Business Philosophy – A Thrilling Journey in Pakistan

In recent years, as competition in the industry has intensified, there has been a constant need to seek new sources of goods and expand markets. Among the potentially promising markets and sources of goods are India and Pakistan. The populations of these two countries continue to increase, and their relatively low-cost labor and other production expenses are highly competitive, making them markets within our scope to explore. We had once been active in doing business with these two countries dating back to almost two decades ago, but due to different considerations,  failed to sustain. Recently, many foreign companies have moved their factories from mainland China to these two countries, prompting the need to increase our business in Pakistan and India.


Back in late March, I saw a series of terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Pakistan through the news. Despite this, I did not change my travel plans to Pakistan, which was scheduled for early April. This decision was primarily influenced by a prior visit to Karachi in Pakistan two years ago, where a series of terrorist attacks occurred, causing casualties among Chinese nationals. The attacks took place near the hotel where I stayed, but at that time, I didn’t feel much apprehension. The police there cautioned me to be careful with my itinerary. However, this time was different. Upon disembarking the plane and exiting the airport terminal, I was greeted by several uniformed and plainclothes policemen who questioned me about my identity and requested to see my passport. Subsequently, they invited me and the two hotel staff members (who were to accompany and transport me to the hotel) to their office desk. There, they explained that due to the recent spate of terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals, they deemed it necessary to escort me to the hotel using their armored vehicle. After a round of discussion, I insisted on taking the hotel’s car.


For the next few days, I arranged all my appointments to be conducted within the hotel premises. Hotel staff also received instructions to inform relevant departments and arrange security if I needed to go outside. Upon further inquiry, hotel staff told me that they received instructions in March to notify relevant authority and arrange armored vehicle escorts for me when I ventured outside. I also felt that mainland China might have exerted considerable pressure on the Pakistani government, resulting in this heightened protection of Chinese nationals. This experience was unforgettable. It reflects the importance and attention given to Chinese nationals as China grows stronger, a stark contrast to the vulnerability before opening up. Although I hold a foreign passport, the staff explained to me that terrorists wouldn’t open my passport to see my nationality before deciding whether to attack or not!


It was not easy to wait until the day of departure from Karachi. Upon completing the usual departure procedures and boarding the plane, I felt relieved only when the plane started taxiing down the runway. Three hours later, I arrived in Doha to transfer flights to London and then back to the United States. Upon arriving in Doha, I was surprised to see in the news that Iran had just launched hundreds of missiles at Israel, declaring formal war between the two countries. The flight path to London was about to cross this airspace. Fortunately, the airline decided to fly an additional two hours and change routes to avoid flying over the war zone. While on the plane, I also received inquiries from Pakistani clients asking if I had already left the airport, as almost all flights to Europe had been cancelled.


Friends and my family asked if it was worth the risk. I replied that while it seemed thrilling on the surface, over the years, I have traveled to many places considered high-risk, such as Haiti, today’s Myanmar, and some parts of Mexico, all of which carry certain risks. However, when I am on the scene, I often don’t feel much danger.



Original by Dr. Steve Wong

April 29,2024

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