The alacrity of Pakistanis, ex-patriots and foreign investors is abounding. Confidence in the real estate market is rising and all predictions claim it is going to increase in the coming months and years. Some foreign companies have already dipped their feet in the Pakistani market in various other sectors, in addition to the real estate sector. Several major commercial and residential projects were halted in the recent past adding a haunted look to the landscape of Karachi and other cities, so it will be awe-inspiring to see them to completion. Indeed, rising trends and optimistic predictions mean the dilapidated landscape of our cities will undergo some dire makeovers. Apart from the aesthetic appeal, notwithstanding, is the boost that small businesses and impoverished citizens of the country can also garner from the boom. Where the government could not facilitate, if not ‘rescue’ them, the private and semi-private markets can potentially do.
Caution needs to be heeded, however, in the way dealings are made. Considering that Pakistan has a reputation to be a tax haven for many, regulatory laws and policies need to be visited. People who previously invested in the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, and elsewhere like the United States, may soon be coming to Pakistan and so Pakistan must prepare for that. Time is short to revise financial policies as President Donald Trump continues to scare people out of the US, subconsciously encouraging them to return to their countries of origin. Of course, Pakistan will welcome them and their foreign currency with open arms, as it always has in the past. However, since it will be more prominent in the international limelight, Pakistan must ensure that its financial practices are on a par with global standards and work to eliminate the stamp of corruption that has marked its reputation for decades. After experiencing some rough patches towards the middle of last year, it is exciting to see the exponential growth in Pakistan’s real estate sector with the hopes that the wealth may also reach other sectors and begin transforming the poverty that exists.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2017.
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