Fri, 27 Sep 2013 13:36:18 GMT

Foreign delegations stay away from Pakistan expo



Karachi, Sep 27 (PTI) Several foreign delegations decided against participating in Pakistan�s biggest trade show here following a sucide attack on a church earlier this week and the bombing of a bus carrying government employees in the country''s restive northwest today.

Organisers of the 8th Expo Pakistan, being held in the financial hub of Karachi, said they were disappointed by the decision of the foreign delegations.

"The suicide bombings at the Peshawar church had already cast a shadow over the Expo and after today�s blast, we have got a few more cancellations from foreign delegations," said an organiser who did not want to be named.

Over 80 people were killed when two Taliban suicide bombers attacked the church in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber- Pakhtunkhawa province, on Sunday. At least 17 people died in the bomb attack on a government bus near Peshawar today.

Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan inaugurated the trade show at Karachi Expo Centre yesterday and expressed satisfaction at the number of foreign buyers participating in the event.

But Khan said he would like to see more foreign delegations as the purpose of the show is to attract foreign buyers and investors.

One organiser said more foreigners would have come if the church in Peshawar had not been attacked three days before the start of the exhibition.

"Security is a major issue and although arrangements for this expo are very strong, it is hard to convince the foreign delegations. The prevailing law and order situation in the city has not helped at all," said Muhammad Bajwa, an organiser.

Pakistan usually gets a lot of interest in the jewellery, textile, food commodities and agriculture sectors.

At a time when foreign businessmen look hesitant to make a foray into Pakistan, exporters argue Expo Pakistan,�organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), is playing an important role in bridging the gap between them and foreign businessmen.

TDAP Secretary Rabia Javeri said�550 exhibitors from different industries are displaying their products at the expo. Around 800 foreign buyers from over 70 countries are expected to attend the five-day event.

Javeri said Pakistan exported food products worth USD 10 million in 2011 and is currently exporting goods worth USD 40 million, mainly to new markets.

Last year�s expo featured 52 countries and saw the signing of 70 agreements worth over USD 500 million.

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