Jilani encourages French businessmen to visit Pakistan

PARIS, France: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday urged the foreign businessmen not to fall for the propaganda about security situation in Pakistan and invest in diverse sectors for securing tremendous dividends. He was responding to a query during a Q & A session with the heads of multi-national companies and French and Pakistani businessmen at the office of MEDEF – Mouvement des Entreprises de France (Movement of the French Enterprises), the largest union of employers in France.Gilani said the perception about Pakistan did not match with the on-ground situation. He urged the western media not to portray Pakistan’s negative image but focus on the real picture of the challenges which the country was facing while fighting the issues of terrorism and extremism.The Prime Minister encouraged the French businessmen to visit Pakistan and see themselves the state of foreign corporations working well in the country under secure conditions.

He said it was not the job of a single country to continue fighting the menace of terrorism, rather the entire world had the responsibility to overcome it through joint efforts.He said Pakistan needed the support of entire world in understanding the situation that its economy was greatly affected due to its fight with terrorism.No war can be won without us. We are fighting for the peace and prosperity of the whole world. The world should also reciprocate in realizing our problems,” Gilani stressed and urged the western media to portray the real picture.Regarding Pakistan’s policy on counter-terrorism, Gilani said Pakistan was the front line state and had paid a heavy price by sacrificing thousands of innocent lives.He said the world has forgotten the burden of millions of Afghan refugees still in Pakistan, with almost 40,000 crossing the border daily. He said his country cannot fight it alone and stressed the need for the world to send positive vibes.He said Pakistan fully understood the impact as one single bomb blast led to flight of capital. It was essential that Pakistan seeks the support of the world and particularly its neighbours and their cooperation for formulating a mechanism to fight against terrorism.

He said Pakistan has no interest whatsoever in Afghanistan and only desires it to be a peaceful, stable and secure country. He said Pakistan was willing to work with the United States of America and Afghanistan to find a solution.The representative of Total group said his country was investing in Pakistan for the last 15 years and has 9,000 local people working there. He termed these as an asset for the company and said his company was willing to expand its operations.He however pointed that corporate tax of 0.5 per cent on total investment was a deterrent in investment.Prime Minister Gilani said the Total company was also an asset for Pakistan and was contributing to its economy.He directed the Ministry of Finance to look into the issue and assured that Pakistan would try to do all, despite its constraints.A representative of Loreal said her company was also facing high taxes and could not compete with locally produced items and urged the Prime Minister for duty cuts to give incentives to investors to develop their products.Gilani assured that even playing field would be provided for Loreal brand and all other local and foreign investors.Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar asked the French entrepreneurs who had expressed concerns over heavy taxation for foreign investors in Pakistan, to provide detailed proposals either directly to the government or through their embassy so that these might be looked into and considered in the next budget.She said the government was considering two main factors for the foreign investors; i.e, providing them level playing field and a consistent policy on tariff regime. – APP