Running Out of Everything: How Scarcity Drives Crisis in Pakistan

#1
Running Out of Everything: How Scarcity Drives Crisis in Pakistan
David Steven | 03 May 2011

While pessimism is not in short supply in Pakistan, other resources are increasingly scarce. This is driving the country toward a crisis characterized by interlocking economic, political and security dimensions, and has already brought the government close to fiscal collapse.

Yet the dangers are poorly understood. Few of the country's policy elite fully grasp how Pakistan's energy, food and fiscal challenges intersect, nor how quickly problems will spiral as the country's population grows. Meanwhile, the international community is equally fragmented and short-term in its outlook, still working through sector-based silos that leave it unable to see the big picture. With regard to Pakistan, the United States, along with other international actors, still lacks a coherent vision for what it can do to help build a more stable state. On the global stage, Washington has barely begun to address the impact that an era of higher and more volatile resource prices will have on countries such as Pakistan that are both fragile and strategically significant.

WPR Article | Running Out of Everything: How Scarcity Drives Crisis in Pakistan
Scarcity causes frustration.

A near empty stomach leads to fatalism and a return for solace in religion.

A dangerous chemistry.

And with a non functional government it is explosive!

The situation in Pakistan is serious and it can lead to further international chaos (and they have nukes too)!

The Pakistan's democratic Govt is no Govt. It is subservient to the Army and the ISI.

The Army to remain relevant requires conflicts to justify their existence.

Terrorist organisation, as per international media reports, are propped up by the ISI as 'strategic assets'.

These 'strategic assets' are used liberally and encouraged.

The terrorist organisations havoc the neighbourhood, while Pakistan claims ignorance and innocence.

Therefore, what is the answer?

Will a better fed Pakistan be an end to the turmoil?
 
#5
I'm not totally up to speed on the agricultural productivity of the country, but I got the impression that a lot of arable land had been wiped out by the last floods and the resulting destruction of irrigation systems. If so, a well-fed Pakistan looks to be one fed from outside.

On the other hand, starving people tend to have very little to lose so it's perhaps in our interests to give them other options than the ones the Islamists are offering.
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
I'm not totally up to speed on the agricultural productivity of the country, but I got the impression that a lot of arable land had been wiped out by the last floods and the resulting destruction of irrigation systems. If so, a well-fed Pakistan looks to be one fed from outside.

On the other hand, starving people tend to have very little to lose so it's perhaps in our interests to give them other options than the ones the Islamists are offering.
And the earlier earthquake didn't help either. Amazing how much damage half a hillside falling into the local river will do when it happens twice in quick succession. Plus the destruction of the heavy agricultural machinery that could have been used to repair said infrastructure. Trouble is food prices are already spiraling upwards so feeding a population as big as Pakistans' will be expensive and logistically troublesome BEFORE corruption, negligance and enemy action is factored in. Plus feeding them with hand-outs might well encourage a sence of nihilism in the 20something male population as they aren't WORKING for it themselves (suspect this factor also influences the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip rather a lot as well), but being given it by condescending foreigners.
 
#7
I've highlighted the relevant bit... after all it made Britain Great.

Rudyard Kipling said:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;


If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
 
#8
And the earlier earthquake didn't help either. Amazing how much damage half a hillside falling into the local river will do when it happens twice in quick succession. .


Then they should take the hint that Allah has a downer on them.
 
#10
There's a point of view that Quantitative Easing (IOW, intentional, planned global inflation) by the US Fed has pushed up global food prices so much that it's causing all the Arab Spring revolutions; Pakistan could be next on the list.
 
#11
There's a point of view that Quantitative Easing (IOW, intentional, planned global inflation) by the US Fed has pushed up global food prices so much that it's causing all the Arab Spring revolutions; Pakistan could be next on the list.
Well they did outspend the Russians during hte Cold War, same tactins for TWAT?
 
#12
If the Yemen wasn't the Muslim world number one basket case, Pakistan would have that honour.
I've posted quite a lot on their water sector on the old 'Water Wars' thread (Plug!)
Put bluntly, the people really running the place (the Army) have been more worried about the Indians rolling in than in trying to break the stranglehold of the greedy and selfish aristocracy who own and run the countryside. 25% of the economy is really backward and wasteful agriculture, and the infrastructure has been thrashed by flood and earthquake. The rich are really,really rich and the poor have less than nothing (There are many debt slaves, in literal serfdom). The civil government is run by, and for, the wealthy landowners.

It's a valid point that the desperate and starving fall back on religion, but the mullahs won't be able to help either. The problem is just too deeply entrenched.
The worrying aspect is that the flood defences have probably not been rebuilt to any standard since last year, and its only a couple of months until the next monsoon season. If its a heavy one, expect another disaster.
Pakistan unprepared as monsoon approaches | Global development | guardian.co.uk

"Pakistan's next monsoon season is still months away, but after the deadly floods last year aid workers and experts are warning that the country is still unprepared for the worst. "Now is the time to build up Pakistan's resilience to disaster," said Neva Khan, director of Oxfam in Pakistan. "The cost of implementing safeguards pales in comparison to the damage to lives and property [that could be caused by the monsoon]."


The monsoon season usually runs from July-September. Last year, more than 20 million people in 78 districts were affected by the worst floods in living memory. Some 2.4m hectares of standing crops and about a third of the rice planted that year were destroyed; paddy yields dropped by 38% on the previous year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.


Many of those affected are yet to fully recover. In Sindh province 80,000 displaced people are still living in camps and settlements, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha). "I still do not have a properly built house; it was very difficult through the winter and now I am worried about rains later this year," Muhammad Khan, a farmer, told IRIN from his village in Charsadda district in the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.


Efforts to help those affected by the floods are continuing. More than 2.5 million people have benefited from the construction of almost 63,700 latrines. More than 921,000 families have received hygiene kits, and 6.6 million individuals have been reached with hygiene promotion activities, Ocha reported.


The plight of people in areas where rain triggers flash floods and landslides has highlighted the need for disaster preparedness, according to the UN secretary general's special representative for disaster risk reduction, Margareta Wahlström.


Pakistan, which according to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is at continued risk of man-made and natural disasters, lost around $8.7bn-$10.8bn – about a third of its 2009-10 budget – to the July floods. Yet the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank estimate that an investment of only $27m in disaster risk reduction mechanisms could greatly reduce losses from future disasters.


Speaking at the end of a visit to Pakistan in February, Wahlström said there was a clear need to "build resilience to future floods, just as Pakistan embarks on the reconstruction of flood-affected areas following the devastating floods of July 2010".


Local observers say there is limited evidence that this lesson has been learned. For example, many of the houses hastily reconstructed by victims are built on the same lines as those washed away earlier. Residents in areas such as Swat Valley in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, where roads and bridges were badly damaged, claimed the same holds true for infrastructure. "The thing is we built many of the roads ourselves, with some help from military personnel, after the floods, using what materials were available. We needed the roads to move relief supplies to villages, and couldn't afford to wait for the government to take action," said Abdul Sulaiman, from the town of Kabal in Swat.


In February, relatively light rain damaged around 100 houses in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, including the capital Quetta. "Many people have been left without a roof over their heads," Naseem Ahmed Lehri, the commissioner for Quetta Division, told the media at the time.


Ahmed Kamal, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority, told IRIN the government's planning commission was "undertaking post-flood reconstruction". The policy was to "build back better" by putting in place disaster-resistant housing and other structures, he said."
 
#13
If the Yemen wasn't the Muslim world number one basket case, Pakistan would have that honour.
I've posted quite a lot on their water sector on the old 'Water Wars' thread (Plug!)
Put bluntly, the people really running the place (the Army) have been more worried about the Indians rolling in than in trying to break the stranglehold of the greedy and selfish aristocracy who own and run the countryside. 25% of the economy is really backward and wasteful agriculture, and the infrastructure has been thrashed by flood and earthquake. The rich are really,really rich and the poor have less than nothing (There are many debt slaves, in literal serfdom). The civil government is run by, and for, the wealthy landowners.

It's a valid point that the desperate and starving fall back on religion, but the mullahs won't be able to help either. The problem is just too deeply entrenched.
The worrying aspect is that the flood defences have probably not been rebuilt to any standard since last year, and its only a couple of months until the next monsoon season. If its a heavy one, expect another disaster.
Pakistan unprepared as monsoon approaches | Global development | guardian.co.uk

"Pakistan's next monsoon season is still months away, but after the deadly floods last year aid workers and experts are warning that the country is still unprepared for the worst. "Now is the time to build up Pakistan's resilience to disaster," said Neva Khan, director of Oxfam in Pakistan. "The cost of implementing safeguards pales in comparison to the damage to lives and property [that could be caused by the monsoon]."


The monsoon season usually runs from July-September. Last year, more than 20 million people in 78 districts were affected by the worst floods in living memory. Some 2.4m hectares of standing crops and about a third of the rice planted that year were destroyed; paddy yields dropped by 38% on the previous year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.


Many of those affected are yet to fully recover. In Sindh province 80,000 displaced people are still living in camps and settlements, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha). "I still do not have a properly built house; it was very difficult through the winter and now I am worried about rains later this year," Muhammad Khan, a farmer, told IRIN from his village in Charsadda district in the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.


Efforts to help those affected by the floods are continuing. More than 2.5 million people have benefited from the construction of almost 63,700 latrines. More than 921,000 families have received hygiene kits, and 6.6 million individuals have been reached with hygiene promotion activities, Ocha reported.


The plight of people in areas where rain triggers flash floods and landslides has highlighted the need for disaster preparedness, according to the UN secretary general's special representative for disaster risk reduction, Margareta Wahlström.


Pakistan, which according to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is at continued risk of man-made and natural disasters, lost around $8.7bn-$10.8bn – about a third of its 2009-10 budget – to the July floods. Yet the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank estimate that an investment of only $27m in disaster risk reduction mechanisms could greatly reduce losses from future disasters.


Speaking at the end of a visit to Pakistan in February, Wahlström said there was a clear need to "build resilience to future floods, just as Pakistan embarks on the reconstruction of flood-affected areas following the devastating floods of July 2010".


Local observers say there is limited evidence that this lesson has been learned. For example, many of the houses hastily reconstructed by victims are built on the same lines as those washed away earlier. Residents in areas such as Swat Valley in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, where roads and bridges were badly damaged, claimed the same holds true for infrastructure. "The thing is we built many of the roads ourselves, with some help from military personnel, after the floods, using what materials were available. We needed the roads to move relief supplies to villages, and couldn't afford to wait for the government to take action," said Abdul Sulaiman, from the town of Kabal in Swat.


In February, relatively light rain damaged around 100 houses in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, including the capital Quetta. "Many people have been left without a roof over their heads," Naseem Ahmed Lehri, the commissioner for Quetta Division, told the media at the time.


Ahmed Kamal, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority, told IRIN the government's planning commission was "undertaking post-flood reconstruction". The policy was to "build back better" by putting in place disaster-resistant housing and other structures, he said."
So the place is buggered then?
 
#14
More buggered than a 12 year old blonde choirboy at the annual Scoutmaster & Clergyman's Convention.
 

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