09.06.2020 Interview with the new ambassador H.E. Ahmad Farooq By Louise Jensen, Press Sec. DPBCouncil

09.06.2020 Interview with the new ambassador H.E. Ahmad Farooq By Louise Jensen, Press Sec. DPBCouncil

H.E. Ahmed Farooq & Louise Jensen

Q: Pakistani Bureau of statistics as last as 2017. In light of the latest COVID 19 pandemic, the country has experienced a massive increase in the unemployment rate which is yet to be declared. A Major opportunity for Danish and Scandinavian companies for investment in Pakistan

Answer 1.

That’s a very good question. So Covid-19 as we are aware has impacted every country.

We face problems of reduction in the size of the economy, the GDP has been affected businesses has been affected, and as a result of that the unemployment hasincreased. That could be an opportunity for businesses to invest in Pakistan. We do have a number of opportunities where companies can invest in Pakistan both in the retail sector as well as in the manufacturing sector.

We have a number of export promotion zones which are coming up, and incentives are being given to those businesses that want to invest. Pakistan is in the process of constructing what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Part of that economic corridor is deals with the export processing zones. In addition to those we have other options where other businesses can invest in Pakistan.

Trade is the other area where I believe there is a lot of scope for the improvement since, Pakistan and Denmark have experienced growth in export from Pakistan. We have had an upward trend for approx. 5 years. That’s an area which provides an opportunity for Danish business to develop partnerships with Pakistani businesses for having manufacturing done in Pakistan. As an example, the famous Danish company, Select, gets its entire sports ball manufactured from a company in Pakistan. The Pakistani company also does the R&D and so everything done by that Pakistani company. So, I think there are a lot of opportunities for investment which is yet to be explored.

Q: How do you plan to use that experience that you previously gained as Director of Antiterrorism?

Answer 2.

That is a specific area of Work that I was engaged in for a long time, so I have seen how things were in Pakistan for almost a decade back when terrorism was on the rise and as such, security conditions were not good, but over this period and due to the immense efforts of the government, people and the security forces of Pakistan, we have happily overcome that issue. Now the threat of terrorism in Pakistan has almost finished. And that is a good sign for anyone who wishes to do business with Pakistan and travels thereto as tourists. Pakistan offers different kinds of tourism, which among others are cultural tourism, adventure tourism and religious tourism. It is a country which offers tourists the experience of witnessing 5000 years of civilization, particularly from the middle and industrial ages. Therefore, we have a plethora of opportunities for tourists to see in Pakistan.

Pakistan has happily welcomed countless tourists from across the globe, who visit the mountain terrains and as such many of our tourists aim to climb tall mountains which could be experienced in Pakistan. As an ambassador to Denmark I can highly recommend Danes to visit those places to experience natural sights which remain unseen by those, who may not have had the pleasure of experiencing the beautiful nature in Pakistan.

Therefore, I will use my former experienceof working with security issues in Pakistan, to enlighten the world that Pakistan is a safe and secure country for tourism. As such I will promote the current state of affairs in Pakistan for businesses and tourism.

Q: Danish Pakistani Business Council confirms that Pakistan has the most liberal investment policies and markets in South East Asia.

Answer 3.

As I have previously mentioned, Pakistan has a very liberal business regime, and any investor who is considering investing in Pakistan has the freedom to repatriate the profit that has been made, and the investment can also be repatriated, the businesses that are investing have a preferential treatment for governmental duties that are levied, some of the export processing zones have a one window operation which is set up in a way that once you set up a business, you contact that office and all the other approvals would be

facilitated. It is therefore is a good time for Danish businesses to exploring Pakistan as a destination for investment and business.

Q. Honorary Investment Counsellors work with the Board of Investment to promote Pakistan internationally and highlight trade and investment opportunities. They focus on supporting businesses seeking to establish in Pakistan. Their business expertise and international experience are vital for supporting international investors looking to enter the Pakistani market.

Do you have any idea to appoint or recommend anhonorary investment Counselor a candidate to Denmark?

Answer 4.

That is a thing I can consider whilst I undertake the duties of this position, but as of this date we do not have an honorary investment counselor. Should we find an individual who holds the capabilities to undertake that work, I will consider it and recommend it to my government and as such appoint a suitable person to become an honorary councilor. That would be useful for me, but considering this embassy is a small embassy, should we come upon a local who has the right business connections in the community in Denmark, that would be an asset for us.

What I have planned after my arrival is that my first priority is promotion of exports. Today I met with Dansk Industry and also the Danish chamber of commerce. It is evident that exports are the bread and butter of the country, but tourism is also a source a very important source for earning, and therefore we are developing a plan to reach out to tour operators in Denmark, with a list given by the Danish foreign ministry. We have established a WhatsApp group which has promotional material about the options for tourism in Pakistan. In these fields, we have already started plans for promoting that the situation is improving and the economy is opening up and previous restrictions are being lifted. What we would like to do is to organize a seminar where we invite all tour operators that could help facilitate tourism to Pakistan. That work has already begun, but obviously in light of the global pandemic, circumstances are different with regards to tourism in the summer of 2020. Because Pakistan has different kinds of areas with all kinds of temperatures in different seasons. Therein lies the opportunity for travel to Pakistan during all seasons of the year.

Considering my previous professional, I am the right person to convey that message.

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