Pakistan will have to fight out another troubling brewing in international courts before things get out of control. Recently, the country was taken to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) by a Turkish construction company over the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M1) Project. Earlier in 2003, the same company had registered a case against Pakistan over the same project for being expelled from it. The cases – as old as two decades – continue to haunt the governments. Not to mention, Pakistan is also facing the infamous Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) ruling and due to this case, the flag-bearing airline’s assets were also frozen. Though the government has retrieved them after a court ruling, the controversy lingers on. Moreover, Pakistan’s reputation as a business-friendly country also gets compromised. Such things could and should have been avoided in the first place.
It must be noted that if Pakistan faces more such cases in the international courts, it may lose its credibility. At a time when foreign investments are crucial for the growth of the country, such incidents will only make it more and more difficult to get foreign investors willing to invest. Foreign investment is especially important as it creates jobs and opportunities for local labour as new large projects are initiated by foreign investors. Job opportunities for the locals means that more people will be employed and thus they will have a source of income which will increase their purchasing power and this will give an overall boost to the economy. Although, a boost is not what is needed by Pakistan right now in the larger sense but daily wage earners and people from the lower, working and middle classes are in dire need of income. Especially, since the halt of businesses due to the pandemic it is vital that foreign investors are interested in Pakistan. Moreover, such cases can also have a negative impact on diplomatic relations between the countries. Pakistan and Turkey have had cordial relations for a while now but if Turkish companies are treated as such in Pakistan, the bilateral relations may deteriorate. Additionally, the cost of these cases is also enormous. Lawyers in foreign countries charge per hours and per hearing, and bills get fatty. Pakistan is already facing economic troubles due to homegrown and foreign problems; therefore, we should refrain from involving ourselves in such costly endeavours. The government must make sure that if not with the locals, then at least with foreign investors, clear terms are settled before entering into deals and no corrupt practices are undertaken as this only destroys the credibility of the country and ruins the future prospects of foreign investments, which Pakistan is in dire need of.