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Pakistan Rising or Failing? Reality vs Perception

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Pakistan has a population of over 200 million people and a booming trillion dollar economy ranked among the top 25 largest economies of the world.

Pakistan's 135 million millennials have made it the world's fastest growing retail market. There is surging demand for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and durables like smartphones, computers, cars, motorcycles and home appliances.


Major energy and infrastructure projects, part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), are transforming the country and creating millions of new jobs.

Incidents of terrorism and terror related deaths are in sharp decline since the country's military started nation-wide anti-terror operations in 2013.

Its $20 billion tourism industry is seeing rapid growth.

And yet, many continue to call Pakistan a "failed state". Why is it? Why is perception lagging reality?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Monis Rehman, Pakistani entrepreneur and CEO of Rozee.p…

Pakistan's $20 Billion Tourism Industry is Booming

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Pakistan's tourism industry, currently estimated at $20 billion (6.9% of GDP in 2016), is booming, according to data available from multiple reliable sources. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts it to grow to over $36 billion within a decade.

Economic Impact of Tourism:

Pakistan tourism industry generates $20 billion in revenue and supports 3.6 million jobs directly and indirectly, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Foreign visitors generate nearly a billion US$ in exports.


Tourism Growth: 

Significantly improved security situation has helped boost annual tourist arrivals in Pakistan by 300% since 2013 to 1.75 million in 2016, while domestic travelers increased 30% to 38.3 million, according to the state-owned Pakistan Tourism Development Corp.  Hotel bookings increased 80 percent in 2016, according to Jovago, Pakistan’s biggest hotel booking website.


By contrast, foreign tourist arrivals in the country’s larger neighbor, India, jumped from 6.97 million…

Pakistan is the World's 5th Largest Motorcycles Market

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Pakistan is the 5th largest motorcycle market in the world after China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. With 7,500 new motorcycles being sold everyday, Pakistan is also the among the world's fastest growing two-wheeler markets. Passenger car and motorcycle sales in Pakistan are both soaring at rates of over 20% a year.



Auto Demand Soaring:

Nearly 2.3 million motorcycles have rolled off the factories in Pakistan in the last 10 months. The production of motorcycles jumped 22.34 percent in the first four months of fiscal year 2017-18 (FY18), over the corresponding period of in FY17, according to the latest data from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) as reported by the media.

Pakistan automobile market is also expanding along with the motorcycle market. Sales of passenger cars soared 20.4% to 103,432 units in the first half of the current fiscal year of 2017/18, recently released official data shows. Car sales were 85,901 in the same period of last fiscal year, according to Pakistan Au…

Pakistan Economy is the World's Third Fastest Growing Among Top 25 Economies

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Pakistan is now the world's third fastest growing economy among the world's top 25 economies with PPP GDP of over one trillion US dollars, according to  the International Monetary Fund (IMF). IMF has recently raised the country's 2018 growth forecast to 5.6%.

Pakistan 3rd Fastest Among Top 25: 


Spectator Index has ranked India first with 7.3% growth, followed by China (6.5%), Pakistan (5.6%), Indonesia (5.3%) and Turkey (3.7%) among the world's 25 largest economies in terms of PPP GDP.

Earlier in October 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast Pakistan's economy to grow at 6.3% CAGR over 2017-2022.

World Bank: 

The World Bank sees Pakistan's GDP to grow 5.5% in current fiscal year 2017-18 ending in June 2018, a full percentage point faster than the 4.5% average GDP growth for Emerging and Developing Economies (EMDEs) that include Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and Russia among others. However, Pakistan economic growth continues to lag growth…

World Bank: Pakistan Outperforming Emerging Economies Average

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The World Bank sees Pakistan's GDP to grow 5.5% in current fiscal year 2017-18 ending in June 2018, a full percentage point faster than the 4.5% average GDP growth for Emerging and Developing Economies (EMDEs) that include Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and Russia among others. However, Pakistan economic growth continues to lag growth forecast for regional economies of India and Bangladesh. The report also highlights the issue to growing trade deficit and current account gap that could lead to yet another balance of payments crisis for Pakistan requiring another IMF bailout.

Pakistan GDP Growth: 

Here's an excerpt of the January 2018 World Bank report titled "Global Economic Prospects" as it relates to Pakistan:

"In Pakistan, growth continued to accelerate in FY2016/17 (July-June) to 5.3 percent, somewhat below the government’s target of 5.7 percent as industrial sector growth was slower than expected. Activity was strong in construction and services, a…

CPEC is Transforming The Least Developed Parts of Pakistan

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In a New York Times Op Ed titled "How Not to Engage With Pakistan",  ex US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson says "Its (CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken".  Olson goes on to warn the Trump Administration that "Without Pakistani cooperation, our (US) army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale".

Among the parts of Pakistan being transformed by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are some of the least developed regions in Balochistan and Sindh, specifically Gwadar and Thar Desert. Here is more on these regions:

Gwadar Port City:

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traff…

India's Ex Intelligence Officers Blame Kulbhushan Jadhav For Getting Caught in Pakistan

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India's former RAW officers, including one ex chief, have blamed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested by Pakistan in 2016, for getting caught in Pakistan as a "result of unprofessionalism", according to a report in India's "The Quint" owned and operated by a joint venture of Bloomberg News and Quintillion Media. The report that appeared briefly on The Quint website has since been removed, apparently under pressure from the Indian government.

The Quint Story:

The story quotes a former RAW chief as saying that the “proposal to recruit Jadhav for operations, whatever it’s worth, was ridiculous.”  However, the report said that "(Jadhav's) recruitment was approved by a joint secretary as the supervisory officer.  The RAW has a special unit which also undertakes parallel operations in certain crucial target countries for which it seeks out its own recruits".

Several experienced RAW hands told the Quint that the usual practice is to “have a Baloch o…