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 Some Pakistani businesses see opportunities in war
 

   KARACHI, November 2 (Internews): An influential group of business
 executives from multinationals and local companies in Pakistan has
 expressed determination to convert the post-Sept 11 market crises into
 opportunities for the country.
 "Pakistan has resiliently met the most tough time of its history when
 there were more than 150 sanctions imposed by the United States and
 other countries," Qazi Sajid, the president of the Pakistan chapter of
 International Personnel Management Association, says.
 Speaking at a brainstorming meeting in Karachi, he pointed out that the
 situation is getting better already, as the US has lifted all sanctions,
 the European Union is offering concessional packages, Japan and other
 countries are coming out with generous offers.
 He also explained that multinationals in Pakistan operate in
 coordination and collaboration with each other and with the government
 of the day in 'times of distress.'
 All these funds are being promised not only for expansion of trade and
 industry but also to improve judicial system, implement police reforms
 and make social sectors more effective than what they are now, Sajid
 said.
 "It is an integrated approach for the first time that should lead to a
 qualitative and quantitative improvement in the domestic market and to
 give civil society a shape", he said. The IPMA is an international body that functions in more than 50
 countries of the world and focuses on human resource development in the
 corporate sector. Its Pakistan chapter was launched only a few months
 ago.
 Arshad Qaimkhani of a leading private insurance company spoke on the
 pressures on insurance business from war risk surcharges. He also
 mentioned the anthrax phobia, which too, has hit the insurance industry.
 Khwaja Matin of the pharmaceutical sector highlighted the problems being
 faced by what he said was "quality conscious and organised pharma
 sector" of Pakistan in wake of growing competition from the upcoming new
 companies.
 "There is no price control on inputs but the government has put tight
 control on the output", he said while trying to emphasise that
 pharmaceutical sector depends on the price factor decided entirely by
 the government.
 While there was an all round optimism, certain reservations were
 expressed in case the war in neighbouring Afghanistan prolonged. "We are
 already divided and a prolong war will deepen this division," a
 participant feared.
 The other participants were of the view that Pakistan's exports face
 some problems, which need to be addressed by the government as well as
 the business itself.
 "The EU package offers a lucrative opportunity to the textile to
 restructure itself and go for capturing market," one business executive
 said.
 Another participant said that about $600 million had already been
 invested in textile to modernise and restructure.
 The EU package spread over the next four years offers further
 opportunities to re-shape textile industry to the needs of European and
 US markets, he added. -Internews

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