EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SESSION WITH CONSUL GENERAL OF SWITZERLAND IN PAKISTAN MR. EMIL WYSS
What means Pakistan to you?
World class hospitality, amazing Corporate Social Responsibility activities, rich cultural heritage, colorful textiles, delicious food, bright students, and the heartwarming visits of special people are some of the many long lasting impressions I will carry with me.
How close are the economic relations between Switzerland and Pakistan?
Switzerland continues to be one of the leading foreign investors in Pakistan and the over 20 Swiss companies in Pakistan are successfully operating; most of them with Pakistani Managing Directors. Several business to business delegations from Switzerland resulted in new trade connections and more visits are in the pipeline. And business goes both ways: a well-known Pakistani company will invest several million dollars in a new factory in Switzerland.
How close are the diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Pakistan?
Switzerland recognized Pakistan in 1947 and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. High level political delegations meet every year, alternatively in Switzerland and Pakistan and discuss how to further strengthen all aspects of the relationship for the benefit of both countries. The World Economic Forum in Davos and the United Nations in Geneva are other venues where Pakistani and Swiss politicians and diplomats meet regularly.
What do Swiss people know about Pakistan?
Some of the attributes I mentioned in the answer to the first question are not yet very well known in Switzerland and other countries. This Consulate highlights these positive factors in its popular Facebook page ‘SwissConsulateKarchi’. The number of followers from Pakistan, Switzerland, and other countries increased over the last two years from 7,000 to 140,000. The ‘Pakistan-Switzerland Friendship Exhibition’ at Karachi airport was another project, where positive messages about Pakistan and Switzerland have been presented to over 400,000 domestic and international travelers.
The law and order situation improved substantially over the last 2 years: the homicide rate in Karachi fell from 12 per 100,000 in 2013 to 4 per 100,000 in 2015, while the world average is 6 per 100,000. A continuation of this trend will increase tourism, enable new investments, and improve the image of Pakistan in Switzerland and the world. Hotels already now have higher occupancy rates. Larger numbers of foreigners in domestic and international flights are another good sign of increased trust to come to Pakistan.
What is the best way forward in the development of Pakistan?
Pakistan is a very large country with abundant natural resources, a rich cultural and ethnic diversity, and a very young population. Every country in the world has to find its own tailor-made solutions to achieve peace and sustainable development. Obviously, the quicker any country works on good governance, education, vocational training, health, social justice, productive relations with its neighbors, and an effective and environment friendly infrastructure, the earlier positive and lasting results can be achieved.
The export sector of Pakistan has ample room for improvement: Switzerland with a population of 8 million, without natural resources, and a high monthly average salary of $ 6,000 per month exported in 2015 goods for over $200 billion with a trade surplus of $ 35 billion – most of its exports going to neighboring countries. Pakistan with its 200 mio people, many natural resources, low cost labor wages, and some of world’s biggest markets in its neighborhood, had exports for just $ 23 billion. Therefore, every effort promoting trade with neighboring states will not only create greatly needed jobs for the young population, but strengthen mutual trust and ultimately enable a well balanced budget for all sectors in society.
Your final word?
My wife and I are deeply grateful to the people of Pakistan. We have been received and treated in an amazing way and will keep countless and precious memories in our hearts for the rest of our life. We already plan to come back around the 14th of August 2017 and visit Karachi and Northern Pakistan. PAKISTAN+SWITZERLAND ZINDABAD!