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Foreign investors fearful over Pakistan militant attacks

A heavy security presence is blanketing Pakistan's largest city, following a brazen attack on the Karachi airport last week which has shocked residents as well as foreign investors.

KARACHI: A heavy security presence is blanketing Pakistan's largest city, following a brazen attack on the Karachi airport last week which has shocked residents as well as foreign investors.

The Taliban has also warned foreign businesses to pull out their investments out of the country or face attacks.

Palestinian businessman Abu Bakr Matter said: "We as investors are losing confidence day by day. We hope the government can provide us protection and guarantee our security."

In response, authorities in Karachi have declared a "red alert" for the city.

Karachi police chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo said: "We have monitored the security arrangement (in Karachi). We have got the armed forces in the interior also.

"We have sent a 5,000-strong force from the interior. And we have also formed the Rapid Response Force in each zone.

“So in case of any problem or any events we can go immediately there and we can tackle the problem, or to arrest them, or to kill them, like we have done in the airport attack."

Despite the beefed-up security in Karachi and other major cities, many foreign investors remain worried.

Without a stable and secure environment for their businesses, they would have no option but to leave Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the ongoing military offensive will usher in peace for the country.

But analysts worry this would backfire on an economy that is looking to attract bigger foreign investment.

Economist Muzammil Aslam said: "Nawaz Sharif is targeting over $20 billion (worth of investment) from China so for that, China needs to send the engineers, management people so we don't see that happening because of this operation, at least in the short term."

Troops have been patrolling the streets of Karachi since the start of the military offensive, but the threat of more militant attacks still looms large.

The economy risks being the biggest loser in this conflict as foreign investors are set to flee as soon the security situation worsens in Pakistan. 

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