Local government (ENGLISH)

March 24, 2017

Local governments are an important issue that Pakistan is struggling with.

Today we talk to Mayraj Fahim an international lawyer specializing in cities and local government practices around the world. 

We discuss local government experiences in history and around the world.

We also discuss local government issues in Pakistan.


University and Research Culture in US (URDU)

March 10, 2017

Ammar Malik is a recent PhD from GMU and Naveed Iftekhar after many years of working with Min Fin in Pakistan in now in a PhD program in University of Delaware.  

We had a great conversation on how students from countries like Pakistan should approach studying abroad especially in the US. 

They discussed

  • what it is they gained from their stay in US university.
  • How to get the best out of university in the US.
  • How to take advantage of what is offered here.

The important issue of university and research culture came up. Inevitably it led to a contrast with university culture in Pakistan and some discussion on how things could be improved. 

This is an important podcast for all in universities to listen to. 


Climate Change (URDU)

March 6, 2017

We take up this important subject with Adil Najam Who you have met before. Adil is the Dean of Pardee School in Boston University.  

Fascinating discussion. 

Adil framed the debate very well examining technical and economic issues. He also discussed why the dialog has turned antagonistic and political.

Yet the fact is climate change is real.

We discussed solutions to the problem most of which are at the global level.

However, all countries must however respond to the challenges presented by climate change. And those responses may not be simple but will require a lot of thought as well as research.

So, do listen and learn. Lots of ideas. 



Is the Census being done Right? (URDU)

March 1, 2017

Dr. Zahid Asghar of Quaid i Azam University talks to us about the Census. 

Why doesnt it happen on time?

Why is it necessary?

What is the coverage? 

Is all information being collected?

What are the definitional and statistical issues?  



Getting Policy Right- a proposal (ENGLISH)

February 27, 2017

Khalid Malik who you met when discussing Chinese growth is back with a proposal that could help develop policy ownership for equtiable development. 

Listen to it to understand how better policy can be made and owned in Pakistan. 

He draws on his extensive development experience to put develop ideas for development and then suggests an approach on how to adopt them.

An absoltuely 'must listen' to those itnerested in debate.



Social Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy and the Aman Foundation (English)

February 24, 2017

Foundations and social entrepreneurship are very important methods by which wealthy individuals give back to society. 

In Pakistan, there are several NGOs which are very vocal about social policy. However, most of these are funded by donors following mostly international agendas. 

In Pakistan, relatively few independent foundations have been set up. Just as most businesses are family-run, wealthy families prefer to run their social ventures (eg., hospitals, schools and universities) as family ventures.

Arif Naqvi has achieved an enviable position in the financial world. He has one of the largest Private Equity Fund in the Middle East with well over 10 billion under Fund Management. He is now among the wealthiest Pakistanis in the world.

But what is more admirable is that he and his wife Fayeza Naqvi have set up Aman Foundation in Karachi. This is an important first in Pakistan for 4 reasons

  1. They have put in $100 million of their personal money into the foundation which I think is the largest single donation made by any individual in Pakistan.
  2. They are also running it with professional management and not as a family venture.
  3. They are operating it as social entrepreneurship venture.
  4. They are trying to make it a platform for other foundations to join them. (Gates Foundation has already initiated work with them)

In this episode, we talk to the CEO, Malik Ahmed Jalal who has a an excellent financial markets background, including being a veteran of Goldman Sachs.  

While Jalal informs us of the conceptual foundations of the Aman foundation, its operations and achievements and its plans, what would probably be most interesting to the audience here is that they would like economists/social scientists to help them improve their working with research. 

So, listen to this and see if you are interested in researching how health and education can be delivered through social entrepreneurship. 



“Law and Economics” and Pakistan (English)

January 28, 2017



The importance of institutions to economic development and growth. What is needed now is far more research and debate on what sort of institutional reform is required to achieve Pakistan's desired growth acceleration and development.

This is an initial podcast in the subject of law and economics and the implications of this subject on the required institutional development.

Hopefully this will spark a new area of research.


Aid and Public Policy (English)

November 14, 2016

A conversation with Raza Rumi on a course on 'Public Policy and Aid' that he is teaching at Cornell Institutie of Public Adminsitraiton.  

Raza is well known Pakistani scholar that we have met in an earlier podcast. 

Those interested in Public Policy will find very useful ideas for thought and research here. 


Debt, Austerity and Taxes (English)

November 12, 2016

Every few days we have a conference on debt, taxes or stabilization.  Pakistan seems to be obsessed with stabilization and collecting more taxes even if it means killing growth.  And we have killed our growth and productivity potential through this discourse.

Sadly, this analysis has been inspired by donor funding which has diverted all of Pakistan intellect to thinking only revenues and poor quality fiscal adjustment a clear path to low growth and productivity. This is what is called austerity in the West. 

Research and debate in Pakistan is funded in this direction.  Very little research is done on growth and reform. Nor are there any conferences on that subject.  Pakistani intellect is incapable of challenging the austerity narrative of donors.

Here I argue for growth and against austerity and hope more of you will review this topic and discuss it.

Pakistan needs to change its strategy from giving excessive weight to stabilization through excessive taxation and poor choices in fiscal correction. Giving priority to growth will lead to wiser choices.

It is time that we started looking at avenues for enhancing our growth through reform. That is the only way of achieving a sustainable and quality stabilization. 



Pakistan’s Economic Narrative and Policy (ENGLISH)

November 6, 2016
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back” John Maynard Keynes.


Let us look at the prevailing economic narrative and see if we are following some 'academic scribbler of the past?"


What is the prevailing economic narrative of Pakistan?
Is it consistent with our needs?
Is it based on solid foundations of modern thought?
Why don't we have an honest debate on it?
Is this economic narrative leading to bad policy choices?
Is this the reason why progress eludes us?