KARACHI: The overall security environment in Pakistan has improved in the past year, according to the Annual Security Survey 2021 conducted by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), a representative body of top 200 foreign investors.
The security environment improved especially in Lahore (as per 61 per cent of the respondents), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (59pc), the rest of Punjab (53pc) and Karachi (51pc). Some members expressed concerns with respect to the growing street crimes, especially in Karachi.
The survey was conducted from May 21 to June 21. About two-thirds of the OICCI members have their head offices in Karachi with operations all over the country.
Security remains one of the top three concerns for 62pc of the respondents, a marginal improvement over 70pc respondents in the 2020 survey. Despite Covid-19–related travel restrictions since March 2020, visits by OICCI-related foreign nationals continued during the past one year albeit at a lower frequency. Foreign business visitors were mainly from China, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Japan, United Arab Emirates and some other European and Asian countries.
Commenting on the survey findings, OICCI President Irfan Siddiqui said: “The positive perception of the security environment by the leading foreign investors operating in the country is a matter of great satisfaction. It also conveys a positive message to potential investors.” Foreign investors have appreciated the continuing focus of our law enforcement agencies to improve the security environment, which is one of the key requirements for attracting foreign direct investment, he said.
In terms of serious crimes, 87pc respondents indicated either a decrease over the last year or “not an issue” in Lahore. Similarly, 75pc respondents indicated either a decrease over the last year or “not an issue” in Karachi. As many as 89pc, 75pc and 73pc respondents indicated either a decrease over the last year or “not an issue” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Quetta and the rest of Balochistan.
For street crimes, 17pc respondents (versus last year’s 7pc) indicated a significant increase in Karachi over the last year. Up to 5pc respondents in the rest of the country — Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar — indicated a significant increase over the same period.