LONDON – Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar called upon the British businessmen to take advantage of the incentives offered by the government and invest in Pakistan.

The Foreign Minister was speaking during a business roundtable here, which she co-chaired with British Minister of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Office Alistair Burt on Tuesday.   She said the government of Pakistan was always keen to encourage and facilitate international investors and businesses.

 The Foreign Minister apprised the senior representatives of the British businesses about the socio-economic conditions of the country vis—vis the regional security situation.

She particularly focused upon the energy needs of the country since it directly related to increased business opportunities. She also briefed them, on the political outlook in Pakistan and the development of the state institutions in Pakistan.

A select group of senior executives of British businesses working in Pakistan were invited to attend the meeting.

This included Sir Thomas Harris Vice Chair Standard Chartered Bank, Philip Bouverat, Director JCB, Lucy Haine, Director International Debenhams, Anjali Radcliff, Director Government Affairs, Roy Newey, A4e Group Board Director, John Bullock Executive Vice President Shell Retail, Colin Loughran, Director Lagan and Nadim Khan Partner LewisSilkin LLP.

British Minister of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Alistair Burt appreciated the ease of doing business in Pakistan for British companies.

He noted that British companies in Pakistan were making excellent profits and there were innumerable companies which were on a springboard to launch into the Pakistan market.

He emphasised that commercial diplomacy was high on the agenda of Pakistan-UK relations. Britain was committed to the prosperity of Pakistan through increased business ties between the two countries, leading to increased jobs and employment opportunities in Pakistan, he added.

British businessmen appreciated the opportunity to meet the Foreign Minister and briefed her on their business growth plans in Pakistan. Lagan Construction briefed on the pace of their concerned packages on the Benazir Bhutto airport in Islamabad.

JCB showed keen interest to start their distribution in Pakistan, while A4e expressed enthusiasm on their prospective partnership with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund. Debenhams was pleased on the progress of their forthcoming opening in Karachi Dolmen mall this year.

Sir Thomas Harris as the chair of Pakistan Britain Trade & Investment Forum (PBTIF) briefed the Minister on the recent PBTIF visit to Pakistan and appreciated the initiative by Lewis Silkin to encourage international mining companies to consider investment in Pakistan.

The High Commissioner for Pakistan to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Alison Blake, British Deputy High Commissioner, Islamabad and senior officials from both sides assisted their respective Ministers in the meeting