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Problems for Pakistani investors in Bangladesh

Islamabad: After Dhaka’s decision to hang Abdul Qader Molla and anti-Pakistan statements made by Prime Minister Hasina Wajid billions of dollars of investment made by more than 10,000 Pakistanis in Bangladesh is facing uncertainty in the wake of tense situation.

The situation poses some risk of loss to the Pakistani investors; it will ultimately benefit the overall economy of Pakistan.

But if the situation will be prolonged it will discourage further Pakistani investment in Bangladesh, and on the other hand encourage Pakistani investors to come back home to cash in on the benefits to be offered by the newly acquired GSP plus status from the EU.

The ministry of commerce has not received any complaints so far about difficulties faced by Pakistani investors in Bangladesh.

Former finance minister Dr Salman Shah also agreed that the situation can have impact on the Pakistani economy but only for a brief period, as it seems to be part of the election campaign in Bangladesh.

He said that Hasina’s statements have created concerns among the Pakistani community there, and if the hatred spreads, Pakistani investors can come back home.

Former consultant of the Ministry of Finance, Saqib Sheerani, said the situation for Pakistanis in Bangladesh was tense but so far no Pakistanis working there have reported any incident of targeting them. “Pakistanis there are concerned, but they have not been affected yet.”

Sheerani said strikes in Bangladesh are affecting the industry’s production at an unprecedented scale. According to official statistics, Pakistanis have taken about $500 million abroad, a big chunk of which is in Bangladesh because of many concessions there.

Another positive aspect of the low production of the industry in Bangladesh, Sheerani says, is that the demand for Pakistani products in the international market can grow. Pakistan may use this situation to increase its exports, he remarked.

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