Dear Colleagues!  This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #736 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

These blog posts are based on WIPO – World Intellectual Property Rights Report on Global Innovation Index 2022.

These two posts will be dedicated for Pakistan. Comparison with nearby countries shall follow later.


GII Rank #87 – Population 225 million – GDP, PPP 1,157 billion USD – GDP per capita 5,447 USD – Income level, Lower Middle.

Out of 132 countries included in this report, Pakistan stood in the second quartile from the base. It means that Pakistan is very low on the scale of innovation. Given that Pakistanis are usually regarded as mentally smart, hardworking, and capable, why do we get such poor ranking? There are two major reasons: one, many of the brilliant people leave the country to settle abroad and they do good work there, and that work is not credited to Pakistan; two, intelligent people living in Pakistan either do not have enough opportunities or divert their intelligence to wrongdoings. Pakistan had been facing severe brain drain for many years, but now, even skilled/non-skilled workers also want to leave the country. Some of the capable people still living here, are those who work in the digital space and are working for foreign companies online. Innovation may still be there, but it is strangled at every step.

Input Rank #111

Input is the support for innovation. We are further lower in rank in this area. Let us look at the indicators of Input and our situation.

Institutions #118

  • Political environment             #104
    • Political and operational stability                   #108
    • Government effectiveness                              #102
  • Regulatory environment         #118
    • Regulatory Quality                                         #113
    • Rule of law                                                     #106
    • Cost of redundancy dismissal                         #109
  • Business environment             #107
    • Policies for doing business                             #50
    • Entrepreneurship policies and culture            #68

Overall, the institutions are ranked much lower than the country ranking.

Our politics, since this report, has gone from bad to worse, and the downward trend continues. Present scenario is probably the worst in our history. Government effectiveness is at its lowest because its legitimacy is in question.

Our regulating bodies are armed with aged, irrelevant rules and laws, which they apply at discretion. Corruption runs in the system and cannot be rooted out.

Our business environment for honest, hardworking businesspeople is extremely tough. However, for thugs and cheaters, it is greatly favorable.

Human Capital and Research #113

  • Education                                #117
    • Expenditure on education, % of GDP            #116
    • Govt funding/pupil, %GDP/capita                 #76
    • School life expectancy, years                         #114
    • Pupil-teacher ratio, secondary                        #84
  • Tertiary Education                  #(118) means the Data Minimum Coverage  (DMC) requirements were not met
    • Tertiary enrolment, % gross                           #108
    • Graduates in science and engineering            data not available
    • Tertiary inbound mobility                              data not available
  • R&D                                       #53
    • Researchers, FTE/million population             #76
    • Gross expenditure on R&D, % of GDP         #90
    • Global Corporate R&D Investors, top 3         #38
    • QS university ranking, top 3                           #42

Human capital and research are ranked lower than the country ranking.

What has been done with education is unforgiveable. Government institutions at primary and secondary level are delivering poor quality education, and private institutions are fleecing the parents though some of them are delivering quality education. Government schools have dilapidated buildings, some of which have been taken over by the local powerful people who are using it as their ‘dera’ for social meetups and residence of their servants. Ghost teachers are also a common phenomenon where some name is shown in the record, his/her salary is withdrawn every month, but the person does not exist.

Secondary and higher secondary education is in the firm grip of academies which are private, after-school places where students are taught and coached to perform in the exam. The entire emphasis is on getting marks, not knowledge.

Tertiary education, or higher education has suffered the most. Higher Education commission was formed in 2002 under Dr. Ata ur Rehman and huge amounts of funds were pumped into public universities for promoting tertiary education. However, there has been a lot of wastage in this area. Funds had been utilized for making grand buildings and buying expensive equipment which is either not being used or used carelessly and lying for want of repair. As for promotion of PhD and increasing the number of degree holders, the research is repetitive, and of no commercial value.

Research and Development is showing a higher ranking on the same basis, as mentioned above. But the quality of research leaves much to be desired. All universities put together, have awarded PhD degrees to hundreds of students, but no research has delivered academic excellence or practical benefit.

Infrastructure #114

  • Information & Communication Technology (ICT)    #98
    • ICT excess                                                                  #108
    • ICT use                                                                       #108
    • Government’s online service                                      #82
    • E-participation                                                                        #96     
  • General Infrastructure                                                 #127
    • Electricity output, GWh/million population               #105
    • Logistics performance                                                #110
    • Gross capital formation, %GDP                                 #119
  • Ecological sustainability                                            #111
    • GDP/unit of energy use                                              #77
    • Environment performance                                          #126
    • ISO 14001 certificates/billion PPP $GDP                  #82

ICT is better to the extent that the internet access, and mobile phone use is still cheap, though the quality is highly variable.

Infrastructure is generally in crumbling state in Pakistan. The road network is in shambles if you leave the main roads. Whatever is left is being misused by the public. All basic amenities, air travel, railways, public transport, electricity, water, gas, government office buildings, everything is physically, professionally, and morally going down.

Ecological sustainability is in negative already. The illegal timbering has rendered most forests extinct. The rest of them were converted to greed-based housing schemes. The latest drive is to convert agriculture land into housing societies without considering the implications for future food security. We do not care about climate change because we believe we have little impact on it despite utter disregard for it. The chemicals being used, the fuels being consumed, and the trash being generated every day, is a humungous problem but not being recognized.

A word about ISO 14001 certificate, which is in vogue these days. It is about how the corporate handles environmental matters. The certificate has now been obtained by many corporates, without doing anything to conserve environment. It is the same practice that goes into getting ISO 9001 certification. The corporate, consultant, and some certifying body, collude together and get the certificate after paying requisite fees.

Market Sophistication #100

  • Credit                                                              #102
    • Finance for startups and scaleups                               #62
    • Domestic credit to private sector, %GDP                  #113
    • Loans from microfinance institutions, %GDP           #37
  • Investment                                                      #92
    • Market capitalization, %GDP                                     #65
    • Venture capital investors, deals/bn PPP$GDP           #79
    • Venture capital recipients, deals/bn PPP$GDP          #68
    • Venture capital received, value, %GDP                     #79
  • Trade Diversification and Market Scale         #75
    • Applied tariff rate, weighted average, %                    #110
    • Domestic industry diversification                              #45
    • Domestic market scale, bn PPP$                                #23

We appear to be doing better on these parameters. However, capital for startups is coming from various organizations, mostly through foreign funding. Venture capital is also being offered for viable projects, though the performance of most projects is not good.

Several microfinance institutions are operating, and they receive funds from international donors. The MFIs have developed elaborate structures, but the microloans are not cheap. The average interest rate is over 40% which is more than double that of regular bank rate. The loanees still accept because they have nowhere else to go, the amounts are small, and the markup is not felt so badly.

Rest of the parameters shall be taken in the next post.


Disclaimer: Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images and Pexels. Credit is given where known; some do not show copyright ownership. However, if a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.


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