Strategically located in South Asia, Pakistan is at the crossroads between Eastern and Western Asia. With three major international airports and thirty-eight domestic airports, Pakistan is accessible via fifty international airlines. Pakistan’s geographical location, a rapidly expanding transportation and communications infrastructure and an environment conducive to business makes it an attractive destination for investors.
Pakistan is fast becoming the destination of choice for a significant number of international IT/ITeS companies looking to relocate their operations offshore. The ready availability of skilled professionals, an appropriate IT infrastructure, and affordable rates for connectivity result in considerable time and cost savings for entrepreneurs.
Pakistan is shaking off decades of “also-ran” status. Funds invested into building educational institutions in Pakistan (when there were not enough jobs to absorb all the graduates from those institutions) are paying off as Pakistan begins to field a modern, highly productive labor force that is the envy of more prosperous but less tech-savvy nations elsewhere in the region.
Pakistan is emerging as the destination of choice for IT outsourcing in Pakistan for the following reasons:
In order to promote its IT industry, the Government of Pakistan has provided several incentives to investors. The establishment of a reliable IT infrastructure and the provision of an incentives package are instrumental in the development of the local IT industry.
Other benefits provided to the IT companies are in the form of tax holidays for 15 years and 100% foreign equity ownership. Because of these incentives, an increasing number of foreign IT companies have chosen Pakistan for their outsourcing operations. Some of the areas in which the Government is facilitating the private sector companies include:
Pakistan has a well-developed communications infrastructure, and a high degree of computer literacy, coupled with innovations in software development. Its improved service delivery mechanisms, and a growing appreciation of international quality standards, serve to emphasize Pakistan’s suitability as a destination of choice for global companies seeking to offshore their business activities.
Pakistan offers state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure for establishing a world-class ICT setup. Its telecom infrastructure is 100% digital, and provides a robust backbone for providing mission-critical services, such as call centers, ISPs, software houses, voice and video conferences. The fiber optic infrastructure, initially laid during the early 1990s, now accounts for well over 85% of the backbone that supports international and national data exchange. More than 40 Pakistani cities are currently interconnected through fiber optic exchanges, and there are nearly 2950 digital exchanges. Tele-density is steadily increasing, and the Wireless Local Loop (WLL) sector is now open to private sector investment. Broadband licenses are open to ISPs since 2004. Pakistan offers the most competitive bandwidth charges in the whole Asia Pacific region. A dedicated E1 circuit is currently available at the cost of US$ 2000 only. Pakistan is using 1700 MB of bandwidth for Internet traffic, which is 2.42 times greater than the bandwidth used in 2005.
The following statistical indicators depict reliable and vibrant growth in Pakistan’s ICT infrastructure:
Pakistan’s Investment Policy At A Glance