Doing Business In Pakistan

  1. Pakistan’s overall Doing Business 2013 ranking is 107, recording a decline of 3 positions from last year. This reflects a decline in 7 out of 10 indicators.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2007), Electricity and Corruption represent the main obstacles to running a business in Pakistan. As regards to Lack of Electricity, Pakistani firms reported an average of 31.7 electrical outages in a typical month, compared to 33.9 for the region.
  3. Pakistan’s economic freedom score is 54.7, making its economy the 122nd freest in the 2012 Index. Its score is 0.4 point lower than last year, with declines in freedom from corruption and investment freedom. Pakistan is ranked 24th out of 41 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is below the world and regional averages.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Business Etiquette

Building Relationships & Communication
Third-party introductions are a necessity in this relationship-driven culture.

Pakistanis prefer to work with people they know and trust and will spend a great deal of time on the getting-to-know-you part of relationship building.

You must not appear frustrated by what may appear to be purely social conversation. Pakistanis are hospitable and enjoy hosting foreign guests.

Relationships take time to grow and must be nurtured. This may require several visits.

Pakistanis often ask personal questions as a way to get to know you as a person.

If possible, it is best to answer these questions.

Pakistanis do not require as much personal space as most western cultures. As such, they will stand close to you while conversing and you may feel as if your personal space has been violated. Do not back away.

Pakistanis are generally indirect communicators.

Always demonstrate deference to the most senior person in the group.

In general, Pakistanis speak in a roundabout or circuitous fashion. Direct statements are made only to those with whom they have a long-standing personal relationship.

They also use a great deal of hyperbole and similes, and go out of their way to find something to praise.Be prepared to flatter and be flattered.

Pakistanis prefer to converse in a non-controversial manner, so they will say they "will try" rather than admit that they cannot or will not be able to do something.

Therefore, it is important to ask questions in several ways so you can be certain what was meant by a vague response. Silence is often used as a communication tool.

Pakistanis prefer to do business in person. They see the telephone as too impersonal a medium for business communication.

 Business Meeting Etiquette

Appointments are necessary and should be made, in writing, 3 to 4 weeks in advance, although meetings with private companies can often be arranged with less notice.

The best time to schedule meetings is in the late morning or early afternoon.

If at all possible, try not to schedule meetings during Ramadan. The workday is shortened, and since Muslims fast, they could not offer you tea, which is a sign of hospitality.

You should arrive at meetings on time and be prepared to be kept waiting.

Pakistanis in the private sector who are accustomed to working with international companies often strive for punctuality, but are not always successful.

It is not uncommon to have a meeting cancelled at the last minute or even once you have arrived.

In general, Pakistanis have an open-door policy, even when they are in a meeting. This means there may be frequent interruptions. Other people may wander into the room and start a different discussion.

Meetings are formal.

Business meetings start after prolonged inquiries about health, family, etc.

Never inquire about a colleague's wife or daughters.

During the first several meetings, business may not be discussed at all as the relationship is still being developed.

Maintain indirect eye contact while speaking.


Companies are hierarchical. Decisions are made by the highest-ranking person.

Decisions are reached slowly. If you try to rush things, you will give offense and jeopardize your business relationship.

The society is extremely bureaucratic. Most decisions require several layers of approval.

It often takes several visits to accomplish simple tasks.

If you change negotiators, negotiations will have to start over since relationships are to the person and not the company that they represent.

Pakistanis are highly skilled negotiators.

Price is often a determining factor in closing a deal.

Pakistanis strive for win-win outcomes.

Maintain indirect eye contact while speaking.

Do not use high-pressure tactics.

Pakistanis can become highly emotional during negotiations. Discussions may become heated and even revert to Urdu (the national language). It is imperative that you remain calm.

Business Card Etiquette

Business cards are exchanged after the initial introduction.

Include any advanced university degrees or professional honours on your card, as they denote status.

Business cards are exchanged using the right hand only or with two hands.

Make a point of studying any business card you receive before putting into your business card holder.

General Business Hours

Government offices operate from around 8am to 3pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday, and 8am to noon on Friday. Private offices generally open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (some closing between noon and 1pm for prayers) and some also operate on Saturday (often only until 3pm).
State banks (foreign-exchange sections) are usually open from 9am to 1.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 12.30pm on Friday and Saturday. Some banks stay open longer. Post office timings vary regionally but they generally open from around 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday, and 9am to 12.30pm on Friday, although some stay open longer and some close for 30 minutes between 1pm and 2pm. Most museums open from around 9am to 5pm in summer and to 4pm in winter; many are closed on the first Wednesday of each month throughout the year.
Restaurant hours are variable. Breakfast is usually available from approximately 7am and restaurants open for dinner around 6pm to 7pm. Some stay open throughout the day.
During Ramazan (Ramadan), opening hours are shortened by most government offices and many businesses, especially restaurants (which are typically closed from dawn to dusk); hours vary across the country, with notices usually posted on the business’s entrance.