Book Review: The Quetta Experience: A Study of Attitudes and Values Within the Pakistan Army by David O Smith

From Dr Hamid Hussain

Book Review – The Quetta Experience: A Study of Attitudes and Values Within the Pakistan Army by David O Smith

 Hamid Hussain

David Smith’s book The Quetta Experience is a groundbreaking and unique study of Pakistan army’s prestigious Command & Staff College that trains army officers for higher ranks. This book is based on interviews of American army officers who attended Command and Staff College at Quetta in Pakistan. Foreign Area Officers (FAO) of US army spent a year at Staff College.

Colonel David Smith is well qualified to embark on this kind of project.  He attended Staff College Quetta in 1982 and has remained in contact with large number of senior officers of Pakistan army.  In view of his extensive contacts in Pakistan army, he has been a Pakistan hand at Pentagon and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) for over two decades.

This study looks at functioning of Staff College and evolution of its curriculum to train Pakistan army officers for higher ranks.  It covers the years from 1977 to 2014 when American officers attended Staff College.

Smith has reached many relevant conclusions and based on my own work on Pakistan army, I agree with several of his observations. The fear of ‘Islamization’ within officer corps is exaggerated and army has put in place filters at various levels to ease out officers with extreme views. There is a generational divide about national security threat among Pakistani officers.  New generation that has been fighting against the militants for the last two decades sees internal security as existential threat to the country and India as a secondary threat.

New generation is more informed in view of access to information outside normal training manuals and study material.  In early part of fight against militants, platoon and company commanders aghast at cluelessness of their brigade and division commanders devised solutions to their tactical problems. Old school officers were frantically looking for old maps of tribal territories where their troops were deployed and dusting old frontier warfare manuals.  Young officers thrown right in the middle of the conflict found their own solution by simply using google maps. They have access to open sources on experience of other militaries engaged in internal security and counter-insurgency challenges.  They look at American, Indian and Israeli experience and draw their own conclusions.

Pre 2000 generation of army officers had gaping holes in the art of higher direction of war.  Kargil crisis of 1998 is a good case study.  There was casual and unprofessional attitude at the highest decision making process at all stages of planning, execution, extrication and handling the fallout on all areas of national security. The only saving grace was the heroic fight of countless junior officers and men under their command who gave stellar performance in most unfavorable conditions.  How the institution handled it?  Almost all company and battalion commanders were retired or superseded. Brigadiers, Major Generals and Lieutenant Generals got promotions and prized appointments.  It seems they were rewarded for a successful military operation and then army banned discussion of Kargil operation at all training institutions for over a decade. One cannot get more dystopian than this.

Pakistan army maintains good standard of education and training comparable to most military institutions. Majority of Pakistan army officers who attend courses at foreign training institutions usually excel and attain top positions. Teaching material and training at Staff College and National Defence University (NDU) has also evolved focusing on new challenges. Majority of Pakistan officers who attended Staff College consider curriculum adequate for promotion up to Colonel and Brigadier rank.  Main limitation is tendency to stay with accepted solutions and hesitation to think out of the box. Rank is a major barrier where students are hesitant to challenge ideas forwarded by the faculty.

Smith’s work is important as it provides an outside perspective of training of Pakistan army officers at mid-career that has significant impact on the promotion to the higher ranks.  However, it has significant limitations. It is perspective of American officers who spent only a year at one institution with significant restrictions.  In addition, they view Pakistan and its neighborhood through American security interests.

This study is must read for anyone interested in Pakistan army as it lifts the curtain a little bit to shine light on training and selection to higher ranks of Pakistan army officer corps. Staff College is the first step of the ladder of promotion to senior ranks and have dominant influence on country’s policies not limited to national security.

David O Smith.  The Quetta Experience: A Study of Attitudes and Values Within the Pakistan Army (Washington D.C: Wilson Center Asia Program), 2018

Acknowledgements: Author thanks several Pakistan army officers of different ranks who candidly shared their own experiences and perspectives about Command & Staff College Quetta.

 Hamid Hussain

[email protected]

25 July 2020

Defence Journal, August 2020

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53 Replies to “Book Review: The Quetta Experience: A Study of Attitudes and Values Within the Pakistan Army by David O Smith”

  1. If “New generation that has been fighting against the militants for the last two decades sees internal security as existential threat to the country and India as a secondary threat.” is indeed true, then it would seem that there is a big disconnect between the Pakistani military and the politicians. If there was alignment, we would be seeing some movement towards some sort of a cold peace with India that would allow Pakistan to deal with Islamic militancy within its own borders.

    IMO, this is what the Pakistani military wants the US to continue to believe, so that they can continue to receive largesse to “fight the militancy”.

    Perhaps back-channel approaches have been made to the Modi Govt. A new and important factor increasingly is China whose goals in South Asia are complex.

    Sorry if I am being cynical. Simply do not see evidence on the ground to support the assertion made by the author.

    1. There is not going to be any kind of “cold peace” with India as long as India refuses to even discuss the Disputed Territory of Occupied Kashmir. Post the August 5 annexation this is a non-starter.

      As far as I’m concerned, Pakistan should give up on any kind of dialogue with the Hindutva Regime and remain prepared to counter any Indian aggression (like Balakot). India should know that any designs on the Islamic Republic will be punished extremely severely. We are fully prepared to protect the homeland at all costs. We can hope for a rapprochment if the Gandhi Dynasty ever returns to power.

  2. U are sweating it needlessly on India attacking Pakistan. Modi is calculating politician. Unless he has to absolutely do it in the 23rd hour, he wont do it. And attacking Pakistan unless there is a serious drain on is political capital, he won’t. Since there is already an open front with China. Immy has been going on with his Hindutva is Nazi stuff from last year, with no pushback. Modi knows in larger scheme,Pakistan does not matter for him , and he would rather win in India, then push for a war against Pakistan which he might not win.

    Even if Congress returns to power the Overton window has shifted vis-v Pakistan in India. I think no political party can ever go back to status quo ante on either Pakistan or Kashmir.

    1. “U are sweating it needlessly on India attacking Pakistan.”

      I get where Kabir is coming from. Our priors are different.

      We might feel that Modi is not going to attack Pak. But they still have to be on guard for it. And the risks are not symmetric. A limited war or even a small to and fro costs Pak much more relatively than it does us.

  3. I find the general Pakistani obsession with military things really odd. This is quite unlike Indian culture, where people who have close family members in the defence forces will know very little about mil matters and such things are not discussed at home. Military is not a desirable career option nor is its knowledge seen as a particularly interesting thing…

    I know this in my own family. My uncle is a retired Air Marshal (AVSM). Yet I do not recall any dinner table conversation or otherwise on mil matters – maybe the odd technical one on why Kalman filters are good for reducing the CEP of a guided missile or something. But missiles are only incidental to that sort of topic.

    1. “I find the general Pakistani obsession with military things really odd. This is quite unlike Indian culture, .”

      https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/5Bpn1tsVkywcxoNgbKkFCN/Pakistan-and-the-art-of-trading-castes.html

      “What would India be like without the mercantile castes? I can tell you. Like Pakistan. Four conditions trouble scholars of Pakistan: Military dominance of policy; an economy subservient to national honour; revisionism in Kashmir and an inability to come to terms with an enemy (India) it is unable to defeat; and the inability of society to internally resist religious bigotry.

      The real reason for all four conditions is the same: An imbalance of caste. In a part of the world where culture trumps individualism, Pakistan has no community left to resist its drift into becoming an irresponsible state and a danger to itself.

      The community that could do this, the Khatri-Arora combine that dominates Delhi’s economy, Pakistanis booted out in 1947. My hypothesis is that the division of the Punjabi nation in 1947 produced a Pakistani Punjab that was heavily weighted in favour of the peasant castes.”

      1. I find Indians to be overly deterministic about caste. Not everything is about caste. (Not the first time I’ve read Aakar Patel – a second-rate author in my opinion – to write in such terms)

        Personally I haven’t studied Pakistani social evo much nor know much about its internal politics to know how important caste is / could have been in it. I will happily defer to a Pakistani on that.

        I just see Pakistan as a distinct culture. People who have made different choices and are a product of those choices. And should be understood on those terms as opposed to being modelled as some (pathological) version of India/Indians.

        1. slapstik:
          Agree on the general thrust of your post as well on your judgment of Aakar Patel’s writing

        2. Aakar Patel is Extremely Derivative – almost as if his writings are auto generated – plagiarisms of brighter minds and plagiarisms of one’s occasional brilliance.

  4. West Pakistan was constitued from amongst the most backward and undeveloped parts of the Indian subcontinent. The political culture, quality of civilian institutions and human capital was quite poor. The centres of Muslim culture were all in India. That plus the typical behaviour of rent-seeking, tribalistic local elites explains the country’s subsequent trajectory and lack of development.

    1. Lahore was the Mughal capital for a period. Jahangir and Empress Noor Jahan are buried there.

      Fine, it’s not Delhi or Lucknow but let’s not get into this “most backward” business.

      1. Lahore and the surrounding areas suffered massively from the instability, constant warfare between competing armies and attacks by Ahmad Shah Durrani in the latter half of the eighteenth century during the decay of Mughal power. It took a long time to recover. The business, cultural and professional elites before Partition were substantially Sikh and Hindu. Besides which as you are aware, one or two cities does not make a nation.

    2. why was Pak’s per capita GDP superior to that of India’s, until the last decade and a half of so?

      They must have done something right.

    1. hmm I wonder why Pak wasn’t as hardcore socialist. Ties to America early on to counter pro soviet socialist India? Is it just out of a need to counter India that they chose capitalism?

  5. pak was pro-america. india titled soviet, right?

    bhutto was third world socialist. but his predecessors less so. and it never got as bad as India.

    the founder of Pakistan was descended from lohanna’s right? perhaps that’s it. idk

  6. Pakistan’s leaders were industrialists and land owners, and one of the reasons to break away was Congress’ socialism. The choice was made even earlier than America-Soviet cold wars

    I would not put 2 much credence on business acumen of Jinnah though. Something tells me, had someone told him socialism could get him Pakistan , he would out socialize Nehru, calling Nehru a fake socialist.

    1. i cant almost visualize the tweets from Savarna right (recently embroiled in inheritance and eugenics of caste) pointing out how Jinnah’s bania origins versus Nehru’s Brahmin ancestry resulted in differences in the country –

      That wouldnt surprise me after reading HarshM and KushalM’s to and fro with Varna Believers

    2. “We do not want any flag except the League flag of crescent and star…we do not want any red or yellow flag. We do not want any ‘ism’ Socialism, Communism or National Socialism”
      Indian Annual Register, v. II, 1944, p. 212

      Members of the Muslim League were not permitted to be members of the Communist Party of India.

  7. Are you guys convinced by Guha’s weak defense of Nehruvian impulse and default mode of socialism. In India after Gandhi and elsewhere he also points out that how 22/23 out of the learned Indian economists were in agreement with Nehruvian consensus.

    On the side note the entire Congress party & the country was rightly very suspect of Foreign investors back- that strain continues considerably even today both in the RSS and the Left.

    As for the Red Tape -that could just be corruption and bulky bureaucracy. and Modi must get a tiny amount of credit for speeding things up. Still India has a long way to go.

    I have already began dreading 2021 when my passport is up for renewal inspite of the improved smoothness since passport it was given over to TCS and others

    1. Retrospectively Nehruvian economic planning looks awful . OTOH , there was no large scale opposition to him except from Swatantra Party on his running of the economy. He was popular during his lifetime That is democracy . So, no point blaming Nehru . Most educated classes were sold to socialism then.
      Retrospectively we can do lot of things right.

  8. Both India’s turn to Socialism, and Pakistan towards “controlled” capitalism, not due to ideological reasons but mostly skin deep belief of the leaders. Pakistan was land lord + military+ bureaucracy which of course moved against socialism, towards perhaps the only relevant non socialist ideology. Capitalism.

    While Indian leaders were politicians first and foremost, their opponents in India itself were Zamindars and petty nobles, so they had motive to move towards land distribution and controlled economy. Within Congress itself the only votary for markets were traders, industrialists, etc who again had their own motivation to oppose socialism. They were on the losing side.

    Of course, no economist who valued his/her job would go against the state. Using it to legitimize Nehru’s economic policies, is expected from Guha. Nehru wanted something, and the economists just provided a rationale for what he wanted. When Indira declared emergency, pretty sure a majority of legal experts in India, would have supported her decision as well. We are champion in sucking up to our bosses.

  9. @Ali

    West Pakistan was constitued from amongst the most backward and undeveloped parts of the Indian subcontinent. The political culture, quality of civilian institutions and human capital was quite poor.

    That sounds reasonable and Pakistani HDI / edu / crime indicators are like Bihar, irrespective of its superior productive capacity, say in agriculture.

    Though there may be also be something of a marches mentality to Pakistani regimes, reflected in the extractive nature of its elite? Culture of capitalism is disincentivised in societies where the elite can maintain enough wealth by rent-seeking and toll-charges alone.

  10. India is not a naturally socialist country by any stretch of the imagination. Its socialism was always doctrinaire and a veneer to keep state control over wealth that the state did not trust private capital to hold or regulate. It is essentially a trust and rule of law issue.

    Arbitrary (and often conflicting) regulation, red-tapism, cronyism etc are just the features of a low trust society. The low level of trust itself is a result of deeply stratified nature of Indian society, where the behaviours (and information bubbles) of two neighbours in a town are far more correlated to their respective caste/community kin 1000 kms away than to each other.

    What India needs are more fora for cross pollination / review across information barriers. Fewer Chinese walls 🙂 That means devolution of political power (smaller states and many more of them), more civic consciousness, more cross-regional and cross-caste institutions (political parties, corporations, defence forces, colleges/universities etc).

  11. This book, published by Wilson Center, doesn’t fit the mould of standard Pakistan watchers such as Christine Fair, Shuja Nawaz or Hussain Haqqani who accuse the Pak Armed Forces of perfidy, incompetence or selfish motives (respectively). The author, David O Smith, seems to have spent a lot of time in Pakistan since 1982 as an Army Attache Officer. He has also served as a Track-2 official in some contexts. If he is referring to some sort of gradual trend since the Afghanistan War, his observations even might be true in a relative context.

    But if he is being absolutist, then these younger Pakistani officers are deluding themselves. Their apparent cooldown comes at the exact time that the assymetric disparity between India and Pakistan is getting out of hand. Just the Indian Airforce’s budget (capex + opex + pensions) is equal to the entire Pakistan Armed forces outlay in 2020.

  12. “Pre 2000 generation of army officers had gaping holes in the art of higher direction of war. Kargil crisis of 1998 is a good case study. There was casual and unprofessional attitude at the highest decision making process at all stages of planning, execution, extrication and handling the fallout on all areas of national security. The only saving grace was the heroic fight of countless junior officers and men under their command who gave stellar performance in most unfavorable conditions. ”

    Recent Balakot and Ladakh events have made me realize that both India and Pak army are far less professionals than they let on. Both armies are amenable to external political pressure and issues which ail regular bureaucracy (haggling over control, jealously) etc ail them too. Something which state of art training and courses at foreign universities can’t really rectify.

  13. HDI is funny indicator. Comparing sub sahara like Bihar with Pakistan is nothing more then delusional. Even FATA is better developed then Bihar and less people sleep hungry in war torn region.

    Bihar/UP states combined leach on south Indian states and couldnt even maintain police force on their own. From tax collection, remittances and exports. These 2 states hardly contribute 2% despite 350m population.

    Pakistan HDI is because of stupid high population growth rate.

    1. HDI is a composite indicator, so population density/growth alone does not bring it down. Pakistan and Bihar have similar HDI around 0.55

      In some health parameters, Pakistan is as bad as Sub-Saharan Africa,- take Infant mortality – Pakistan is 44/1000 births while Bihar is 36/1000. Under 5 numbers are even worse, Pakistan is somewhere around 63/1000. Adult life expectancy for Pakistan is 67 while it is about 68.1 for Bihar.

    2. Bro, I agree HDI is not correct indicator to compare Bihar and Pak Punjab, but comparing FATA with Bihar is as u said “delusional”.

      A good comparison of FATA is India’s North East. Bihar is comparable to interior Sindh.

      1. TBH, Avg HDI of North East India is around 0.68 and the highest HDI in Pakistan is Islamabad with 0.67.

        FATA has a HDI of around 0.46, which was India in 1990. Just shows how much India has progressed as a country.

    3. @Raz
      Do you have HDI component wise data for each of subcontinental states?

      “Comparing sub sahara like Bihar with Pakistan is nothing more then delusional.”

      I’d say it’s a pretty apt comparison. HDI is a leading indicator for future economic development. If Pak’s birthrate continues the way it is while the state can’t provide basics to its citizens then Pak will eventually converge with Bihar in GDP/capita as well.

      Southern states like TN didn’t magically become industrial powerhouses. They focussed on social indicators first.

      And they’ll overtake states like Gujarat, which have not focussed on these things.
      (Although Gujjus’ entrepreneurial spirit might save them)

      1. India Industrial growth has hardly anything to do with social indicators. Social indicators were developed in the states which were politically inclined to do that.

        Gujarat gets a bad rep but its HDI is better than Bengal, a state ruled 40 long years by commies, while Gujarat hardly had meaningful policies focused on 2 improve social indicators. While Kerala high social indicators had not let to any industrialization.
        Maharashtra India’s most industrialized state does not really have any trademark social policy to boot.

        So this correlation is not strictly true.

        1. “India Industrial growth has hardly anything to do with social indicators. ”

          Bold of you to say it has __hardly__ anything to do with industrialization and then present 2-3 random comparisons.

          Let’s not swing to the other extreme.

          “Gujarat gets a bad rep but its HDI is better than Bengal,”

          I was comparing Gujarat to southern states, specifically TN. Not Bengal. No one can help a state that’s wilfully bent on implosion.

          Guj is finding it hard to grow its tech industry unlike its peers primarily because of lack of large enough talent pool. And Gujarat’s slip on indicators like female education is recent. So we’ll see the impact in the coming decades unless there’s a policy change.

          “Maharashtra India’s most industrialized state does not really have any trademark social policy to boot.”

          MH has the 6th highest HDI of the bigger states. You don’t necessarily need to make a hue and cry about policy to improve social indicators.

          “While Kerala high social indicators had not let to any industrialization.”

          You can have a high HDI and not be industrialized if you have other sources of income like remittances and services to fund social policies.

          The other way round is not sustainable barring a resource curse.

          “So this correlation is not strictly true.”

          You went from ‘hardly anything’ to ‘not strictly’.

          I get that there’s a feedback loop involved and one feeds on the other. But if you are a resource-constrained over-populated state without a large industrial base. Where do you start? At the people.

          UP-Bihar and Pak Punjab-Sindh make for good comparison then.

          1. Prats, west punjab vs bihar malnutrition and childhood stunting numbers would also be interesting to compare. Its not part of composite HDI, but it could be predictive of future productivity.

          2. Point being HDI and Industalization in India are not co-related.

            “I get that there’s a feedback loop involved and one feeds on the other. But if you are a resource-constrained over-populated state without a large industrial base. Where do you start? At the people.”

            I would actually counter that if u have no money/resources there is hardly anything to invest in social polices and industrialization especially lower end ones AKA Bangladesh/Vietnam can provide a resource pool to invest in HDI. Telangana is a good example where there was hardly any marque social investment (which helped industrialization) , while it kept on Industrializing, which in turn now has allowed KCR to use the excess funds generated from Hyderabad on various social policies. Same with Karnataka, where Bangalore provides the money for Indira Canteens etc

          3. “Point being HDI and Industalization in India are not co-related.”

            Not sure what definition of correlation you are using here. But I am sure that if you do the math you will find that there indeed is a significant one.

            You don’t need to mindlessly optimize for a single metric but you need to have a certain level of social development before you can even begin to have large scale industrialization. Beyond a point, it becomes less correlated.

            HDI is just a proxy to measure that social development. You can argue that it does or does not capture this well. But at the low levels that the states we are comparing are, it should suffice.

            “Telangana is a good example where there was hardly any marque social investment (which helped industrialization) , while it kept on Industrializing, which in turn now has allowed KCR to use the excess funds generated from Hyderabad on various social policies.”

            The region that is now Telangana had one of the highest HDI in the country at the time of liberalization.

            “Same with Karnataka, where Bangalore provides the money for Indira Canteens etc”

            Mysore state was one of the most socially progressive princely states in India along with a few others like Baroda. That is why these regions attracted industry early on and built on it.

            Even today you can see the difference in HDI and industry between south and north Karnataka.

            “I would actually counter that if u have no money/resources there is hardly anything to invest in social polices and industrialization especially lower end ones AKA Bangladesh/Vietnam can provide a resource pool to invest in HDI.”

            Both Bangladesh and Vietnam had their birth rates fall of a cliff in the mid-80s and 70s respectively. They also invested in primary education unlike India that has invested more in higher education. Increasing their HDI (and low skilled work-force). This preceded the rapid industrialization that has been happening in the last couple of decades.

            Both also have higher female work-force participation which is also an indicator of social development, though not captured by HDI except maybe in average years of schooling.

          4. “Prats, west punjab vs bihar malnutrition and childhood stunting numbers would also be interesting to compare. Its not part of composite HDI, but it could be predictive of future productivity.”

            Yes. It’s difficult to find clean data. I’m thinking of putting up a webpage comparing subcontinental states on some metrics with their international counterparts.
            Ex – Maharashtra with Germany, Andhra with S Korea, Bihar with W Punjab etc.

            Will update when I end up doing it.

  14. I am not sure what the new found fascination on Pakistan’s forces. How many professional armies that you know has disowned its dead soldiers??
    No amount of paid PR will change that perfidy. From 1948, Pakistan has regularly its own army soldiers as armed militiamen and looking at their actions, sometimes they do behave like one.

    “For Shah, and his neighbours, many of them ex-army men, Sharif’s greatest betrayal was calling the Kargil fighters mujahideen. “Kashmiri mujahideen?” he scoffed. “He said we were mujahideen! I’m retired from the army. He disowned his own army.” ”

    “They [army] would give us one gola (grenade) each and send us to throw them on the Indians,” Ali, a cook at Nadra, said. “The children were small and were hard to detect at night. And plus we knew all the inside routes that even the adults didn’t. So they gave us a gola each and off we went, running up the hills.”
    https://www.dawn.com/news/1108390

    https://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/17/world/india-buries-soldiers-that-pakistan-won-t-claim.html

    https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Pakistan-lists-Kargil-war-dead/article15691427.ece#!

  15. Whatever the professionalism of the Pakistani Army , which I don’t discount from certain perpectives, these things are here to stay for the foreseeable furture
    Army is the arbiter in pakistani politics and government
    Foreign policy is completely in the hands of the army ; all strategic decisions are made by the army – at most 2 dozen corp commanders
    Army has a hand iin the creation and running of non state Islamist actors to fight in India and Afghanistan
    Army has also lot of interests in running industry directly – it can provide jobs for retired army people
    Army plus army intelligence are determined to snuff out anything like free speech or free nationalist politics in provinces
    Army wants to cover up all these things and will goto any lengths
    The purpose of civil govt like that Imran Khan is to provide a cover and veneer and in worst cases whipping boy of army’s failures. Those who don’t toe this line can be and are eased out.
    The ideas like Garrison State, Army with a state as an appendage have much true in them.
    More colourful writers like Christin fair refer to it as ‘kamina fauj’.
    It has become professional in all these matters and have finessed their control of civilian population over 6 decades.

    The best chance of breaking this mould was in 1970 when Shiekh Mujibur Rahman could have become the leader. Oppurtunistic and short-sighted Bhutto colluded with the army and prevent it. That chance waqs missed by Pakistan and it’s course was set

  16. @Jay

    Again infant mortality which is back bone of HDI indicator is because of high population growth rate. Pakistan always had lower HDI then India because of this. Now India per capita is higher and decline in population growth mean even piss poor states like Bihar may have similar HDI. Doesn’t change the fact UP/Bihar are economic basket case leaching on south India/Maharashtra resources.

    For Pakistan to get better in HDI will have to reduce population growth similar to India and BD. Not happening as state cannot go against mullahs. Other option is ridiculous high GDP growth rate to go along with it, not happening either anytime soon.

  17. @Jay,

    Islamabad HDI is actually 0.875. (2 million population)

    Azad Kashmir: 0.734 (4m)
    Punjab: 0.732 (110m)
    Sindh: 0.64 (47m)
    KP: 0.628 (28m)
    GB: 0.523 (2m)
    Balochistan: 0.421 (12m)
    FATA: 0.216 (5m)

    Pakistan: 0.561 (220m)
    https://www.undp.org/content/dam/pakistan/docs/HDR/HDI%20Report_2017.pdf

    Not sure how UN get that average.

    53% of Pakistan population live in province/federal areas that are considered high development. 34% in medium and 13% in low development areas.

    All huge Indian states comparable in size have lower HDI then Pak punjab. Bihar have higher HDI then GB, Balochistan and FATA who combined makeup just 13% of Pak population.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_states_and_territories_by_Human_Development_Index

    1. “All huge Indian states comparable in size have lower HDI then Pak punjab. Bihar have higher HDI then GB, Balochistan and FATA who combined makeup just 13% of Pak population.”

      @Raz
      You are quoting data from two different sources. The UNDP report from 2017 you have shared uses a different methodology than the one used in the wikipedia article for Indian states. The latter is based on data from global data labs. You can look up the results for sub-national HDI at the following link:

      https://globaldatalab.org/shdi/shdi/IND+PAK/?levels=1%2B4&interpolation=0&extrapolation=0&nearest_real=0

      Pak Punjab is at 0.567 while Bihar is at 0.576

      (A Pakistani Wiki user is basically trying to sabotage the authenticity of the page by selecting a report that shows the country favourably)

  18. @Jay,
    I finally looked up detailed report of Pakistan HDI. Its on wikipedia anyway if someone want to search.

    HDI of Islamabad is actually 0.875. Pak Punjab HDI is 0.732 which is higher then any Indian state comparable in size let alone Bihar.

    KP 0.62 and Sindh 0.64 HDI is higher then Bangladesh and similar to India average. Now I don’t know how Pakistan average HDI is 0.56 when 87% of population live in Punjab, Sindh, KP and Islamabad/AJK.

    Maybe because UN calculate HDI based on districts and not just population number. In this GB, FATA and Balochistan take beating with huge number of districts and low HDI.

    FATA 0.21
    Balochistan 0.42
    GB 0.52

    You can say that disparity between districts is much lower in India.

  19. What explains FATA HDI of 0.21? I’ve looked up some more and it looks like it does relatively well in health and income but education is where it take beating. FATA merger with KP will help its HDI going forward.

    Balochistan is unique case, its bigger then punjab area wise. Probably biggest province/state in all of south asia yet population is barely 12m scattered around. This mean they historically got less development budget as tax revenues are divided on basis of population. Tribal/wadera culture is inherently anti education, especially that of women. India does well here as even Bihar is progressive compared to tribal/wadera mentality.

    Educated women mean less children, less infant mortality much higher HDI. Punjab, AJK, Islamabad, Sindh and KP does well here. Though some districts in interior Sindh, south punjab and south KP are as bad as Balochistan.

    In any case hopefully this end this ridiculous notion of Pak punjab HDI being lower then Bihar. Its actually bit higher then even Indian punjab which is among highest ranked HDI states of India.

    1. Here is where I got the numbers from,

      For India, including Bihar,
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_states_and_territories_by_Human_Development_Index

      For Pakistan, provincial level and special mention on Islamabad capital territory.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_administrative_units_of_Pakistan_by_Human_Development_Index

      It’s 2017 data, dont think Pakistan Punjab would’ve jumped 2 full points from 0.576.

      PoJK has the highest HDI in Pakistan, a little ironic considering the “Kashmir is Pakistan’s” brigade that they are better off integrating with Pakistan.

    2. “In any case hopefully this end this ridiculous notion of Pak punjab HDI being lower then Bihar. Its actually bit higher then even Indian punjab which is among highest ranked HDI states of India.”

      Buddy, you are quoting garbage data. Refer to my earlier comment on methodology and check the link I shared.

  20. @Prats,

    2017 UN report also have Indian figures so its fair comparison.

    “Regionally, Pakistan scored below the South
    Asian regional HDI average of 0.621 as
    well. In contrast, the regional counterparts
    in South Asia – Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh – did relatively better, with HDI
    figures of, 0.766, 0.624 and 0.579 respectively.”

    I’m quoting directly from UNDP who make these reports while you are using some datalab website.

    1. @Raz
      Did you even go through your own link? The report you are quoting is an internal Pakistan survey with its own methodology that’s different from the ones used in international studies.

      Global Data Lab uses uniform methodology across sub-nations. They include the work done by UNDP. You can explore their website in more detail if you wish to.

      “On the other hand, according to the NHDR 2017, Pakistan stands at 0.681 HDI in 2015 which places it at a medium level of human development based on the classification adopted by this report. This figure differs from the global HDR 2016 figure of 0.538 calculated for Pakistan HDI due to the use of different methodology and data”

    1. Are you f’king dumb? May be all that madrassa education is clouding your comprehension skills?? The intelligentsia in Pakistan decided to shift the goal post and had a make believe number as “Pakistan specific HDI”, what ever that means.

      Go back and read the link that you have given,
      https://www.undp.org/content/dam/pakistan/docs/HDR/HDI%20Report_2017.pdf

      “”The methodology employed to compute the national HDI in this report is different from both the global HDI and the national HDI computed in 2003 due to the unavailability of district-level data.

      Two changes were made in the global HDI methodology.

      Firstly, for health dimension ‘life expectancy’ was replaced by two indicators, ‘child immunisation rates (aged 12 to 23 months)’ and ‘self-reported satisfaction with healthcare facility’.

      Second, as district-wise GNI per capita is not reported in Pakistan, the living standard dimension of the national HDI was borrowed from the global MPI reported in the global HDRs.

      Due to these changes in the indicators, the Pakistan HDI presented in NHDR 2017 becomes incomparable with the HDI estimates for Pakistan presented in the global HDR.

      Similarly, the HDI estimates of the NHDR 2017 are also not comparable with the NHDR 2003 HD estimates due to the usage of different indicators for each of the three dimensions. “”

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