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Investment opportunities and One Constitution Avenue Saga

While talking to the Saudi ambassador-designate to Pakistan, Commodore Nawaf Saeed Ahmed Al-Malkiy, the Federal Minister for Finance, Mr. Ishaq Dar urged Saudi investors to avail investment opportunities in Pakistan and appreciated continued support of the Saudi Government for projects aimed at economic development in Pakistan. But it is mentioned with serious concern that, present government failed to protect the rights of buyers in the One Constitution Avenue – a flagship project located in the heart of the Federal Capital. Contrary to the general public perception over 90% of buyers in One Constitution Avenue (OCA) are hard working professionals, widowers, retirees and tax paying Pakistani citizens or overseas Pakistanis. These people have invested over 5 billion rupees of their hard-earned savings in this project. However, the ill-fated project was deemed illegal by Islamabad High Court in July 2016, just when the apartments were being handed over to the buyers.

Was it wrong for these people to invest in this project? Who is going to compensate these purchasers for their financial losses if their rightful properties are taken away from them? Will Overseas Pakistanis ever trust to invest a single penny of their hard earned money in any future projects in Pakistan? These and many such questions remain unanswered almost ten months after CDA cancelled the lease of One Constitution Avenue project.

Having worked in Saudi Arabia for the last nine years overseeing global investment ventures, I regretfully have to submit that investments in Pakistan are considered “High Risk” by private and institutional investors in Saudi Arabia. Certainly, thenegative publicity from One Constitution Avenue saga will not improve investor confidence. The present Government is urged to bolster confidence of institutional and individual Saudi investors in Pakistan. Timely, amicable and financially fair resolution of concerns of individual buyers of apartments inOne Constitution Avenue project could be a step in the right direction.

Ahsan Azim
Saudi Arabia

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