Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Friday, June 21, 2019

Ilamdin and Mohammed Taseer

Tribune of Chandigarh carried this story back in 2011:

Like father, like sonby R.K. Kaushik
IN history, sometimes along with human beings institutions also migrate. In the year 1947, one such institution, which migrated from Amritsar to Lahore was Muslim Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College. This college had a very famous Principal, who was also the first person from Punjab to get a PhD in English from Cambridge University of England.

It was one day in the summer of 1937 that he, a bachelor, went for shopping in Hall Bazaar of Amritsar. As ill luck would have it, he forgot his purse in the shop and came back. A British lady by the name of Ms. Christable picked up the purse and went next day to return it to Prof. Mohammed Din in his college.

Since the British lady had also been a Cambridge student, an instant friendship started. May be, that was love at first sight. Later, they decided to get married and their Nikah ceremony was performed by Sir Allama Iqbal. 

Prof. Mohammed Din had three children — two daughters followed by a son, who was born in 1946. Christable’s younger sister Alys also started visiting Amritsar and developed a liking for a lecturer of English at MAO College named Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The younger sister followed the elder one and married Faiz. 

At the time of Partition, most of the Muslim students and teachers of MAO College of Amritsar moved to Pakistan along with the college. The college itself got shifted to the premises of DAV College of Lahore located in the lower Mall. It still runs there.

Prof Mohammed Din was handsome and a voracious reader, besides being a famous Urdu poet, with the surname of Taseer. He took over the Principalship of Islamia College, Lahore. Prof. Mohammed Din Taseer had an early death in the late 50s. His son and two daughters were brought up by his wife Christable — now converted to Islam with the new name Bilquees. The daughters settled in England after marriage in Muslim families and the son, Salman Taseer, became a chartered accountant. He later joined politics and became a famous leader of the Pakistan People’s Party. He became the Governor of Punjab province of Pakistan in May 2008 and was murdered a few days ago by a fanatic. 

Sometimes I think that had Prof Mohammed Din not lost his purse in the shop in Hall Bazaar, Amritsar, and had that not been found by the British damsel, many such events would not have happened.

Salman Taseer was murdered because of his stand on the blasphemy law regarding Holy Prophet. There is a strange coincidence. His father too had praised, defended and arranged for the funeral of Illamddin in 1929 because Illamddin, who had killed Rajpal Malhotra, the owner of Hind Pocket Books and father of former Punjab Governor Surender Nath because of his comments on Holy Prophet.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Income Tax

In his remarkable book on Growth and Inequality published recently, eminent economist Hafiz Pasha has referred to Section 51 and 52 of the Second Schedule of the Income Tax Ordinance as an example of built-in inequality. It allows the army chief and corps commanders special tax treatment.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Pakistan - World Happiness Report 2019

There is an outfit that publishes the World Happiness Report.  The primary measure is the "Cantril Life Ladder" (from Hadley Cantril, Patterns of Human Concern, 1965).

As far as I can tell, some 1000-odd people of age 15+  in each of 156 to 158 countries are asked by Gallup polling each year the following question, which in English reads:
“Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”
The average for the country is supposed to reflect its level of happiness. The report also includes measures that one might think affects the answers given on the Cantril Life Ladder, such as per capita income and life expectancy, and survey measures such as perceived freedom to make life choices, perceived corruption, and so on.

Pakistan's scores on the Cantril Life Ladder are shown below, and the world rank, out of some 156 countries, in the report issued in the next calendar year.

GWP = Gallup Worldwide Polling
waves = rounds of polling
Data and captions taken from the World Happiness Report 2019.

GDP per capita is in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) adjusted to constant 2011 international dollars, taken from the World Development Indicators (WDI) released by the World Bank on November 14, 2018.  The equation uses the natural log of GDP per capita, as this form fits the data significantly better than GDP per capita.

The time series of healthy life expectancy at birth are constructed based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Observatory data repository, with data available for 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2016. To match this report’s sample period, interpolation and extrapolation are used.

Social support is the national average of the binary responses (either 0 or 1) to the Gallup World Poll (GWP) question “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count onto help you whenever you need them, or not?”

Freedom to make life choices is the national average of binary responses to the GWP question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”

Generosity is the residual of regressing the national average of GWP responses to the question “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita.

Perceptions of corruption are the average of binary answers to two GWP questions: “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?” and “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?” Where data for government corruption are missing, the perception of business corruption is used as the overall corrup- tion-perception measure.

Positive affect is defined as the average of previous-day affect measures for happiness, laughter, and enjoyment for GWP waves 3-7 (years 2008 to 2012, and some in 2013). It is defined as the average of laughter and enjoyment for other waves where the happiness question was not asked. The general form for the affect questions is: Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday?

Negative affect is defined as the average of previous-day affect measures for worry, sadness, and anger for all waves.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

It's the economy, stupid!

Ali Hasanain writes in the Dawn:

In the five-decade period between 1963 and 2002, India generally grew slower than Pakistan, yet there were six instances of India’s annual economic growth exceeding the size of Pakistan’s entire economy.

More worryingly for the strategist, in the 15 years since 2003, India has achieved this feat nine times.


Simply to return to our relative strength with respect to India to 1990 levels, we need to grow at an average of 10pc for the next 30 years — achievable, but a feat accomplished only by Ireland, China and Vietnam in the past.

The key out of this mess lies in understanding that this is as much a story of our stagnation as it is of India’s rise. Since the 1980s, every major South Asian economy has improved its citizens’ health, and since 1990 its wealth, faster than Pakistan.