Unfortunately, we have already wasted all the 73 years, after the independence of Pakistan, in the unaffordable luxury of politics. Pakistan is a country that appears to be in perpetual crisis. Yet it weathers storm after storm, continually defying odds of state failure, economic collapse and greater social strife.
Pakistan’s success in initially containing COVID-19 this year was a good omen. It revealed a nation collectively resolved to deal with the latest crisis. But COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and, as is common practice in Pakistan, the military is stepping in to fill a leadership void and shows no sign of retreating.
Apparently, Pakistan has not done great job of marketing or promoting itself to international investors both intuitional nor individuals. When people in the West think of Pakistan they think of negative things like terrorism, abduction, FATF and things along these lines.
However when I visited Pakistan I experience none of this. My experience in Pakistan has been extremely positive. With 5th largest population, everyone needs food, clothing, housing, education, transportation, wedding, entertainment and so on.
When I visit different countries for business trips, people usually ask me about opportunities to invest in China and Far East when I tell them about Pakistan opportunities they tend to shy away. To my surprise, many have not been approached by the Pakistani government to pitch to them opportunities in Pakistan.
Most people only know about Pakistan with regards to garment outsourcing. No one has pitched to them about agricultural exports Pakistan can offer. No one has pitch to them about software outsourcing.
Of course small software outsourcing is being done in Pakistan but nothing at the level of what India, Philippines, or even small population countries like Singapore or Malaysia has achieved.
I pitch Pakistan at every opportunity I get in Europe, China and Middle East. I especially tell people in Europe, China and Middle Eastern about much-needed infrastructure investment that Pakistan can absorb from water desalinization to electricity generation to distribution to fiber-optic network that is needed in Pakistan.
Recently I have been involved in joint ventures with Chinese companies for Pakistan and have brought many of these firms to the country, especially we are working with various Chinese technology companies for Karachi, mining companies for projects in Baluchistan, and agriculture exports from Punjab.
We have been working on a China-Pakistan Fund which would bring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Pakistan. This would enhance the foreign reserves of Pakistan so Pakistan doesn’t have to go asking for loans from international institutions which put unnecessary restrictions on Pakistan.
We are also working with Chinese and Arab Gulf partners for affordable housing in Pakistan and promoting Pakistani agricultural products and food companies in China, the Middle East and Europe.
We have been exploring for joint-venture (50-50 JV) partner for a Pakistan based mutual fund company with two of the top Chinese securities and mutual fund companies.
Our country of 220 million populations can only move forward, if it is absolutely united and totally focused, on the economic emancipation of the teeming millions, rather than busy in infighting and planning to topple one government after the other.
It is the cardinal responsibility of the ruling leadership to unite the country and involve each and every person in nation-building, which is not the job of years, but of decades.
Without the involvement of every Pakistani in nation-building, there is no other way we can take Pakistan to the comity of developed nations.
The government needs to promote Pakistan appropriately in order to attract foreign investments, which can directly help the country’s progress. Every Pakistani Diaspora also needs to promote Pakistan’s positive image at every level for the betterment of the country.