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Archive for the ‘India’ Category

The One Thing Indians And Pakistanis Both Complain About But Equally Love And Live By, Corruption

Posted by imrananwar on March 23, 2013

The Wall Street Journal has a great article, One Cheer for Corruption in India by an Indian writer about how the rich and corrupt ruling classes got richer by hook or by crook, while blaming the lower class Hindus (sadly Hindus have classes of people considered from the highest to the lowest, “untouchables”) and Muslims, who make up the poor.

That was something I had seen in my own visit to New Delhi, India many years ago. I commented on how Pakistan cannot just compete with India, but do even “better” in the unfortunate field of growing corruption.

“What an interesting and thought-provoking piece. I am an American, here for 25 years, but came from Pakistan, an almost completely Muslim country.

When Pakistanis have time to spare from making conspiracy theories, we have a holier than thou posture embedded into the national genome. A plunder today because tomorrow never comes mentality is in the blood of the rich elite — and of bureaucrats in positions to take bribes to help those rich get richer. I can sadly confirm that Corruption is institutionalized in both India and Pakistan.

We can blame the way the British set up these societies to rot from the inside, by empowering government servants with authority but poor salaries and leaving wealth in the hands of a few who could only keep it or grow it by avoiding the regulations those bureaucrats had to be paid off to look the other way on. (Yes, I know, run on sentence, but that is the intricate long flow of the full circle of corruption in these countries).

But, blame as we may the British, after six decades of independence, the decision and structure to remain corrupt lies with the people of both these nations, and sadly the consensus remains to continue those practices,

Imran Anwar
IMRAN.TV

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Posted in Asia, Corruption, England, Hindus, India, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics, Poverty, Wealth | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Imran Anwar on Imran Khan: Why The Future Of Awakened Pakistan Is Not In One Man’s Hands

Posted by imrananwar on October 31, 2011

The news media are buzzing about a rather large political protest gathering that took place in Pakistan. People seem galvanized and gravitating more to a national hero Cricket player, turned populist politician. Much that I am happy to see the silent majority Pakistani public starting to rise, I do not have much hope for the person they are following, even though I like and respect him. Here’s why.

Imran Khan was about a decade ahead of me at Aitchison College, Lahore, Pakistan, and about 100 years ahead of me in popularity (and dashing good looks 🙂 ). He will always have my respect for sacrificing his popularity not for wealth but for a Cancer Hospital (in the memory of his late mother). With that one mission in life, he has done more good than Zardari, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharaff combined could do – even if they had tried.

However, there were two reasons Imran Khan struggled in his quest for national power.

Initially it was the typical curse of Third World countries like Pakistan… the same “awam” (عوام – public/populace) that curses crooked politicians is also the one that votes them in to power. Why? Because the crooks are the ones who will help peddle influence illegally, to get things done when voters ask for favors. Someone supposedly aboveboard will not. So, he, like Imran Khan, will stay on the fringe and not get real power. This one sad realization was one major reason I said good bye to my political aspirations in Pakistan when I left 20 years ago. (I do salute Imran Khan for staying and putting up a good fight, even at great personal risk).

Now that the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the Occupy Wall Street in the United States, and far more importantly, the middle class uprising in India against corruption has vested interests and tyrants (political and economic) running for cover, Imran Khan may have a real chance.

But, that brings us to the second serious problem. He is still hampered by lack of any clear (articulated) PLAN that he would execute on, if he was in power. Even his speech in his largest rally (which is being reported on by media including the New York Times, etc.) was another “letdown”.

Richard Nixon meeting with President Bhutto of...Image via Wikipedia
The only Pakistani leader who could get away with rambling speeches, and still have a million people or more listening and jumping into action, was the late, once-great, later-tyrannical, deposed and hanged Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Imran Khan is nowhere near that man’s stature, statesmanlike quality, popularity, or even vision. In the end, even with his charisma (that Bill Clinton would want to learn from), speaking ability (that Barack Obama would dream of achieving without a teleprompter), it was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hubris, putting the interests of his crooked henchmen ahead of the nation’s, and having no more vision and plan beyond getting re-elected, that got him hanged by General Zia-ul-Haq and the military.
Picture of imran khan infront of the flag of P...Image via Wikipedia
Imran Khan needs to do more than gather 100,000 people (and make a meaningless speech).

Even I can make a speech about what the problems in Pakistan are, name who the crooks are, and why we need to solve the problems….

But, without saying HOW I would solve the problems, WHO I would have as my trusted and nationally trusted lieutenants to execute the plan, I too would be as useless in power as Imran Khan will be – if he does by some twist of fate find himself in government.

Unfortunately, even 15 years in politics getting to this point, Imran Khan, whom I would love to see in power compared to the current crop of so-called leaders, has neither stated his vision, nor articulated his strategy, and neither has he shared a roadmap and execution plan. That is what makes Pakistan’s leadership void doubly sad.

Even worse, regardless of his Western education and former lifestyle, Khan’s current wave of popularity is driven by a populist state-the-obvious (politicians are crooks and have done nothing for Pakistan), blame-USA fervor (while sometimes sounding like a Taliban apologist).

Yes, the current leaders and even the opposition are crooks. News Flash: So are the ones in the USA and other countries. (Italy‘s Premier could give Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari a run for the money and the scandalous behavior).  Yes, the USA has a shameful record in Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan’s spineless sellout leaders have allowed even more exploitation for their own power. But, Pakistan had economic problems since independence. It has had ethnic near-civil war in different regions for decades before 9/11 or America’s arrival in Afghanistan.

Without addressing specific problems that Pakistanis themselves tolerate — and allow their leaders to create — neither the cronyism-loving leaders, populist personalities, nor well-intentioned analysts, or worse, power-hungry dictatorial generals, can change the country’s future.

As I have said in my own public speaking and on radio & television…. “National destinies are created by people, not by leaders, dictators, pedagogues, or sycophants. Pakistan needs to be saved not from America, but from (illiterate, violent, extremist, close-minded, crooked, corrupt) Pakistanis, by Pakistanis (who still believe in the great future that the nation is capable of achieving).”

What do you think?

© 2011 Imran Anwar
IMRAN.TV

 

 

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Posted in Barack Obama, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Democracy, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Lahore, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan, Politics, Strategy, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan Democracy: The Long March, The First Step

Posted by imrananwar on March 25, 2009

What a difference a day makes. What an even bigger difference a week can make.

What an amazing and exciting week this has been for Pakistan as a nation. Its elected leaders had just recently squandered a historic opportunity to set Pakistan boldly and directly on the path to institution and nation building.

On more than one occasion, on TV and radio, I had compared Pakistan, as a nation and especially as a government, to the ship Titanic, except that this one had deliberately hit every iceberg it could find.

Just when it seemed that the current government in Islamabad had completely forgotten the lessons of history – of merely one year ago – something changed. It had appeared that the policies of Islamabad were surely and not so slowly pushing Pakistan in the direction of chaos and eventual return of martial law.

As someone who has told his share of lawyer jokes, for the last one year I have had nothing but praise and kudos for the barristers and attorneys of Pakistan. Theirs is a career dependent upon daily earnings, made from daily work outside the court houses of Pakistan. One could not have been imagined that profession as the consistent and unstoppable source of the year-long protest movement. What the lawyers of Pakistan carried out was doubly special, as they did it against not one but two tyrants within one year.

Besides self-inflicted wounds, almost exactly of the kind that General Musharraf suffered from, perhaps there was some hubris or misconception in Islamabad. Maybe there was a feeling that people in Pakistan have become immune to tyranny. Perhaps it was felt that when push comes to shove Pakistanis are so used to having people in power do what they please that nothing would come out as protest against any power grab carried out by Islamabad.

But just when it seemed that our ship PNS Titanic was headed straight into a minefield, surrounded by icebergs, in the midst of the perfect storm, the most amazing opposite perfect storm arose in response. The nation became a nation.

The Long March, as it was called, was the best example of a peaceful (at least by Pakistani standards) uprising by the people of Pakistan to have their way with an elected ruler trying to cling to, and expand, his power.

I was in Lahore in 1977 when it happened the last time. I remember driving past puddles of blood covered with ash in dozens and dozens of locations on The Mall where anti-PPP protesters had been killed by the government at that time. This time however, thankfully, the perfect storm that arose was one of common sense, decency, courage and people power.

In particular in addition to the lawyers of Pakistan, there are many people I, even as a New York-based Pakistani, want to give thanks to.
This includes Prime Minister Gilani for his understanding of which way the wind was blowing and helping President Zardari see some light. General Kayani must have had to fight the urge not to take over the government. It must have been difficult when the elected leaders were themselves creating a situation that was going to endanger not just law and order in Islamabad but bring chaos across the nation.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has grown in stature not just within Pakistan but also abroad. He is being praised for taking a stand on principle, showing patience and then being very statesmanlike in his response to broken promises from Islamabad. To then show courage and refuse house arrest to march upon Islamabad put him on a much higher level of leadership than he was at before.

Even the police officers who, after some “kaarwai“, showed common sense and decency, either to resign or to let the protesters begin their march towards Islamabad, should be considered heroes of democracy. As most of my readers and fans know from my background, during my days at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, in the early 1980s,

I was a student leader and chief organizer of QSF. The Islami Jamiate Taliba, as well as its parent, the Jamate Islami, were considered the mortal enemies of liberal organizations like ours. They even murdered Anas Choudhry, a final year student member of QSF, the year I joined UET.

But, today, as during the previous year, I am happy to give credit to this party for its principled stand against tyranny and dictatorship.

I never thought it possible, but even a member of the very political party and inner circle of Islamabad, Ms. Sherry Rehman, deserves praise for her decency, courage – and good timing – in resigning her position. It can be argued that she did it because there were others interfering in her ministry rather than what the government was doing to the independent media. But I, and the people, still give credit for her resignation.

Many of these things would not have become possible had it not been for the courageous, first-time in the life of our nation, stand of the real Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Choudhry, and his fellow judges, who resigned under General Musharraf.

They stayed out of office and jobs, despite pressure, incentives and other tricks that governments have at their disposal in Islamabad. I will avoid passing comment on the people who sold out their souls to get the appointments that they got. But I hope that this new chapter in Pakistan’s history will also be the time when we start naming our villains for future generations to remember and spit on the names of.

Another hero, an entire industry really, that is among the less respected professions around the world these days, including America, was the Pakistani media. I say this not as a member of the media but as a proud Pakistani American who was ashamed of the silent acquiescence of American media in George Bush and Dick Cheney‘s shameless rape of the American Constitution and human rights around the world.

American media cannot be shut down by any government. Yet the media here quietly let the Bush government do whatever it wanted.

The Pakistani government, through many of its Stone Age laws curtailing freedom of expression and press, can shut down almost any Pakistani media entity. The bigger they get in Pakistan, the more the government can squeeze them. Even as a teenager I know how many magazines Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto, whom I then admired, shut down for being critical of his policies. Urdu Digest was one that frequently had to reappear under other names.

I was a member of the press in Pakistan when vile dictator General Zia-ul-Haq gave many journalists a taste of what a dictator can do. He had writers’ nails pulled with pliers to make them stop criticizing him.

For the Pakistani media to have stood up, first to General Musharraf and then to the current Zardari government in Islamabad, at great risk and financial loss to themselves, is another element to celebrate in this great victory of the people. A lot of credit goes to GEO TV, Jang and many other media.

Lack of space and time prevent me from individually thanking every single group or individual, like Mr. Aitezaz Ahsan, who played a central role in this great turnaround. God bless you all, for being the new heroes of a new democracy that can still rise in our nation.

The long march may have been intended for Islamabad, but it may turn out to be something far more important.

The Long March may have become The First Step in a thousand-mile journey – to the true destiny of Pakistan – as a great, free, democratic society ready to take its place in history.

“Qadam Barhao Saathio, Qadam Barhao”

Imran Anwar is a New York and sometimes Florida based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in America, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Dictator, Dictatorship, Elections, George Bush, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Judges, Justice, Musharraf, Pakistan, Prison, Zia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

India’s Triumphant Cultural & Political March

Posted by imrananwar on February 23, 2009

India’s Triumphant Cultural & Political March:

From The Slums Of Bollywood To The Red Carpet Of Hollywood

By Imran Anwar

(New York) It was nearly 30 years ago that my first writings were published in a major Pakistani newspaper, the once defunct and then reborn Pakistan Times. The writings continued during my time with the Jang group, in particular MAG Weekly, in the late 1980s, until I left for the United States.

All during that time, despite all my criticisms of whoever was in power at that time in Pakistan, my writings were always full of hope, desire and confidence of a great future that Pakistan had ahead of it. I also often wondered about why people older than me, some who had also travelled abroad, were far more cynical and much less hopeful.

All through that time I had always been the staunchest supporter and the defender of the name of Pakistan, whether it be in writing letters to the editors of foreign journals and newspapers critical of Pakistan or trying to convince foreign diplomats and journalists, as well as Western citizens, about how great Pakistan was going to be.

One of the important yardsticks, which would perhaps now be called a Meter stick under the metric system, was how we were doing in comparison to India. I distinctly recall how Pakistan had always been a pro-western, America-allied, fairly liberal, capitalism driven society.

India, on the other hand, was a country we competed with on the field of sports, the battlefield, as well as for international influence. We used to laugh at the ugly, dinky little cars that the Indians made, instead of importing the fancy ones we were driving in Pakistan.

Yet in the last 20 years that I have lived in America, India has made amazing, impressive and steady marching progress towards becoming a major global player – in almost every industry in the world. Pakistan during that same time seems to have sprinted downhill – faster than any Olympic athlete could.

It should have been a matter of concern for us when India, the long staunch Soviet and Communist ally, became a major trading partner of the United States, a country on which we had long relied, and whose foreign policies we had often followed. India developed a pool of engineering and other professionals, providing services, engineering, talent and operational capabilities to the world’s largest companies.

In doing so they earned billions and billions of dollars for their country. During this time, we in Pakistan saw the decline of the educational system, the breakdown of institutions, if any existed, and simply the beginning of the end of what might have been a great future.

It was a matter of personal disappointment, almost shame, for me that the day that India launched its first astronaut into space was also the same day that Pakistan went to the International Monetary Fund to beg for survival money. Shame.

During the same time that we were making a name for ourselves, for kidnapping and beheading visitors to our country, India launched, and continues to run, one of the most impressive media campaigns to promote tourism in its country.

Titled “Incredible India!” this campaign appears in major newspapers, magazines and many other places. It simply takes almost exactly the same kind of tourism places and situations that Pakistan could offer visitors but turns it into a must-visit, mystique-filled, once-in-a-lifetime, cultural experience image.

During this time despite the proliferation of private TV channels in Pakistan, another field where the Indians have done an amazing job has been their film industry. They have leveraged it not just in making a name for themselves, but marketing their country and becoming a source of talent abroad. In addition, in exchange, they are bringing even more visitors and foreign exchange to their country,

First their hottest movie stars started appearing in Hollywood films. Then, despite many Indian movies being barely concealed copies of Hollywood scripts, India was able to convince Hollywood to make many Indian-themed movies.

Then they tied their greater and greater visibility in Hollywood, ever improving quality of Bollywood films – which were getting screened in America. They then mixed in marketing of India and its culture and cemented it with the welcoming of American tourists and filmmakers. This was an amazing recipe to lead India to one of its greatest global public relations successes just a few minutes ago.

The Academy Awards ceremony has just concluded in Hollywood, California. As this publication is going to press, the whole world (including a television audience of probably 1 billion people, along with the many millions more who will read newspapers and see photographs online) has seen India emerging as a triumphant victor on yet another field. This time it’ the red carpet of Hollywood and the Oscars ceremony.

Even a movie called Slumdog Millionaire, set against the backdrop of the intense poverty that can be found in India, has turned into a global publicity and financial victory for India, its culture, its movie industry, its tourism and its economy.

And this is not just about showbiz or something that has no global or historic significance. India’s clout, its visibility, its popularity and its new-found confidence – even from something as simple as a movie award – is manifesting itself in its ability to dictate to the world.

India can now even dictate what President Barack Hussein Obama‘s team can or will discuss with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan – who are now in Washington DC.

India not only did not attend the meeting, it made clear to the American government that Kashmir is not to be discussed. The American administration agreed to that. In the meantime the same American Administration has expanded the missile strikes it will carry out within Pakistan – while Pakistan’s shameless politicians are merely fighting over dissolving assemblies and not even worried about justice, the one promise that people had asked to be fulfilled, from Karachi to Swat.

The early copies of tomorrow’s New York Times show the exactly opposite paths that two countries born on the same day in history have taken.

The Indian movie industry’s massive triumph on the Hollywood red carpet is one headline related to India. On the same page, the news item related to Pakistan is about a secret United States unit now in Pakistan to train its commandos to battle AlQaeda and the Taliban.

While American companies, and even individual creative types, are literally discussing over cocktails this very minute the next project they want to do in India, the few people discussing Pakistan are wondering if Pakistan will even survive as a nation.

I wonder if I will be around in 20 years to write a similar analysis. And I wonder where in history, geography and world affairs Pakistan will stand on that day. What do you think?


Imran Anwar is a New York based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in 2009, Afghanistan, AlQaeda, America, Barack Obama, Hollywood, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Justice, Kashmir, Marketing, Media, Missile, Obama, Pakistan, Politics, President, Washington | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

IMRAN.TV: (Urdu) “What’s Next In Pakistan-India, Palestine-Israel Issues & Obama Administration?”

Posted by imrananwar on January 19, 2009

Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, New York, Local video feed clip of Pakistani TV channel’s question:

Q. What is the situation in America and what comes next for India-Pakistan, Israel-Palestine and other issues under the Obama administration?

What is your opinion?

Category: News & Politics

Posted in 2009, Barack Obama, Danger, Economic Recovery, Economy, Editorial, George Bush, Hindus, History, Imran, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, ImranAnwar, India, Israel, Kashmir, Media, Muslims, News, Obama, Palestine, Politics, President, TV, Urdu, Zionists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IMRAN.TV: (Urdu) “What Are People’s Expectations From Obama?”

Posted by imrananwar on January 19, 2009

Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, New York, Local video feed clip of Urdu TV channel’s question:

Q. What are people’s expectations of President Barack Hussein Obama?

What is your opinion?

Category: News & Politics

Posted in Barack Obama, Cabinet, Clinton, Economic Recovery, Economy, George Bush, History, Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, ImranAnwar, In My Humble Opinion, India, Israel, Kashmir, Media, Muslims, News, Obama, Pakistan, Palestine, Politics, President, Urdu, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IMRAN.TV: Should India Attack Pakistan Over Mumbai?

Posted by imrananwar on December 18, 2008

There is a lot of discussion going on about the possibility of India attacking Pakistan over the Mumbai events. Even in the best of times two countries considering war as an option is usually a lose lose lose situation for them and the world.

For them to be two nuclear armed countries simply means an even bigger disaster for the whole world. For India to be a predominantly Hindu country, with Hindu extremists tried to come into power, and for Pakistan to be a dominantly Muslim country, with Muslim fanatics trying to take over power, the plot thickens. The possibility of a mushroom cloud rising over many cities in South Asia becomes even greater.

India was attacked, possibly by people from Pakistan. Pakistan denies it, but may also be in denial in itself. Kashmir is the most likely root cause. Should India attack Pakistan over the Mumbai events? Let’s view the video.

Should India Attack Pakistan Over Mumbai?Imran Anwar http://imran.TV / http://imran.com/media/blog/ comments on India and Indians wanting to attack Pakistan for Mumbai attacks.

Posted in Attach, Hindus, India, Kashmir, Muslims, Nuclear Weapons, Pakistan, Terrorism, War | Leave a Comment »

Use Tweets Instead Of Bullets To Win Your Wars

Posted by imrananwar on December 12, 2008

The last two weeks have been a blur of activity all over the world. Ranging from the good to the bad and the ugly, everyday we learn not only how flat our world is but how interconnected everything is.

The attacks that took place in the Indian city of Mumbai were just the kind of excitement that we did not need this holiday season. I can understand Kashmiri freedom fighters and their supporters wanting to lash out at India, and its economic centre, saw the Indian occupation of Kashmir and the treatment of the Kashmiri people. I can even understand their frustration that61 years have gone by but the rest of the world does not seem to care about United Nations resolutions calling for the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.

In the meantime more and more American, and European, investment continues to pour into India. From Bombay to Bangalore one can see India becoming a magnet for international investment as well as outsourcing of jobs from countries like America. Even the Indian film industry, which used to be entertaining, to say the least, has now become a force and is beginning to make its mark felt even in Hollywood and the West.

Perhaps it is for this reason that the Mumbai attackers decided to target tourists and visiting businessmen, whose Dollars and Euros are strengthening India and enabling its to continue its policy of occupation and terrorizing of the Kashmiri people.

However, there is no excuse for the indiscriminate murder of innocent Indian citizens going about their daily lives. I cannot understand how this attack on Mumbai in any way made the Kashmiri issue more important to the rest of the world. Or, how it made the world in any way more sympathetic to Kashmir.

Even if calling attention to the Kashmir issue was their primary goal, one would at least expect some communication from the masterminds or strategic leaders of this kind of attack. One would request them to at least explain their version of a rationale for such mayhem. Even the PLO, when it was successfully hijacking airliners in the 1970s, was communicating to the rest of the world that it was trying to call attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. Of course, as we can see that did not lead to the independence of the Palestinian people from Zionist Israel.

At the same time, carrying out an attack like this when it would obviously lead to severe Indian reaction against Pakistan shows that these terrorist killers were no friends of Pakistan. It would be foolish of us to argue that they did not come from, or have some support in, Pakistan – as my fellow Pakistanis tend to do. At the same time the jingoistic and "let’s use this as an excuse to bash Pakistan" tone and tenor of India’s words on the issue is not the smartest response either.

One hopes that saner heads prevail on both sides. Not that I am in any way advocating war, but India would be well advised to remember that Pakistan is its nuclear armed, capable and militarily strong neighbor.

Pakistan may not be able to "defeat" India in a conventional war, but any war that takes place because of the circumstances can easily spiral out of control and turn into a nuclear conflagration. In that, neither India nor Pakistan would win. They, and the whole world, would be defeated.

It is for this reason that it is essential for Pakistan and the Kashmiri people to immediately start using more effective tools of communications to call world attention to these issues. We are living in a connected age. Almost everybody has access to the global network, either through computers connected to the Internet or even through SMS on their cell phone.

Services like Twitter, which enable millions of people to have a real time conversation with short messages of 140 characters (called Tweets), are where the current and future battles for hearts and minds of the global audience take place.

In places like these Muslims in general, and Pakistanis in particular, are few and far between. People from, and supporters of, India and Israel are always active in general. They become even more hyperactive when Muslims, or Pakistanis, or Palestinians, carry out these types of murderous attacks we saw in Mumbai, which backfired on all of us.

If you have not already done so, and have Internet connectivity, I invite you to join up Twitter. Follow the conversation and respond to it. The easiest way to start is to go to http://twitter.com/imrananwar ,sign up and use the Follow button. This way you can see what I am saying in response to the attacks on Pakistan.

Then simply by clicking Reply you can join the conversation. In this case not only would your response come tome, but it would go on the "global public timeline" which means it is there for the whole world to see.

As you say interesting and useful things, or have interesting points and counterpoints, more and more people will begin to follow you. That enables you to build relationships as well as open doors of communication with people from all over the world.

Remember, just because you are not in the same room as the person you are responding to, don’t lose your sense of decorum no matter how angry they try to make you.

Being abusive, narrow minded, or just plain offensive only ensures that your words reflect poorly on the very country or cause that you are trying to support. Or it will mean more and more people blocking your messages AND opposing whatever you were supporting!

Remember, a conversation is most effective when you are open minded and balanced. Even people with opposing, or somewhat negative opinions of your country or cause, can become more aware of your point of view, or even become supporters. Be opinionated, but be courteous. Be firm, but be open-minded.

That is the most effective way to communicate your point of view, as well as helping educate the rest of the world on what the root cause of the Pakistan and India problem is. In one word, it’s Kashmir.

The only way to win that battle of hearts and minds in a global, interconnected, world is through using tweets instead of bullets to win your war. Get online, follow and tweet me!

Posted in America, Bombay, Communications, Hollywood, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Internet, Israel, Kashmir, Mumbai, Muslims, Pakistan, Palestine, Terrorism, War | 1 Comment »

Profit From The Meltdown: Part 2: Huge Profit Opportunities In The Coming Recovery

Posted by imrananwar on October 22, 2008

Profit From The Meltdown:

Part 2: Huge Profit Opportunities In The Coming Recovery

By Imran Anwar

In the previous column we discussed why the current economic crisis appears far worse than it actually is. Yes, grave dangers exist if the world’s economies are mismanaged. But, so far, it appears that all major governments understand the global implications and are working together to stave off global ruin.

It is for this reason that I argue this may be the best time in the world to start investing, to take advantage of the huge opportunities and bargains that surround us, before everyone else does. This is especially true of younger generations, young families, and dynamic people who can afford to take a long term view more than someone close to retirement or already retired (unless they have significant amounts available to invest).

I believe the recession, though painful, will be short lived and will end soon into the Presidency of the new American President. This is especially true if history is any indicator. A Bush in the White House always leads this country into war and economic ruin, and his exit always leads to a historic economic recovery and the opportunity to create great wealth. I can hardly wait for Inauguration Day, 2009!

I also believe we will not have a global Great Depression version 2 between now and then.

There are several reasons for this. One is that most of the world governments and nations had learned several lessons from that historic crash of 1929 – which is referred to as The Great Depression. (I am not sure what was so "great" about it). In that particular crash, the then American administration had made many bad moves. That included not responding, not responding in time, then responding in a parochial, inward looking, protectionist way and doing too little too late.

You are not hearing me say that George W. Bush or his team of incompetent henchmen have done anything right. However, because we live in the Internet age, and most of world economies are so tightly intertwined, in general most of the developed world’s governments are working in unison to avoid a global meltdown, even while they recognize a recession is already underway.

How to minimize its damage, and to prevent it from turning into a domino effect – that brings the planet to its knees – is what they are fighting for. Bush and his team, and even Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, showed their cluelessness on the economy. At 9 AM one day McCain was saying the economy was strong. Two hours later he was saying the country (America) was in a grave crisis, as if a sudden earthquake had just taken place.

Then Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paulson said there were specific steps that would be just plain wrong – like the government taking equity stakes in American banks in exchange for large sums of capital. But, when the British, Europeans and Japanese governments did exactly that and saved their economies, literally a day later he was doing the same thing. So much for having any competent person in the White House team! (Maybe Bush can now say, "You’re doing a heckuva job Pauly"?)

But, regardless of how incompetent these people are, fortunately they are not the only ones who have a stake in saving the American economy from imploding.

There are countries with huge amounts of United States dollars stashed away in their banks. This includes countries like China. Even the Chinese Communist government, regardless of how disdainfully it may think of the United States, is smart enough to know that the greatest source of its wealth in recent years has been from manufacturing cheap goods that the American market just cannot get enough of buying.

Also, as few people realize, an American meltdown, of its economy or its currency, will also mean financial ruin for China in several ways. China’s growing working middle class depends on feeding the American consumption beast for it to survive and grow itself.

On top of that, over the least few years, despite participating in a world economy, and benefiting from capitalism and open markets, China has always manipulated its own currency to ensure its goods do not become too expensive to export. As a result, for several years, America has had a huge trade deficit with China, leading, effectively, to America owing China a lot of money.

Now its policy of protecting its own currency is coming back to bite China. That is because China is possibly the biggest non-American holder of huge reserves of Dollars. A crash of the Dollar can effectively wipe out China’s current economic wealth.

America, just like Pakistan right now, is hardly in a position to turn down economic support from any quarter. Sure, it’ll be a shameful and sad day for the United States to go begging to China. The one remaining superpower in both military and economic terms, before George W. Bush came into office, would actually now be dependent on a communist country like China to help save it’s capitalist society!

China, previously the source of cheap socks and itty-bitty cheap plastic toys could be and, I would say also for its own self-interest, has to be America’s economic savior.I also see this as a huge opportunity for Middle Eastern countries, also slush in Dollars and Petro-Dollars, to offer their help but leverage it to increase opportunities for their businesses. But, sadly, I have not seen much strategic exploitation of that of any significance. Sure, we have the occasional deal worth Billions (e.g. when a financially suffering chip-maker AMD has sold off a majority stake to ATIC of Abu Dhabi, an investment arm wholly-owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

But, I do not see a concerted, strategic and financial effort on the part of Middle-Eastern, or Muslim, investors and entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities as I see Indian and Israeli companies doing. I can imagine us crying in 20 years about how not only do the Jews control Hollywood and the media but then how Indians and Israelis control Silicon Valley.

Yes, I do see that Arabs have started buying up real estate, the one business they understand well here in America (being among the biggest buyers of casinos and other entertainment properties also). But, can they leverage this to help establish a foothold for Arabs and Muslims in things like Venture Capital and other next-generation financial industries? Sadly, it does not appear that is even a goal for them. It seems real estate is already, correctly, being targeted for massive investments but not much else.

It is for this reason that I am quite confident that huge opportunities exist for Pakistani, Middle-Eastern and Muslim investors to benefit, not just from real estate, but also from many other opportunities to buy financial, corporate and technology company assets at bargain prices.

Even though, like everyone else, I took significant hits in the stock market during the last several months, I have actually increased my holdings, especially in stocks of Citibank, as well as Apple. I have also bought stocks of others, like Amazon, Pepsi-Cola, etc. that also got hammered a few days ago. But, the greatest upside I still see in the stock market is in companies like Apple, as well as other battered financial stocks.

Last but not least expensive desirable real estate is going to become even more expensive and more desirable as the market turns around, which is sure to do in the coming days. This will be true especially in the United States when my fellow Americans are smart enough to change the direction this country is headed in. It will happen even sooner if they elect a candidate who is not simply going to continue George W. Bush’s policies of economic disaster. We will find out on November 4.

But, don’t lose sight of the huge opportunity for real estate that exists in other markets too.

Major American institutions have created funds of several Billion Dollars to start buying real estate in countries including India. Thanks to the self-destructive tendencies of my fellow Pakistanis, people hardly consider Pakistan as a safe haven for their money (much less their bodies!), but as real estate investment takes off, there will also be a trickle-down or trickle-sideways (osmosis?) effect on Pakistani real estate prices.

I have been making my best efforts to interest American investors in also including Pakistan in the list of places that they invest in – but so far it has been a losing battle. I am hopeful in the new Administration in America (and some improvement in Pakistan’s war on terrorists) that the USA will feel a greater need to invest in Pakistan. But, similar huge opportunities exist for Pakistanis of means to invest in real estate in the United States and I am seeing that a lot more from clients that I advise on doing business in the USA.

All in all, I am not just hopeful, but certain, that the current recession will be a short one, though not without short-term pain. I am positive that savvy investors are going to start putting their money, and their instincts, to work before everyone else jumps back on the bandwagon. I am working to do that, and hope you will too!


Conclusion.

Posted in Amazon, Apple, Bush, Business, China, Citibank, Economy, Elections, Globalization, Imran, India, Investment, McCain, Opportunity, Pakistan, Pepsi, Politics, President | Leave a Comment »

Is Indian Outsourcing Industry Losing Out To Other Sources?

Posted by imrananwar on March 30, 2008

Someone posted an interesting question on LinkedIn, that I have also seen being asked in other places, whether India was not the top outsourcing destination and why?

From discussions I have had with various people, and my own observations, I think that, yes, India’s value as an outsourced services provider has increased in volume but is now less of a cost advantage to client companies. Quality has suffered, and many American companies in particular have pulled back from Indian operations.

While it will take some time for India to fall off its perch as the main focus of IT and even other professional services outsourcing, IT is beginning to show some changes.

Several factors are at play. In the past Pakistan, etc. could not really come close to what Indian companies could offer in a scalable manner. Such countries are getting better, though India still has far more momentum.

A major problem, besides India’s poor infrastructure, is the fact that GOOD Indian engineers can now command salaries not a small but a significant fraction of salaries for similar positions in the USA.

Additionally, the quality of resources being churned out, almost mass-produced, by the professional/educational system there is not at par with what Indians have previously built a great reputation on. So some clients are starting to see significant declines in quality and significant increases in the amount of hand-holding or reiterations needed to get things right.

That still does not mean it is a slam dunk for Pakistan, Bangla Desh, etc. to steal India’s thunder. India still offers far greater stability than, say, Pakistan can – so a US businessman is not going to worry too much about being beheaded during a trip to India.

So, yes, India is vulnerable to good competition on cost with good quality work. But, it is not on the way out.

Certainly many Pakistani and other countries’ companies are leveraging that. But, I do not see Pakistan’s built-in tendency to self-destruct any great opportunity going away anytime soon. Having been born in Pakistan, I have been an entrepreneur in Pakistan in the 80s. I know how tough it was then – even before suicide bombings became a problem. Now, suicide bombings targeting Pakistanis are a DAILY occurrence. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a Pakistani company to convince Americans or any foreign clients to visit and freely move about the country.

I surely respect those that are trying to do it in the even worse situation of law and order they face. Their job is not going to be easy to even catch up to India, much less get ahead. But, time, effort and rising Indian costs can give them a better foot in the door than ever in the past.

In the meantime, Indians being far more strategic and better business-minded thinkers, are doing a great job not just moving up the “food chain” in services they provide, but are also leveraging global capital markets to turn the tables and buy American and European companies.

I do not see Pakistan’s biggest business, industry and media tycoons thinking or being far sighted beyond the lengths of their own noses.

What do you think?

Posted in Business, Globalization, India, Internet, Pakistan, Strategy, Technology | Leave a Comment »

 
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