‘Business opportunities in Pakistan go begging’

By Mohamed Haniff

A Sri Lankan Association having strong business links with Pakistan wishes to have more non-Muslims within its ranks.

"Regardless of religious differences, let’s all unite as sons and daughters of mother Lanka and reap the benefits of the great relationship we have with Pakistan," President of the Sri Lanka – Pakistan Friendship Association, Iftikar Aziz said in an interview with The Island.

Even when China understands Pakistan’s potential, Aziz said, not that it was surprising why Sri Lanka did not grab business opportunities in that country. "At a recently concluded meeting in Pakistan, attended by more than five hundred investors, from twenty five countries, China agreed to invest USD 46 billion in that country," the President of the Association which has been in existence for more than six decades said.

Aziz said that he expected membership of outfit to expand by one hundred per cent with its name changed to Sri Lanka- Pakistan Friendship, Trade and Investment Association.

Pakistan, a safe destination for business visits, had always had a soft corner for Sri Lanka and its people, Azis said, stressing that it was one of the few countries which did not interfere with Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs.

When the country’s economy develops all other problems disappeared, he said.

Sri Lanka’s focus had been on other countries, for reasons best known to the leaders of successive governments, Aziz said, pointing out that economic activities between the two countries would soon increase with the state visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in January.

Aziz said his association has been appointed to the official advisory committee on Economic Affairs and Development of the Embassy of Pakistan in Sri Lanka.


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