Pakistan – Perception and Reality

Time to Read – Three Minutes

Today I could have written about the UK General Election and its aftermath, or about Woking FC’s play off final yesterday in Bath…both of those can wait, because last week I had one amazing experience.

I had been invited by The Pakistan Society for Human Resource Management to visit their country to speak at a leadership and management conference, and run two workshops one in Karachi and Lahore.

Many people told me not to go, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against travelling.

After all, we have been told it is the home of the Taliban, to daily terrorist attacks, and to strong anti-west sentiment.

On the other hand, close friends who knew the region advised differently, as long as I stayed away from certain areas, and took care. Chairman of Woking FC Shahid Azeem said go for it. And so I did.

While I was there, the only surviving Mumbai bomber, a Pakistani, was sentenced to death, and the man arrested for the bomb found in New York was born in Pakistan.
Also, while I was there I met, worked with and visited the homes of business leaders, entrepreneurs and citizens who were – to a person – warm, welcoming and had a real, tangible can-do attitude.

Yes – widely known – there is serious poverty, there are huge financial challenges, and some people who wish other people ill.

And yes – less widely known – there is serious hope, there are new entrepreneurs setting up all over the country, and more people who wish other people well.

Also, their youthful demographic make Pakistan a powerful force for business in the future – my prediction would be five years from now.

Action – Be proactive in looking for the good in all cultures and countries seeking to make friends and encourage understanding and respect in both directions. 

With my thanks to all who made me so welcome in Pakistan, and my love and best wishes to everyone.



  • iris

    Thanks for your insight – I agree having worked closely with a number of partners in India that there is much to benefit us in other cultures. However, the dilema I have almost daily is embrassing these benefits to the detriment of jobs in the UK and UK plc's ability to grow and function in the IT industry or go the way of much manufacturing, versus the overall cost reduction for my company (albeit with a loss of knowledge and quality in the early years of such a relationship) and it's returns to UK plc. How do we square that circle – what is the right thing to do in those circumstances?

  • mary

    A fascinating insight into the lives of people in Pakistan. Of course they love their cricket over there are I had the pleasure of going out there a few years ago to help with the coverage of a cricket festival in Lahore. It was ana amazing place. Although dangerous I applaud you for taking the plunge and going for it. You did a good thing. the people who advised you from that side of the fence did so with confidence and conviction so you must feel good that you went and experienced it yourself.

  • sadaf

    Its always best practice as you said that Be proactive in looking for the good in all cultures and countries seeking to make friends and encourage understanding and respect in both directions.Pakistani are liberal broadminded people and always welcome our guest Media and anti-pakistani play negative role but we invite u all to come and experienced. we are Positive about our future

  • Rosemary

    I have been thinking about your question and must admit I don't know the answer. I don't think that all IT will go out of the Uk though as it is always good to have the direct contact with your clients/ internal or external and all the while the world becomes a smallerplace the differentials will become less to. Also it is up to the UK companies to realise what they have to lose and to be competitive. Never mind IT people like BA cabin crew ought to realise that a job in the UK is worth hanging on to and that this is a world market where the emploere is holding the cards.

  • chris

    I am with you on the BA staff comment Rosemary. Although one of the problems in today's world is that the companies WANT us to feel like having a ob is enough for us to feel satisfied. Frankly, it shouldn't be. We should be made to feel valued, have pay rises, and enjoy good benefits in our work. All we seem to get is 'you must feel grateful, you are lucky to have a job.' fair enough, in today's society there are plenty of people who would like to the job we do and would give their rioght arm to be in employment but I do think the companies takes advantage of that fact and it's not right to do so.

  • paul

    I am extremely pleased to hear that there is another side to the perception that is given. The Pakistan cricket team were mentioned below I see. Shame they couldn't beat the Aussies in the 20/20 World Cup as I would have loved to have seen a Pakistan v England final.

  • paul

    Now we have beaten the Aussies in the world cup. Priceless.

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