Dr Faisal Bari

  • TThere is a lot of talk of creating social protection and safety nets in the country. Given the poverty levels in the country, it is right to focus these nets, like the BISP and the Punjab programme, on the poor in the country. Given the paucity of resources and the high needs of the poor, it is ...

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  • TIn the last few years a number of journalists have lost their lives in Pakistan while performing their professional duties. Many have been injured, and many others have been arrested, abducted, harassed or pressurised. And a lot of this continues to happen. Most recently we lost a reporter in the ...

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  • TRecently some government of Pakistan officials have been making statements to the effect that the economy has started to improve and that we are meeting all targets set by the IMF and the World Bank. There is no real indication that the economy has started to improve, in fact, to the contrary, ...

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  • TThe state of education is well known in Paki-stan. And many believe, and rightly, that any intervention that hopes to change the state of education in the country has to focus attention on teachers as well. What are the qualifications of those who become teachers in Pakistan (pre-service), and what ...

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  • TIn the last article we had argued for the position that all children in Pakistan should be educated. Even if parents cannot pay for their children's education, it is in the interest of the nation to get every child educated, and we can use other people's money to do that. Getting all children ...

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  • TLet us imagine a simple scenario. If money was not an issue, would every parent in the country prefer to have their children in schools and getting an education? The answer seems to be a no brainer. Every parent would want their children to be educated so that the children have better opportunities ...

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  • TThe wisdom of the late 1980s and the 1990s, loosely termed as the Washington Consensus, was that the government should get out of all areas and let the private sector do what it is best at doing: production, distribution and provision. The government could only come in the way of the private ...

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  • TA number of people in Pakistan have been arguing, in political, journalistic and intellectual circles, that the problems of the 'common person' are of inflation, employment, poverty, access to electricity and water on the economic side, and that of the threat of terror on the political side. But ...

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  • TThe government has signed an agreement with the IMF for a loan of 7.6 billion dollars. We needed the money badly. Our foreign exchange account as well as the fiscal deficit situation were in a state that had we not signed the agreement, gotten the money, the blessings and the support of the IMF, we ...

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  • TIt is the best of times and the worst of times: we are, in Pakistan, in a crisis once again. But a crisis leads to many opportunities. Apart from opportunities for re-organising many things and starting new things and shelving those that have not worked, and more importantly, a financial/economic ...

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  • TAll of the debate on the current economic/financial crisis in the country is focused on whether we should go to the IMF or not, whether we should accept their conditions, whether we should beg from other bi-laterals, multilaterals and friends and how much should we bargain and for how long. But ...

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  • TThe last few years have been very difficult for those who have been living below the poverty line or were just above the poverty line and have been pushed below it by events beyond their control. The 'inflation' over the last five-ten years, stubbornly staying in double digits, was the prime ...

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  • TEveryone and their aunt are right now talking about the possibility of default on sovereign debt and the need to raise inflows of foreign currency, whether we should go on a stabilisation programme with the IMF or not, or whether we should beg and borrow from our friends around the world. The ...

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  • TMacroeconomic issues have, in a relatively short period, become quite binding for the economy: to the extent that today people are talking about Pakistan defaulting on its international obligations, its banking system becoming unstable, while there have been mini runs on some of the banks and ...

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  • TWith international agricultural product prices the way they are, Pakistan can benefit significantly from good crops. Domestic wheat floor price has been raised to Rs 950 per 40 kg by the government recently and this will surely, if we have good weather and other conditions, create strong incentives ...

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  • TGovernments have a strange way of behaving. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to do something that seems logical and desirable to a lot of people inside as well as outside of government, while at others they move at tremendous speed, perhaps too quickly, to do the same thing. The debates and ...

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  • TFranchises for selling pre-paid and post-paid connections are offered, by mobile companies, on an exclusive basis. If you have a Warid franchise, you cannot have a Mobilink one, and so on. But it is not clear why that should be so. Franchisers hardly ever know, in advance, what specials a company ...

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  • TPunjab government announced, at the start of Ramazan, that atta bags will be available, across the province, for Rs 300 per bag. The provincial government is subsidising atta for all residents of the province. It is obvious that not all the people living in the province need the subsidy. There are ...

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  • TIt seems pretty clear what the first priority, for the federal government, in terms of economic problems it needs to address, is going to be. It is going to be the issue of achieving macroeconomic stability. The fiscal and foreign exchange deficits are reaching a point where they could, by ...

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  • TIt seems that a lot of people, parents, bureaucrats, policy-makers and other stakeholders want providers of private education, at the school level, to be regulated. They feel schools get away with too much when they are allowed to charge the fees they want and make decisions about curriculum and ...

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  • TYou buy toothpaste you do not like, what do you do the next time you buy toothpaste? Most people would opt for different toothpaste: it could be from the same manufacturer, or a different one. You might have thrown away the first buy as well. But for most people writing to the manufacturer of the ...

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  • TIn the last few weeks a number of commentators have argued that the various stakeholders involved in the political battle royale that has been going on in Pakistan over the last 6 months should come to a quick compromise or solution to the outstanding issues, and focus attention on the economic ...

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  • TThe stock market has lost more than a fourth of its value in the last few weeks, the rupee has lost about a fifth of its value in the last few months, petroleum prices have been increased 3-4 times in the last 6 months, energy prices, in general, have increased substantially and are likely to ...

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  • TThirty odd percent of Pakistanis were officially living below the poverty line a few years ago. But these figures were contested by many who thought a higher percentage was poor and the government poverty line was too stringent and its data too unreliable. Even at that time, the debate on ...

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  • TWithin public policy making circles in the country, it seems that the more things change the more they stay the same. And policy making, instead of being based on evidence and clear thinking, is almost always driven by the short term imperatives and hence ends up producing too many unforeseen ...

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  • TOpinions today, about the efficacy of the United Nations, stand divided and opposed. There are some who think that the United Nations is irrelevant, ineffective and largely useless "debating society." Others believe it has become, sometimes willing and often unwilling, legitimising ...

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  • TEven after the announcement of the first budget of the coalition government it is still not clear as to what the major priorities of the government are and what they are going to be. It is true that the economic situation is bad and the government had to make a budget in very constrained ...

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  • TRecently a spate of publications on primary level education sector in Pakistan have highlighted the facts that a) percentage of children going to private schools in Pakistan has risen rapidly to about 1/3rd of total by now, b) private schools are not just in urban areas but in rural as well, and c) ...

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  • TEven before the current global food and oil price increase crises hit Pakistan we had been passing through a rather difficult period. The claims of the last government, of having reduced poverty by about 8 percentage points or more over the last few years had started to sound rather hollow: growth ...

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  • TThe ministry of education has placed a draft of the proposed "new" education policy on their website and has invited people to comment on the draft policy before it is finalised and adopted. This gesture, towards listening to people and taking on their inputs is a welcome gesture. Whether ...

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