Thursday AM March 12th, 2009
by: Ed Mayberry, March 11, 2009 11:03:36 pm
Ambassador Husain Haqqani says Pakistan is not only an important nation in the fight against global terrorism, but he told business leaders attending a World Affairs Council function that it's a nation with many business opportunities. He says Pakistani-Americans have always invested in Pakistan, especially with the country's move towards democracy.
"And of course we have our cantankerous politics like any other country does, but the general realization is that Pakistan now is on the way to stability in a longer-term perspective, and that I think will be a tremendous encouragement for Pakistanis living abroad, as well as their partners and friends in the United States to look at Pakistan as an investment opportunity. There are already 690 major American companies that already operate in Pakistan, including some led by Pakistani-Americans, including some from the Houston area. I think that that number can increase significantly in the years to come."
Ambassador Haqqani says Pakistan has opportunities in the energy sector.
"Ninety-seven per cent of Pakistan's oil reserves, eight-five per cent of Pakistan's gas reserves have not yet been put on tap. Pakistan has the sixth-largest coal field in the world — proven reserves of coal — that have not yet been exploited fully. The energy sector is a major one, the infrastructure sectors and the information technology sector — you know that India has taken advantage of the global market for information technology-related services, and I think Pakistan also is a country that can be a major destination for information technology investment."
Haqqani says there's an evolutionary nature of development in new democracies, and Pakistan, which is only 62 years old as an independent country, is going through a learning process. His job is to explain that evolutionary process.
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.