LAHORE: The aftershocks of the sit-ins by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri have begun to visibly appear in the economic horizon of the country after the postponement of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit to Pakistan. It was hoped that flood doors of the foreign direct investment would open in Pakistan with the visit of the Chinese head of the state and a new era of development and prosperity would dawn on Pakistan. However, the politicians across the board in Pakistan mishandled the issue and disappointed the nation. The common man is passing through difficult times due to inflation and economic recession, but the political leadership is busy in playing politics without least caring about the plight of the people.
According to the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at least 50 percent business meetings — which were scheduled to be held with overseas clients — have been cancelled or postponed in the wake of the sit-ins. A survey conducted by the overseas chamber also claims that most of the opportunities of foreign direct investment have also been lost and it would take years to persuade the foreign companies to invest in Pakistan.
Pakistan is losing its credibility as a reliable trader partner with overseas businessmen. Unfortunately, the federal government has also played its part to make things worse by impounding thousands of containers carrying goods for exports. The federal government has already failed to attract enough foreign direct investment during one year in the office.
Despite all odds, Pakistan is still an emerging economy and little attention to utilise the available resources can jumpstart the process of industrialisation in the country. One fails to understand why the government always insists on exporting precious food items like mangoes, rice, pulses and meat which are much needed in Pakistan than abroad. The Pakistani missions abroad should be prodded to explore buyers and trade partners in Africa, Europe and Americas to import and invest in Pakistani goods and factories such as utensils, cutleries, marble, and electronics spreading over various regions and cities in the country. The government should ban the export of raw material from Pakistan and motivate traders and industrialists through workshops and seminars to export only finished products abroad.
The government should think over attracting foreign direct investment from neighbouring countries, especially India as Pakistan has vast human and technical resources to bring a boom in the local businesses with international outlook. Both Pakistan and India should invest in each other’s countries to improve bilateral relations.