Consider Doing Business in Pakistan
I know what youre thinking: why should I put my money in a place Ive never even heard of before? Even for those who do know something about Pakistan, courtesy of CNN (and sometimes the BBC) have seen pictures of violence people burning effigies of President George Bush, rioting, army personnel swarming over so-called terrorist camps and, of course, not to forget, a whole lot of bloodshed. No wonder it is usually confused with other places like Iraq and Afghanistan, which are actually going through very bad times.
But trust me, Pakistan is different. I know this sounds clichd AND youve probably heard it all a million times before but the media portrays a lot of the Eastern world in a very negative light, and that is why we have had to suffer both socially and economically. But, as usual there IS the other side of the coin to look at too. With all due respect, I think we all are a little too self-indulged and over-influenced with ONE perspective (usually the media) and tend to ignore the fact that all of Mother Earth is inhabited by human beings, first of all, AND then different races, religions and nations. Ok, I know, this is getting too patronising, and youre curious to know about the business climate in Pakistan (??), so Ill start writing about it. Just bear with me for a few more minutes – lines rather.
Ok. Heres the deal. I will try to introduce you to the concept, in my usual, offhand, irritating way as you have probably gathered about me by know that Pakistan IS, IN FACT, I dare say, a good place to do business, at the very least, from a long-term point of view. The situation of the economy, currently, is, I agree, very precarious. BUT, it is slowly and steadily gathering force and the markets down there ARE improving, especially after taking a dip post 9/11! Tell you what, did you know that alot of the surgical goods that are used in the UK AND the US and in some other European countries are imported from Pakistan? Bet u didnt know that! STILL better, for all you football fans out there did you know that a lot of the footballs used in World Cup football and at club level competitions are made in Pakistan?
A lot of other sports goods, including cricket gear (balls, especially bats), tennis and squash rackets are imported from? YES you guessed it from a place called Sialkot IN Pakistan!! AND it gets EVEN better! A lot of ready made garments are imported FROM Pakistan to the US and UK.
BUT wait a second! Not just any old thing is exported. Before export, all the finished products go through the highest standard of export quality checks IN Pakistan. And believe me, this is taken VERY seriously something as small as a wrong stitch, and the whole item gets thrown out! Well, thats how it works; you dont get such good quality with out many years of experience to back it up.
So those of you who want to place your manufacturing trust in Pakistan, you have my blessings! I assure you that the quality and reliability and skill are there and its a safe bet. I know I dont have any figures to back what Im saying and most of you are probably incredulous at the suggestions I have made just now, BUT these are FACTS and I assure you, you can double check with any Pakistani friend, relative, or colleague of yours. But, make sure its someone who has been living there, at least until recently.
Now, moving on to other business sectors. In Pakistan, the economy is currently in the state of a bubbling, frothy pot of soup. I understand the analogy is probably lost on you, but thats what it is. It keeps having highs and lows. Right now, were somewhere in the middle of the graph and the curve is slowly mounting. A lot of foreign investment is taking place as of this moment mostly in telecommunications, Information Technology, corporate law and call centres. Also, the housing sector is developing as many foreign firms have been contracted to manage housing projects which encompasses planning, building and ongoing maintenance and these firms spend years and years doing all this. Also, since there was only one major port in Pakistan in Karachi, another one is being built in a beautiful place called Gwador, which, as they say, is meant to parallel Dubai, the aim being to gear up for the future increase in trade. There are many skilled people who have returned back to Pakistan after working for many years in Europe and the USA, and are now pushing growth in all these sectors.
I know a lot of you might think Im exaggerating or just putting Pakistan in a good light for the sake of doing so, BUT all Im trying is to say is that there is quite a qualified and cheap skill base and strong industry and infrastructure base in Pakistan which can be used to your benefit. So how come youve never heard of all this before? Simple answer, the secret lies in good old marketing we NEED to put ourselves in a good light. And thats exactly what Im doing. You cant blame me for that, can you? Because coming from Pakistan, I have always felt the need to correct millions of misconceptions about us, and this is just the beginning.
No. Im not going on forever. All I want to say is that I hope I have sparked enough curiosity amongst at least ONE of you to find out more about this under represented and misrepresented place called Pakistan and I only hope that some day the country will be seen in a much better light than today.
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