Foreign Affairs’ offices lethargy discourages flow of overseas Pakistanis’ investment

KARACHI: Apart from the factors deterring foreign direct investment into Pakistan, the lethargic attitude of officials at the offices of Ministry of foreign affairs in Pakistan as well as abroad is discouraging investment by overseas Pakistanis.

Central bank has channelized workers’ remittances through Pakistan Remittances Initiative (PRI), which have almost doubled in last five years, but there has been no effort to direct non-resident Pakistanis’ saving towards country’s investment avenues.

Besides, the typical government official attitude of the staff of various consulates and camp offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly discouraged overseas Pakistanis’ investment in stocks, real estate and SME sector of the country.

The inter-consulate verification and endorsement of documents is not an easy job at all. If a non-resident Pakistani needs to get some document verified from Pakistan or vice-versa, it would take over a month even in this electronic age.

Pakistan’s consulates in Toronto, Canada; Dubai, UAR and Jeddah, KSA to name a few are strongly criticized by non-resident Pakistanis.

“My brother in Toronto sent a power of attorney in my name, which I need to get verified from Pakistan’s consulate in Toronto through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Camp office in Karachi to make a property transaction, but it’s been two weeks and there is no trace of my application,” Adeel Ahmed said.

A Pakistani born Canadian national said visiting the consulate in Toronto was nothing less than a nightmare for Pakistanis living in Canada.

An official at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Camp Office in Karachi said that all the delays were on the part of consulates abroad.

“Pakistan’s consulate in Toronto is the least responsive. There are over 100 applications pending verification and endorsement with the Toronto consulate for over a month. They are not responding despite, calls, faxes and emails,” he said.

Nadeem Naqvi, Chairman Karachi Stock Exchange said a day earlier that over 50 percent of Pakistanis in US, Canada, Europe were quite well-off and their savings if attracted to country’s investment avenues could make a big difference.

 

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