KARACHI - Foreign investors have acknowledged improvement in security environment in Pakistan especially after the launch of the Karachi operation against criminals and ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ initiative, results of a survey showed.

The survey was conducted during June 2015 among members of OICCI (Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The overall survey results were generally quite positive and revealed that the security environment had improved significantly, during the period covered in the survey that is January 1, 2014 to April 2015 as compared to the corresponding period during 2012-13.

The survey revealed that 74% of the respondents experienced a reduction in security incidents and, most importantly, 73% responded that their staff now feels more comfortable in their everyday commute to/from the workplace as compared to 2013. Similarly 68% of the respondents revealed that more overseas/expat visitors, including technical and professional staff, came to Pakistan during January 2014 to April 2015 as compared to the previous same period and that a very small number of board and management meetings were held outside Pakistan. In a similar survey done in 2012, OICCI members had reported that a large number of such meetings were held abroad for security reasons. A very high percentage of the respondents reported that their employees now feel more secure in doing business and social engagements all over Pakistan. The above results should be considered as thumbs up signal of the foreign investors to various initiatives of the government in tackling the serious security, law and order situation which had arisen in recent years.

The OICCI survey also highlighted considerable room for improvement to make the environment even more secure so that the travel advisory from various diplomatic sources should also change in line with the above perception of the OICCI members. It may be worth repeating that the poor security, law and order issues have been amongst the major challenges which have negatively impacted many aspects of the country’s economic activities, including a drastic fall in FDI inflow into the country, increase in cost of doing business due to large outlays on security related matters and, more importantly, its impact on brain drain of talented people from the country. The need for a robust security environment will be even more critical in the coming months as a large number of expat workers and technical staff will soon be coming to Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.