufacturers and suppliers of products and services to explore the opportunities for cooperation in the field of defence.

IDEAS-2014

8th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) was successfully conducted from December 1 – 4, 2014 at Expo Centre Karachi. The event received an overwhelming response from across the globe. A total of 56 nations were represented in IDEAS-2014 in the form of foreign delegations and international exhibitors. 88 delegations representing 50 nations attended the event including 47 high level delegations headed either by their defence ministers, secretaries or services chiefs of the respective countries. A total of 333 companies (256 foreign and 77 local) exhibited their products during the exhibition.

The inauguration ceremony of the event was conducted on December 1, 2014. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif graced the occasion as the chief guest. The ceremony was attended by official delegates, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), services chiefs, senior government officials, foreign diplomats and a large number of exhibitors.

The seminar was conducted on the similar evening at Movenpick Hotel. The main theme of the seminar was “Matching research and production to the challenges of a dynamic security environment”. General Rashad Mahmood, CJCSC, was the chief guest. The panel of speakers included prominent international defence analysts and expert William Stevenson (Executive Director of Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security, Malaysia), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi (Ex Ambassador, Pakistan), Dr. Vladimir P. Kozin (Head, Group of Advisers to the Director of Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia), and Air Marshal Javaid Ahmed, (Chairman PAC Board, Pakistan). The Presiding Officer of the seminar, Mr. Munir Akram, (Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations), in his concluding remarks stated that “given the fast pace of technological change, it would be perfectly natural to expect development of significantly new technologies, including those, which will alleviate our security and threat concerns.”

arms for3IDEAS-2014 also featured sideline conferences. The conferences were attended by learned international and local defence analysts, including Pakistan’s Services Chiefs, who candidly shared their views in these sideline conferences.

Some of the major indigenously developed products showcased during IDEAS-2014 included Main Battle Tank Al-Khalid, Fighter Aircraft JF-17 Thunder, Jet Trainer Aircraft K-8 and a variety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) etc. The event offered a unique opportunity to the international delegates and visitors in acquiring an insight into the entire defence manufacturing and training capabilities of Pakistan exhibited under single umbrella. It may be pertinent to highlight that Pakistan has a large defence manufacturing, training and support infrastructure in place, which not only meets the needs of Pakistani Armed Forces, but also has the capacity to fulfil demands of other countries with exceptionally high quality products at mutually acceptable terms.

 Amongst the international exhibitors, exclusive country pavilions were set up by Turkey and China. Defence products and equipments from companies representing North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Far East were also impressively displayed through various stalls. Russian Helicopter Company also exhibited her stall. There were nine countries including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Thailand and UAE, that participated in IDEAS for the first time.

On diplomatic front, foreign delegates / trade visitors and media endorsed the efficacy of IDEAS-2014 as an extremely valuable and interactive forum for the defence trade. Signing of several MoUs between the governments and private companies has further enhanced the utility and success of this event.

Some of the commercial benefits accrued during the event are:-

•     Defence industry of Pakistan, both from the public and private sectors, got ample opportunity to reach out to the international market.

•     Most of the African and Asian countries have shown great interest in the Pakistani products related to Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) etc.

•     Approximately 5000 people were directly employed with IDEAS.

•     Stall building for over 10,000 Sq. m area at the average rate of US $300 per Sq. m.

•     A great boost to the hotel and car rental business.

•     A great business opportunity to a large number of vendors, contractors and service providers.

•     A rare opportunity of immense educational and training value for university students attached with IDEAS, to learn how a mega event is organized and managed.

The delegations from different countries included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine and USA

A comprehensive programme was laid out to effectively coordinate meeting and networking sessions between foreign delegations, government officials, senior armed forces officers and exhibitors, whereby ensuring effective connections between all participants of the exhibition.

The chronicles of IDEAS series is one of the continuous success, with IDEAS-2014 as the most consequential in the history of the exhibition industry of Pakistan. It is a market place of innovative ideas and also brings together international manufacturers and suppliers of products and services to explore different opportunities for forging cooperation and alliances in the field of defence production with friendly countries.

IDEAS exemplifies a successful public and private sector partnership. It has grown in its reach, size, stature, participation and international attendance to a level that is “second to none” in the region. In addition, the profile of the high level delegations, ever increase in number of exhibitors and trade visitors visiting Pakistan to attend this exhibition adds to the prestige and stature of this event. IDEAS, in-fact, is a great meeting point to promote friendship and cooperation with the international community in the defence field.

 

The writer is the Director General, Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO)

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