Friday, October 27, 2006

Pakistan: The New India?

Well, no not exactly. But this article talks about the growing software industry back home. What's interesting about it is the angle it takes, framing progress in the service sector of the economy as a tool to tackle extremism.

While such a rapid explosion of wealth among Pakistan's elite has raised concerns about a parallel explosion in social inequality, Malik is part of a wave of young entrepreneurs who see an emerging antidote: their businesses. By creating jobs for young people and exportable products that promote stability, they reason, they can give Pakistanis viable alternatives to extremism.

"How many people who have jobs would actually go to their employer and say, 'There's a protest. I'm going to go burn some American flags'?" asks Shakir Hussain, a Whittier College graduate who employs 45 people at his software-consulting business in Karachi.

This is something I've often thought about, but not just in terms of economic progress. Simplistic as it may sound, I think having fun is such a big part of this. In our big cities, unless you're a rich kid, you have very little to do. There are very few parks where you can go and kick a ball. The cinema industry is in shambles. Those video arcade places are either ridiculously expensive or magnets for drug/gang related activities (or both). And have you seen the state of our museums and zoos? What's a middle/lower class kid to do? I almost feel like (and I have no scientific basis for saying this, just a hunch) if there were more outlets for adolescent restlessness, we'd have less tyre-and-bus burning. But that's just me.

By the way, if the guy whose picture is shown in the article really is "Pakistan's new face", I'd like to switch nationalities, please.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Burt,
when you return from the university of chicago and your cushy academic gig, put your balls to the wall, and actually employ some folks, then you will have earned the right to be snotty. In the meanwhile you're just another rich paki kid who comes to visit in the summer, lives in his expensive home in DHA and smokes pot with his rich buddies.

AKS said...

Totally agree with anon here, who's cut through your bull shit and gotten to the heart and soul of the matter.

You're the Dajjal (the Muslim anti-Christ).

An elitist, snooty bastard, living the good life in Chicago who, by day, frolicks in a park feeding ducks and by night writes incendiary things about average, God fearing Pakistanis so that they may follow him towards eternal damnation.

We reject you and your 'stoned slacker' kind. We know that what you really mean by recreational activities is prostitution, gambling and drugs. So take these vices and shove them up your burt.

And your assertions that young Pakistanis need things to do is the product of your ignorance. Pakistani kids are perfectly happy working as labourers, or if they've got rich elitist parents they're quite happy racing their Chinese Honda CD-70 rip offs and joining APMSO, IJT, PSF. What more does a boy need? Oh, and since girls ought to be married at puberty, all this hoopla about recreation is just dumb.


Ahsan Burt