KARACHI: Dubai has again started attracting wealthy Pakistanis, who are fed up with the deteriorating law and order situation at home and disappointed with the depressive economic growth.
A number of businessmen, when contacted, said they were looking for another destination to leave this city to protect their life and property.
“Not only we pay taxes and face corrupt income tax officials but the frequent instances of robbery and killings are forcing me to quit this country as soon as possible,’ said Noor-ul-Aarfeen, a dealer of pharmaceutical products.
He said he was looking for investment in Dubai or Malaysia where his money would be protected by the government machineries. Businessmen from Peshawar have shifted to Dubai and Malaysia in large numbers as the city is in the grip of extortionists, while kidnapping for ransom is at peak.
One of the investors in Dubai said many people have shifted to the Gulf emirate mostly from Karachi and Peshawar.
“We know some Pakistanis have made investments in property as the return has improved compared to last year, while the property is safe,” said Nazir Ahmed, an investor dealing in property in Dubai.
He said return in Karachi property business is half of what Dubai offers these days, but the most distressing point is that property in Karachi is not safe.
When the State Bank was contacted to know how much transactions had taken place during a year from Karachi to Dubai, the response was that no significant transactions were made.
The open currency market dealers confirmed that transactions were made but it was difficult to identify whether it was for investment or for trading or other purposes. There is no restriction on transfer of money abroad from Pakistan.
“We have information that Pakistanis are investing in Dubai and many are willing to invest mostly because the law and order situation is the worst in Karachi forcing the wealthy people to think about other options for safety of life and property,” said Anwar Jamal, an investor and a currency dealer. He was running a business in Dubai before financial crisis gripped the country.
Dubai had been prime destination for investment by Pakistanis but the financial turmoil starting from US also gripped the world’s business center. Companies defaulted on vast level, which eroded the economic boom and hundreds and thousands lost their jobs. The collapse forced thousands of Pakistani investors to return home.
Investors believe that Dubai is still a trading hub for oil-rich Middle Eastern countries and it was never a case of total loss.The trading in terms of exports and imports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also improved. Exports rose to $1.475 billion in 2009-10 compared to $1.398 billion of the preceding year.
Imports rose to $4.781 billion in 2009-10 against $4.399 billion of preceding year. The imports were $5.129 billion in 2007-08 reflecting the boom in Dubai.
It was the year 2007 when financial crisis began to appear at global scene and crippled most of the banking and financial markets around the world.