Business no image

Published on July 1st, 2007 | by Babar Bhatti


Reality Check in Pakistan

As Pakistan telecom industry welcomes yet another foreign investor (SingTel), it is time to take a look at the broader picture and realize that not all is well. The rains and flooding have caused widespread damage and distress in major urban cities and in Baluchistan. Disasters like these expose the underlying fundamental weaknesses of business environment in Pakistan.

The structural weaknesses in Pakistan’s infrastructure is the result of weak, inefficient and incompetent governance. Some might say the government is non-existent. These issue have been around for ages and and whatever economic reforms or progress is made in any sector (such as telecom) will be overshadowed by this fundamental problem.

Take the example of drainage problem in Karachi or the lack of reasonable roads in business and industrial areas of Lahore. Tell me what good is to brag about 60 million subscribers or billions of dollars of foreign investment if we can’t have the very basics of facilities (electricity and energy is a prime example) for our citizens and business community?

I’m sure the foreign investors must be carefully watching this sad state of affairs. As part of the corporate responsibility they should step up their efforts to engage the right stakeholders, hold the government accountable and help bring about much needed change. After all they can impose conditions at the time of investing their money!

Here’s an excerpt from a Gulf News article which talks about similar realities and the economic divide.

While investors remain unperturbed over Pakistan’s socio-economic realities, its obvious that the growing gap between the rich and the poor will only increasingly bedevil policy makers as time goes by. For now, investors have taken little notice of realities such as mounting crime rates in parts of Pakistan. But a closer analysis of such situations can just not discount the reality of anywhere between a quarter to a third of Pakistan’s population of at least 160 million living below the poverty line.

As Pakistan’s ruling establishment celebrates what it terms as an econ-omic success story, there’s a great deal of danger for Pakistani leaders to embrace just a part of the picture and play it up to their advantage. There’s another part of the picture – the unnoticed one, which probably holds the key to un-solving the riddle of the long-term prospects.

Photo courtsey of Lahore Metroblog.

About the Author

Founder and Editor of

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top ↑
  • Get Updates In Your Inbox

  • Connect WIth Us