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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 03/12/2011

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Some of the biggest companies of the UAE, attending the first-ever UAE Expo 2011 " Magnificent 7, have received an overwhelming response from Pakistan for doing business.

UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade director of trade promotion Mohammad Nasser Hamadan has termed the event to be a great success and stated that businessmen from Pakistan are keen to expand business with UAE companies.

"This is beyond our expectations as most of the companies have already engaged in talks with Pakistani businessmen for possible ventures. There is a lot of interest from Pakistani companies for business with UAE counterparts," he told Khaleej Times at the Karachi Expo Centre where the event is being held.

Hamadan said that Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was at the inauguration the entire day and later at the dinner hosted by Pakistani Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim in honour of visiting UAE Foreign Trade Minister Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi and UAE businessmen at Governor House.

He said Shaikha Lubna announced plans to make UAE Expo an annual event in Pakistan after witnessing the enthusiastic response to the show and support extended by the Pakistan government and other concerned organisations. Walid Irshaid, president and chief executive officer of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd, or PTCL, which is run and owned by etisalat, stressed that the company will make more investments in Pakistan to transform PTCL into a world-class franchise.

"We have transformed PTCL into a modern company offering all ICT products in Pakistan and we are here to stay," he said.

Irshaid said that Pakistan is a growing market and we were making long-term investment in the country to offer world class network to local consumers who are quality conscious.

Junaid Ahmed, chief executive officer of Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan, or DIBP, was all praises for the event and said the bank was playing its due role in Pakistan.

He said that the bank has planned to expand its branch network in Pakistan by next year.

"The Pakistani banking sector is a growing market and DIBP also wanted to expand its operations here," Ahmed said. He said the bank reported a profit of Rs168 million in first half ending June 2011. "We are [an] advisor to [the] Government of Pakistan for its Rs191 billion sukuk bonds that in itself shows our commitment. At present, the bank has 73 branches operating in 32 cities of Pakistan and on course to increase the branches network to 100," he said.

"The bank also wanted to introduce more Shariah-compliant products in the future."

Joost den Hartog, regional general manager for Asia-Pacific North and Indian Subcontinent of Etihad Airways, said that the airline was doing great in Pakistan.

"We are running daily flights from Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore to the UAE and twice-a-week from Peshawar. We are planning to enhance our operations in Pakistan in future with the expansion of our fleet," he said.

Den Hartog said that Etihad is now catering to Pakistanis living in the US, Canada, Europe and Middle East and will soon start providing flights to Pakistani passengers for German cities Frankfurt and Munich.

More than 60 leading UAE companies are displaying their products at their well decorated stalls at the mega event including DP World, Al Falah Bank, Dubai Investments and Etihad Airways among others. Top officials of UAE companies also addressed an international investment conference, being held alongside UAE Expo.


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