ISLAMABAD: A Bahria Town spokesperson has said that bringing investment of billions of dollars to the country faced with the worst financial crisis was next to impossible.
The business community knows it well, specially at a time when Pakistani investors were fleeing the country and settling in Bangladesh and other countries, signing of an agreement of investment by UAE-based world renowned investor Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan with Malik Riaz indicated Malik’s vision to make Pakistan a developed country.
But, the spokesman said, those who are jealous of Malik’s success and one or two politicians who contest elections from the areas surrounding Bahria Town have put full pressure on the government and got the MoU not only suspended but also cancelled.
He said the business community knows how foreign investors can come to Pakistan when the indigenous businessmen are fleeing to the country like Bangladesh. The Bahria Town deal had envisaged the tallest building of the world in Karachi, housing educational and international city, media city, sports city etc.
How foreign investors can bring billions of dollars for such projects when the government of the country’s biggest province, under pressure by one or two politicians, will give secret messages to the foreign group which signed the MoU with Bahria Town, asking it to stop this business activity.
The spokesman said local business concerns in general and foreign business concerns in particular fear governments of the areas where their projects are working.
Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan’s international ventures like Alflah Bank, Warid, Wateen, etc are operational in Pakistan so how can he risk their closure. Getting this MoU cancelled by putting pressure is enmity with Pakistan and its people, said the spokesperson.
He said the MoU was was an initial accord. More contracts were to be concluded. He said in the present circumstances of the country any partner keeps many reservations. Thus it was a great achievement of Bahria Town that it had persuaded such a big group in the given situation. If the first contract was allowed to be kept, all things would have been cleared in subsequent contracts.
He said Abu Dhabi Group has clearly mentioned in its ad that the company that signed the agreement with Bahria Town is fully owned by Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan. The memorandum of understanding in the country’s biggest foreign investment project was basically an expression of interest by Dhabi Contracting in Bahria Town’s technical support for the project, provided that appropriate trade conditions were agreed upon.
After signing of the agreement, a correspondent of one of the world’s top agency, Reuters, interviewed Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan in Abu Dhabi. Talking about the agreement, the Sheikh said it is at an initial stage now. Asked how the projects will be implemented, he replied through loans and net cash. The Sheikh also said that the project will be completed in phases, adding that its completion also depends on when the construction work starts. He announced building the world’s tallest building in Karachi, adding that its details remain to be decided yet. He said that MoU would be followed by setting up of terms of conditions. The Sheikh said studies would be conducted before construction of the tallest building and other cities. In this interview Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan proved his hearty love with Pakistan and despite repeated questions, he had not denied the project for once. CNN, Newsweek and other international media outlets have declared that Bahria Town maintains international standards of living in its projects.
Mainstream business tycoon companies of the country know that MoU is signed first, and then details and conditions are set for business. The spokesman gave example of Gawader Port for which an MoU was signed first and then the two governments took months to settle terms and conditions.
He said one or two politicians who have their constituencies adjacent to Bahria Town had tried to strangle the still to be born investment of billions of dollars by getting the MoU cancelled, using their clout.
Bahria Town is giving world-class security and facilities to its local and foreign residents, brining laurels to the country, which irks these politicians, he said. In a competition between construction companies held in Malaysia, Bahria Town won five international awards. This success has not gone down well with those burning in the fire of jealousy, he said.
The spokesman said that these jealous elements have proven their enmity with the country by getting the MoU cancelled which had promised honourable jobs for 250,000 skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
He said hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis, with a considerable number of overseas Pakistanis, are living in peace in Bahria Town projects in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore. The Bahria Town has provided them with safe residences similar to those available in developed countries.
Had the rulers not put up unseen pressure on the Abu Dhabi-based company to cancel the MoU signed between Malik Riaz and Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, big investors would have started coming to Pakistan from Europe, Malaysia, and the US.
The spokesman said one or two politicians by causing an end to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Bahria Town and the UAE institution took their revenge but they damaged the interests of Pakistan and its people.
The spokesman said one example of this ‘personal grudge’ was mega size ads in the newspapers by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) against the Bahria Town.
He questioned whether anyone, including the LDA, published such huge ads against any private company in the history of Pakistan? “Why not such expensive ads were published against any national institution by the LDA in the past,” he questioned.
The spokesman said these few jealous politicians should fear Almighty Allah and let them work. “We have done nothing wrong, nor will we do something wrong in the future.”
He said the dream of the Bahria Town for making Pakistan a developed country will materialise. He said foreign investors have contacted Bahria Town. “We will restore the economy, end unemployment and provide job opportunities to people,” he said.
When this correspondent tried to contact Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan through his two staff officers, he gave no reply till late night. Chaudhry Nisar was also requested through an SMS to give his view on the Bahria Town spokesman’s statement.
However, PML-N Senator Pervez Rashid in his response to the Bahria Town spokesman’s statement said the Abu Dhabi Group has itself announced that it has no agreement with Bahria Town regarding joint investment. He said if the Bahria Town claims that it had agreement with the UAE group then they are free to publish this agreement through ads in newspapers. “We welcome every kind of foreign investment in the country and will provide security to it but that investment should be real,” he said.
Pervez Rashid said a lot of foreign investors are interested in making investment in energy and infrastructure projects in Punjab. He said the reason for this is good governance in Punjab. He claimed that there was negligible corruption in Punjab and the incidents of kidnapping for ransom are negligible when compared to Karachi. He rejected the impression that he has influenced the UAE government or its investors to end the MoU. “This claim is as false as the claim of Abu Dhabi Group of investing $45 billion in Pakistan,” he added.