INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Pakistan Now a Hot Spot for IT Outsourcing

Why is Pakistan the hot new offshore information technology (IT) destination? This is because of a combination of favorable economic circumstances. Just when many Western managers are finally becoming comfortable with the idea of working closely with Indian IT firms, along comes Pakistan.

Pakistan is shaking off decades of “also ran” status. Funds invested into building educational institutions in Pakistan (when there were not enough jobs to absorb all the graduates from those institutions) are paying off as Pakistan begins to field a modern, highly productive labor force that is the envy of more prosperous but less tech savvy nations elsewhere in the region.

Why Care?

Why should the average Western IT professional, businessperson or IT consumer care? Because we are all going to be buying and using more IT outputs from Pakistan. To be a smarter buyer and user of IT products calls for a familiarity with Pakistan, even for those who do not initially intend to do business with Pakistani firms. We are all part of a global economy and Pakistan is an increasingly important part of that global economy.

The issues that Pakistan faces as it gears up for the global high-tech marketplace are many of the same issues that both advanced and developing economies face elsewhere in the world, as both service providers and service consumers. Pakistan is making no effort to gloss over its challenges, which makes those challenges easier to address.

With a population of 160 million and a land area almost twice the size of California, Pakistan is a smaller and more unified country than most of its neighbors, which increases that nation’s chances of solving its own problems and avoiding the mistakes that have plagued neighboring economies.

India Helps Pakistan

The biggest boost to Pakistan’s efforts to break into the global IT marketplace came on September 28, when India’s finance ministry announced an income tax of more than 36 percent on foreign firms with software, R&D and customer service operations in India. This tax proposal had been in the works since the beginning of the year and is expected to prompt U.S. firms to follow GE’s lead in selling off assets in India.

Any Western business manager who initiated or approved the establishment of an IT production or R&D subsidiary in India in 2004 could find that decision to be a career-ending move unless they have built in financial reserves to accommodate both the tax scheme of September 28 and upcoming taxes still on the drawing board.

A proposal is under consideration in New Delhi to tax activities conducted over international private leased connections (IPLCs) that carry most of India’s voice and data traffic to and from the outside world. There is also a proposal to replace state-to-state customs duties (octroi) with a national value added tax. Both those tax proposals could be combined into a single scheme.

U.S. IT brokerage firms, their U.S. clients and domestic Indian IT operations will be largely untouched by the September 28 tax scheme. But the traditional offshore migration path of outsourcing to an offshore location first — before setting up captive operations there — has been disrupted in India until economic reforms reduce the role of the Indian government in the economy and consequently reduce that nation’s revenue requirements.

For Westerners with long-standing personal ties to India, that country’s September 28 tax scheme could have both personal and financial consequences. For new Indian workers who hoped for a position with a Western firm based in India, that country’s revenue policy will alter careers, lifestyles and futures. Westerners can pack up and look for other another country to set up operations. However, what country?

Pakistan’s Advantages

Pakistan is the primary beneficiary of India’s decision to tax foreign firms with captive IT operations in India. No other economy can match Pakistan’s labor pool of educated English-speaking workers. No other economy can match Pakistan’s scalability, reliability and low-cost environment.

Pakistan offers five advantages over India:

1. Western experience: Executives at IT firms in Pakistan often have worked and gone to school in the U.S., which is Pakistan’s largest export market. Indian IT firms whose managers have worked in the West are generally more expensive than similarly positioned Indian firms, without always providing noticeable differences in program implementation capabilities. The willingness of Pakistanis to return home from the West stands in marked contrast to most Indians who arrive for school or work in the West and never look back.

2. Professionalism and integrity: The personal integrity of Pakistani managers is easy to identify and appreciate, especially by Westerners with business experience elsewhere in the region. However, the relatively open and trusting nature of Pakistanis has made them easy prey for Indian business brokers who have managed to cheat several Pakistani IT firms by offering to provide them with outsourcing contracts in exchange for up-front fees. The Pakistanis assumed that these Indians were open minded and charitable for coming to help less experienced firms in Pakistan gain access to international contracts, until the Indians took their money and disappeared.

3. Higher labor availability: Fewer holidays in Pakistan means less slippage in staff availability compared to India. IT firms in India are advised to hire a diverse workforce so that members of one community can enjoy important festivals while members of other communities cover the phones and keep production going.

4. Good accents: Pakistan’s official language is English. Only Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and the Punjabi areas of India can come close to competing with accents in Pakistan, where many families speak English at home and where accent neutralization for non-native speakers of English is substantially easier than in India. Language skills and accents provide Pakistan with a major advantage over all other Asian outsourcing destinations.

5. Low cost talent pool: India’s top-tier labor force for IT work has been stretched thin in many areas, especially Bangalore, where escalating wage rates, turnover and higher outsourcing prices are reaching critical mass at the same time that the urban infrastructure has exceeded its carrying capacity. Annual turnover rates reported to InternationalStaff.net for most merchant call center facilities in India at the beginning of November are approaching 100 percent. High turnover rates are causing a shift to second tier Indian cities and to Kolkata. Escalating turnover rates are one of the Indian outsourcing industry’s dirty secrets. In comparison, Pakistan’s top-tier talent pool is largely untapped and turnover rates are less than 20 percent.

Safety and Security

Pakistan is not without challenges, some of which are real (improving the telecommunications infrastructure) and some are exaggerated, especially in terms of the security situation. Once you have lived through a few riots in India, once you have taught yourself how to quickly turn the lights out and lay down on the floor because you are afraid of what might come through the window, then Pakistan doesn’t seem so scary anymore.

The biggest danger that Westerners face in South Asia is from automobile accidents, particularly at night. India has over 8 times the number of highway fatalities per passenger mile than the U.S.

If you go looking for trouble, you will find it, whether in the back alleys of Karachi or the parking lots of many suburban U.S. shopping malls. Americans who have worked in both Karachi and Mumbai report that there is no discernable difference in the safety and security situation in both cities. The lack of reporting in the U.S. media on the occurrence of violent disturbances and general strikes in India, versus the close coverage often afforded to Pakistan, has created the illusion that Pakistani cities are somehow more dangerous than cities elsewhere in the region, especially for Americans.

The U.S. Department of State does not maintain accurate statistics on economically or personally motivated attacks against their own personnel in foreign countries. Nor does it collect accurate information on crimes committed against U.S. nationals in foreign countries. This leads U.S. citizens to avoid safe areas (for example, Islamabad) and to incur excessive risks in areas where Americans are routinely victimized (for example, Mexico City).

The U.S. government is not doing a good job at providing assistance for Americans who have been assaulted, robbed or otherwise victimized in foreign countries. If it did, there would likely be some accounting of those efforts, accounting that would demonstrate that Pakistan’s major cities have been and continue to be a generally safe place for U.S. businesspeople and their families.

Shared Roles

Pakistan and the U.S. have similar roles when it comes to human rights. Both countries are a beacon of safety and a haven for refugees. The government of Pakistan has not been advertising this fact. The people who have fled to Pakistan from surrounding countries in the region have, on a one-to-one personal basis. They are Pakistan’s best ambassadors.

Before making up your mind about Pakistan, talk to people who have left there or have passed through there. Their origins might be different but their stories are often tragically similar. Too often, it seems as if they are all reading from the same script: family members (or themselves) in neighboring countries who have been victimized, jailed, possibly tortured, relatives killed, and all survivors traumatized and dispossessed. Pakistan welcomes them and serves as a place of safety and security.

From Iran, Afghanistan, India and elsewhere they come, seeking the same things that immigrants to the U.S. have always sought: opportunity, liberty, freedom of religion and respect for personal beliefs.

Americans naturally identify with the underdogs, the runners up, the people who are trying harder than anyone else to succeed. This is why many Americans find it easy to identify with Pakistanis.

It is not necessary for Americans to take sides in disputes between India and Pakistan. Taking sides is not required. Long-term peaceful solutions are required.

Increased trade and joint projects between Pakistan and India will pull those two countries together and create incentives for peace. American firms doing business in one or both countries can contribute to peace through responsible business practices and the moderating effects that employment and prosperity provide. This can and should be accomplished when American firms are allowed to operate on an equal footing with local firms, which for now only appears possible in Pakistan.


Anthony Mitchell, an E-Commerce Times columnist, has beeninvolved with the Indian IT industry since 1987, specializing through InternationalStaff.net inoffshore process migration, call center program management, turnkeysoftware development and help desk management.


61 Comments

  • If you don’t believe the fact see WiMax setup in Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan has the largest fully functional WiMAX network in the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimax

    Regarding Software Industry, there are many software companies that show their projects worth and income less as they have to pay more tax to Government, that’s why PSEB can not accurately collect the figure about software exports

    • Anthony Mitchell, Got a check or not it is a diferent story. But have a look on reports by Transparency International
      at
      http://www.transparency.org/cpi/2004/cpi2004.en.html#cpi2004
      Which suggest,
      india : 91
      pakistan : 132
      china : 71
      bangla : 145
      With Finlad at 1 , being most honest nation.
      Here is one thing to note that pakistan and india both have lost rating in last one year(2003).
      So i think Outsourcing have to do little with general honesty of a nation, but legal system for safe investment and cheap workforce do count.
      Regards,
      SS

      • Dear Zafar Dont Misguid other people you know why Russia is not starting work on expanding Pak.Steel mills its all about the metter of money and facelities bec pakistan has 2 other purposls 1 from China and one from Australia both of them are offering very good package as compare to Russia and in this conduction do u think pakistani government will wait for Russa to start work it russia who is urging pakistan not pakistan dear first find out the facts then post messages I know their are many problems in pakistan I AM also a victoms of them but one thing I want to say
        Hard work Karo or agar Pakistan ka leay kuch kar nahee saktay to apna mooon band rahkooo.

        • Dear Zafar; I AM really surprised to see such a STUPID comments from a Pakistani !!
          I think we should always think of our country FIRST then anything else, Its ok that we have differences in our ranks, but those should not at all tell upon our National image around the world.. We should be pleased that someone from outside have really projected the TRUE image of our country for the business community abroad…which will inshallah go a long way in providing opptunities for OUTSOURCING !! Sorry to say that your message indicates a SICK MIND you have got !!! Try to keep your senseless thinking to yourself…I do agree with other people that "AGAR KUCH NAHEEN KAR SAKTEY TO APNA MOO BUND HI RAKHOO" and try to be fais with a country where you live otherwise just go to a place where you feel satisfied as a second rate citizen !!

          • I AM really shocked to read your response. I AM not sure that you are a Pakistani because of your remarks… but if you are a pakistani then you will be able to understand whats written below:
            Mujhey aisa lagta hey teri nasal may kuch serious maslah hay or woh yeh hey kay yaa to teri maa asli nahee hay yeah tera baap asli nahee hey.. Abey takay takay pay gandh maranay waley gandu tujhey apnee asli waldiyat kaa pata hey… abey teri maa pay kitney kuttey charahey thay yeah tujhey pata hey kya ??
            Mujhey to lagta hey tera pura khandan kisee ghair mulki khotay kay barwhoon kay khandan say milta hey or main kya kahoon meray pass to alfaz khatam ho gayee hein… Apnay ganday mun or zaban say pakistan jaisay saaf aur pakizaah alfaz nikalna hee tera saab say barah gunah hey..Kabhi bhool kay bhee karachi maat aiyo warna hum to tera aisa kaam karain gay kay tu mard hotey huey bhee randiyoon aur gandoon say bhee battar ho gaa….
            Jahnnum may jaoo
            I love Pakistan and as a Pakistani we welcome the world IT leaders to invest in Pakistan… Technology is not a virtue of one country or collection of countries..

          • You are right about Pakistan being the HOT IT OutSourcing Location. Our US based company is a big example of this. For last ten years, our company had two development centers one in europe and other one they opened few yrs back in Pakistan. Last year based on the performance and availability of cheap but competitive labour our company has shifted all of its development to Pakistan. If western management of our company was so disturbed or effected by the so called bad conditions in Pakistan then why they took such a dangerous step? but all I AM seeing is after even experience of 5-6 yrs they are constantly increasing there IT OutSourcing in Pakistan. So all I can say is this article is nothing but a Fact, and many companies are already taking benefit from IT opportunities in Pakistan.

          • I think a addition to links is,
            http://www.hec.gov.pk
            ( Higher Education Commission responsible for education institues)
            secondly in comments list political war is started by local rivals.
            Best of luck, keep going.
            Regards,
            SS

          • This piece is a joke.
            Pakistan has about 14 centuries to go before even coming close to what India can offer.
            Mr. Mitchell is either paid by some lobby firm on behalf of Pakistan or he has let his personal prejudices overcome any remaining obejctivity left in him. He could have easily shilled for his Pakistani paymasters without his comic attempt to trash India.
            Some facts that Mr. Mitchell forgot to tell us:
            1. IT outsourcing is not the same as contracting overseas call centers.
            2. Pakistan’s English educated base is less than 1% of India’s
            3. The author’s claim on accent issues makes it likely that he has very little personal experience in this area.
            4. Pakistan is the primary base of Al Qaeda today and its government’s day to day survival is a matter of doubt. With daily bomb blasts, government agencies full of terrorist sympathizers, fear of Taliban like government taking over and 85% of population sympathetic to Osama bin Laden, no serious Western company should consider major contracts in Pakistan before the situation stabilizes there.
            The author would have been well served to read up on facts before shilling for his paymasters.

          • Well Mr.Khalil, i think you need to visit Pakistan for a better understanding.I know its really tough to believe for the Indians that Pakistan is making some progress in IT and BPO.
            I admit that Pakistan is not that of a pure democracy but believe me or not this has very less to do with foreign investment.Come to Pakistan and see it yourself !

          • first: india is not overloaded.
            secound: stop countines pennies, against Huge Indian Stocks.
            third: if i cound MNC’s in India, your computer will crash loading the list 😉
            fourth: India has domestic software giants, and july ’04 banglore overtook silicon valley, and came on the Top !!
            need i say more

          • Great post Neuron and I admire and respect you for speaking your mind 🙂
            I spent nine months in PK when I traveled there to marry my husband.
            I love the Pakistani people … everyone I met during my stay were very kind and respectful toward me.
            I also met many honest business owners.
            Keep up the good work Neuron … Pakistani’s need to be heard also.
            Kiwi_Sweetie

          • First of All, I AM not From india, I AM a Yemeni living in Dubai. Making Investment in a country has a lot to do with how the government will safeguard my investment. Pakistan Does not qualify for such favours as compared in India or even China.
            I travel a lot in my line of work and have very good friends AM ungst Indians and Pakistanis. I have Pakistani Investment Consultants working for me who have advised me against investing In Punjab for the very same reason.
            Many Pakistanis I have spoken to dread the thought of investing in In Pakistan for fear of the extreme curruption all the way up to the judiciary in the Country. What Mitchell completely ignores in his "Report" is how poorly he is informed of the socio political system in Pakistan.
            Billions of Dollars are invested in India and The benifits are very clear. At the End of the Day every thing boils down to how much money my investment has made. And India Clearly makes money for My investment. Honestly I do not have the courage to try my luck with Pakistan

          • Hello Mr. Khaleel,
            Have you gone through the investment policy prevailing in Pakistan these days or you just believe in what ever your consultants tell you ?
            Also just to inform you that Punjab is a big province and just to say in a sentence that investing in punjab is not favorable then i think its not a ground reality.
            I think i dont need to paste references of the latest multi-national investments in Pakistan in recent times.Dont those investors want profit on their investment ? Don’t they know the ground situations ? Or are they just too sympathetic towards Pakistani economy ?
            Talking of corruption, tell me which country is free of corruption ? One can argue on the extent of it but again this isn’t the reason to deny one country of investment.
            One needs to refresh the perception about Pakistan.If something is showing improvement than atleast appreciate it !!

          • Well Mr.Khaleel ! If you have been investing your money in india for quite a while, that doesn’t mean that there is no other place in the world to invest the money. And when your consultants advise you not to invest in pakistan, I doubt their credibility. I think, the world’s leading giants must have done required homework before deciding to come to pakistan, especially in the IT and Telecom sector. As far as corruption thing is concerned, do visit pakistan first and then give a verdict. I still say, India is more entangled in the corruption problem. If you dont wanna do any business with pakistan then don’t do it but atleast appreciate the good things in pakistan

          • why do you dumb ass indians have to see the hand of some agency in everything that is around you. I hope you do not think that your birth in this world was not a work of some pakistani agency. why not ask your mamma
            poddlepk

          • So obviously kahunasbrain is an Indian. Its interesting how this message board has quickly become an India-Pk battle turf. Both need to relax and grow up quickly if possible.
            Fact is the article has some good points in it. I’ve noticed in my interaction that Pakistanis do tend to have a better command of English than Indians. At the same time Pakistan has geo-political stability issues which seem to be improving lately. The thawing of relations between Indian Pakistan has helped it. Indians have had a great head start to outsourcing IT.
            Regardless of your national origin, the article has some valid points and some contentious ones. After all its an article. Not the Bible or Koran or Geeta. Relax and read it for what it is.

          • You are right brainstorming, we need to grow up and come out of the deep influence of nationalities, regardless of nationalities we are humans, we have similarities and differences. So chill out everyone and face the facts! The author has valid points, whether you agree with him or not 🙂 Pakistan is on its way to become part of growing IT world and no one deny that, it is just the matter of time and opportunities, Pakistan is on it’s way to success regardless of someone agrees or disagrees 🙂 Peace!

          • Well this article does seem to have started an indo-pak war over here . I really liked the article Because Mr Anthony Mitchell seems to have thorouly researched on the topic . I do agree that India is ahead in IT industry & others but Pakistan seems to be catching up . Goodluck Pakistan .
            Thumbs up for the article.

          • Mr. Martin’s comments on Indian accent and personal hygiene is very AM using. More and more companies are moving their backoffice to India I guess they seem to be impressed by ‘difficult’ Indian accent.

          • There you go. Atleast someone tried to put some sense in these dumb heads who are trying to rip each other off on the net. My God, I have not seen the use of such abusive and hateful language on the any discussio site. I hope someone will actually go and kick these guys ass..
            Thanks for taking the time to do that.
            poddlepk

          • Martin, I think you lost your job to an Indian because of lack of quality work. Indians are brainy. Accept it and there you win.
            Gandhi once said
            First they ignore you then they try to suppress you then they fight you and there you win.

          • you know what martin,
            you are right in some ways, but Indian’s are still better that many unhygenic AM ericans with all due respect, it is just that all kind of people exist everywhere and you might have a bad guy from india or a bad guy from pakistan or a bad guy from AM erica. but my friend we indians are willing to give up all outsourcing but you know what ITES (IT enabled services) that this country carries is not all for USA, majority of software is still consumed in India and southasia has the biggest IT market, not AM ericas but asia. because we beleave that developing ourselfs is what we will focus on and not just being a backoffice for an IT operator.
            all due respect for pakistan india and the states

          • Dear Pak friends,
            I do not agree with the author ..India and Pak can never be compared..remember country,s population or size doesn,t matter..how come smaller countries have made it big compared to pak..Some of you who argued that India is bigger than Pak,here is an option to justify…can u prove that for every 10 educated and qualified Indians,there is 1 paki in the same boat,for every 10 top doctors or engineers or scientists,show me 1 pakistani..how many pakistanis r honoured by the great Inst like MIT,s or harvards,how many of ur scientists work for Nasa..,I beg to differ…initially most countries were unhappy with outsourcing to India..the main reason being their loss of jobs…accent is secondary…but now with qualified Cust serv advisors well versed with diff accents,I bet UK,USA and even Aus r competing to outsource to India..I AM studying in the UK and have met many pakistani students and their english is pathetic…if IELTS was mandatory to study in UK,i bet none of them would be here…but due to economic slump,most univ,s r giving admissions to intl students left,right and centre…including the chinese…ofcourse I agree pakistanis speak better angrez than their chink friends(no pun intended)..

          • I had no idea how you much Indians are poisioned against Paksiatn. Even after 50 years of its existance, you people have never accepted it and therefore, anything that shows the good side of Pakistan, ticks you indians off.
            I don’t want to waste my time talking about dumb indians who are ignoring the realities of the open world, but let me assure you that Pakistan will be there to face indians in every challenge..inshallah
            Poddlepk

          • I was very happy when I learnt that Indo-Pak ties are going to be normalized. But AM quite discouraged to see the mostly Indian reviewers comments on one small article. Every country has some issues. Some movements. Some individuals that create trouble for some country. It might be extremists in Pakistan, Nagaland and Sikh movements in India, Maoists in Nepal, IRA in UK or ETA in Spain. We don’t judge the whole country by the actions of those movements. I find no reason why my Indian friends are here so upset about a small ray of hope for Pakistan. Let it be. Let that country come out of its troubles, encourage these developments as eventually these will discourage extremists. Pakistanis become happy when some Indian acotor visits Pakistan. They garland them. But this intolerance for even a small things like a favourable article for her. Insane. Grow up guys, you are looking for a UN Security Council permanant seat, broaden your horizon. Pakistan is a small country with limited resources as compare to India. Let her grow. Eventually it will help your larger economy and may be a big market for your products in future. I had some reservation regarding the split of sub-continent but now I think that was justified. If the intolerance of majority population in India has this scale how could anybody else would have grown there! I have visited the website you recommended, trust me I have never seen such a biased website before. Even when I tried to comment, it said, we are not accepting new members. Com’on, this is what you want us to read, and is this your source of information about Pakistan, then I would say, you really need to educate yourself.

          • Hi All
            Personally, after visiting Pakistan, I think Pakistan has great potential and is a great place for business opportunity. After our visit to Pakistan, the board of directors are deciding to expand our business further into Pakistan ( Islamabad and Karach). We currently have offices in India, but Pakistan is definetly a hot spot for IT and increased sales and profits. Pakistan will climb the business ladder fast and will attract business people like myself from all around the world. Pakistan will soon reach and be level with many countries through out the world. myself and other business men that I know are all planning of moving business to Pakistan. You’ll be shocked to find which businesses are moving to pakistan. Just wait and see.

          • Dear kutchi (anjali) friends,
            I read Mr Mitchells article with a sense that at last an unbiased and a ground reality view of pakistan and its people was being presented. What surprised me was the uncalled prejudice, jealousy and spiteful feedback coming from the kutchi side (for those who dont know kutchi’s is the derogatory term used by pakistani’s to indians, this is in response to those indians calling pakistani’s paki’s in their replys, which by the way they (kutchies) would be more likely to be called here in the uk by the racists !
            (i know it is petty but i felt it appropriate in the circumstance as you will see)
            i dont think anyone would argue that india has an established IT and industrial base, after all they had them when independence came whilst pakistan started literally from scratch. What i would like to bring to the attention of all the billion kutchies out there and to the world is that the kutchies themselves are ashamed of their background and race and so try to emulate and copy other nations especially pakistanis and the west, i will exemplify ….
            1. indians national language was supposed to be english however because pakistan at independence said it woudl be urdu, the indians chose hindi which was not the main language (all indian films and language spoken at the time until the late 70’s was urdu, the language of the muslims) also tamil is the most widely spoken language in india and still is, but due to their caste system it could never be !!
            2. indian national dress is the white kameez (shirt) and sarong for men and sari for women, pakistan national dress for men is the shalwar kameez for both men and women. However whilst the pakistanis kept to their cultural dress the indian women embarrassed by their national dress sari now wear shalwar kameez and then call it indian dress!!! look at all the old indian films nearly all teh women wear sari’s, look at all the old pakistani since independence all the women wear shalwar kameez. now even the indian men are copying pakistanis and wearing shalwar kameez and saying it is an indian dress – indira and sonia gandhi wear saris, and in the uk in the last 10 years indian women have burnt their saris and now wear western or pakistani clothes.
            3. copying and aping the west in their mannerism and behaviour – all their movies and songs etc you see mini skirted girls and baseball wearing boys – comeon where in india do you see that ? even if you do is that indian culture ? is that something to be proud of that you can also binge drink ? they dont want to show the reality of their peoples lives. Whereas in pakistan the opposite is true, pakistanis due to our culture and religion feel we are proud to be pakistanis.
            4. all their (indian) film stars are fair coloured, tall with aryan features and women are buxom, like the features of the vast majority of pakistanis, whereas in reality 98% of indians are of dravidian race ie dark, small and slim built. yet they portray themselves as looking like pakistanis and even name their actors khans !!! even though they dont look anything like pathans eg sharook etc, i should know i AM a khan and a pathan.
            there are many other examples i can give which for this forum is not appropriate, however the above is appropriate for silencing the indians out there. Indians (note i did not say kutchies this time)should spend a little time and ask themselves regarding their call centres and staff changing their names to angolise themselves, is it telling them something about themeselves ?

          • Oh Dear!If not comparing with India,whats this article about..its so funny cause the author says only punjab and Kolkotta in India have good english compared to the rest of the country and this itself shows that the author wrote some rubbish since bengalis speak with soem mannerisms as they cant pronounce V instead use B in its place and punjabis in punjab speak with a punjabi accent unlike punjabis elsewhere like delhi etc…I AM a punjabi myself so I knwo the truth…and the author is contradicting the truth.Maybe he,s paid well for it.Why dont you speak to the centres in bangalore,pune,mumbai,chennai, hyderabad,goregaon.you find the educated lot here.Ofcourse,Indians are educated elsewhere too…As you said we don,t know history of taliban etc,you guys are also ignorant about India,s intellectual reserve.Probably countries like AM erica,Uk and the rest are honouring Indian intellectuals just for fun innit…kindly read my other comment in response to another gentleman below…

          • Kin wrote;
            "Gandhi once said; First they ignore you then they try to suppress you then they fight you and there you win."
            And then of course an indian went on and killed Gandhi!
            Several years later the same indians who praise Gandhi went on and elected the powers that killed Gandhi to power!!!!

          • Anthony Mitchell, does pigs fly in your part of the world? If you don’t know what brings business, let me give you some 101. It is the political stability of the country. Not necessarily Democracy, but stability. Saudi has Prince, China have Army. Iraq is going to have democracy. Do you think companies are going to flood Iraq?
            Pakistan needs to stablise politically. All Ex-PMs are living in exile and we have Army Chief cum President with hand-picked PMs resigning. It ain’t going nowhere. You might have 0 % tax, but it doesn’t help a lot.

          • there is life aftter you die my friend, so you never know after life who might win and who loose, but the killer is certain to loose. and do pakistanis not kill brothers ? by encouraging terrorism ? bloodshed is not good, it’s not good even to kill enemy.
            it’s just good to forgive.

          • totally agreed, good point, i wish this country would prosper but the people have to project that in the government, that of a clean and tolerant lot.

  • I would say that simply there is no comparision between Pakistan and India. India has massive land and resources. If you go back to a little history at the time of partition India was a established democracy it has all the basis of Civil society and an educated work force. But looking at Pakistan which has no resources and even its Assets has not been given properly Pakistan now emerged as a very progressive state at that time no one could believe it will withstand few more years with so many mouths to feed and no resoureces. I think Pakistan did many fold progress after independence, faced three wars, faced lots of difficult times. The accuracy of missile Technology is 80% as compared to indian 60% accuracy of surface to surface missile technology recently. Pakistanis in general are quality conscious and do not compromise on quality.

  • All Hype With Zero Performance.
    http://www.dawn.com/2006/02/06/nat5.htm
    ISLAMABAD, Feb 5: Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) failed to achieve the target of increasing exports by at least $50 million in 2004-05, an official source told Dawn.
    The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication had assigned certain goals to the board and one of the major targets was to increase the country�s export by at least $50 million during 2004-05.
    Though the PSEB bosses claimed that the total exports through IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) from July 2004 to May 2005 were $44.73 million, there were no details to substantiate this claim, the source said.
    …..
    However, the government officials still believe that the bureau had furnished a misstatement to the government showing �fake� performance.
    ……
    Keep Up the Good Work

  • ur joking right, pakistan is not even near the IT thingy or watever, pakistan is just getting the left overs, our software developed here r not even of one percent quality wise comparable to india, ppl here working in IT r not one percent comparable to India, r AM ericans mad they would never like to jeoprdize dere business to invest in us, man a business man never invests till he is 100 percent sure, i AM a business man i know i would never

  • Indeed a very inspiring article by Mr.Mitchell for most of the readers. But reality is magnified 100 times. Clearly the educated and Elite class of pakistan would like more IT outsourcing on their soil.Just Bashing india will not bring any good. One has to accept the reality. Indian IT industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Infact the two top Indian IT companies holds very leading position in Fortune 500. Instead of critisizing India with VERY GOOD english(which many readers claim???) Pakis have to learn to create a conducive atmosphere for economic progress. And for those who really feel that india IT market is saturated and Pakistan is emerging IT leader wait and watch.Time is the best judge.

  • Well seems like you guys are heavily bent in favour of Pakistan and too much against India, so much that you forget the fact that India has a huge business that the tiny puny outsourcing. but i cannot beleave or compare Pakistan to U.S of A, as so much exists against mujahids, the everlasting violence and it’s inability to sustain even primitive business sectors. and what about military coups, the military is still a ruler and it would be a grave risk setting business in pakistan due to so much adverse comditions, if India bans air flights then pakistan becomes devoid of even baisc business, it is better if not best to setup business in bigger and much more stable and tolerent India.

  • I m Indian, But I do have to agree Pakistan is fast katching up. World class institiutes like Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology , UET etc r producing 1 of the most brilliant people of the planet. Not only that the low and order situation is far better in cities like Islamabad, karachi compared 2 bangalore where daylight robbery iz common. 1 cab driver in bangalore charged me thrice the normal charge ! imagine that. I hear cab drivers in pakistan are far more honest. So according to all this I think pakistan will overtake india very fast. On top of dat world class port is coming up in gwadar. there r so many things …

  • Pakistan is growing and growing and growing in IT and Telecom Sector by leaps and bounds and government is also interested in flourishing the new technlogies of era. Mr. Perves Musharaf has announced an open mind, open source policy for investors and foreign qualified professionals and soon this sector will recognise itself in the world.
    As far as Outsourcing is concerned, Pakistan was already having more or less (approximately equal) potential as compared to India, but due to lack of Marketing and less exposure to International Market was unable to sell it’s products effectively. In recent scenario it will be easy to make place in international market, but Pakistan will not do that. Ask me why?. because there is still deficiency of exposure to market and lack of marketing tactics. who ever want to outsource in Pakistan will have to search deeply for outsourcing companies and could not easily find it, because government has not made adequate arrangements for foreign companies who want to outsource. This way, Pakistan, may not be able to get 100% out of it’s share.
    Still India is not aware of whole condition, it can waive it’s 36% tax again when it will see Pakistan snatching it’s market. who ever wants to lose money, whoever want to lose business, whoever wants to lose clients????? India? not at all.
    Let’s see what happens then, may be India just want to check Pakistani potential and exposure to international market,
    what i think is that, Pakistan has to be very sensitive and very accurate, if it wants to gain a good status in multi trillion dollar industry.

  • After reading the comments from Techie, Timekharab, Topgun and other Indians on this forum, I have to say somethings. First of all guys, please try to realize that no one is questioning the superiority of India in IT, no doubt about it; similarly this article is not comparing India/Pakistan, so chill, and read what is the truth. As far as Taliban, jehad, jehadis and other things are concerned, I can say only one thing: YOU GUYS ARE IGNORANT, DON’T KNOW THE HISTORY, AND NEED SOME EDUCATION. Visit following sites to educate yourself: http://www.pakistanview.com and http://www.aopp.org/

  • This article is very funny. Seems like few lines were taken directly out of pakistan history books.
    Anyways India’s software exports are above $10 bn. Pakistan is struggling to reach $50 mn.
    Indian culture values education and is evident from the large education infrastructures like IITs IIMs IISCs and close to 25% of startups in silicon valleys are by Indians. Bangalore city alone has more than 100 enginering colleges and employs around 5 lakh IT workers.
    Authors comments about Indian accent was funny. He has never heard of bangaloreans or their life styles I guess.
    Also IT industry is not just call centers.
    Visit pakistan-facts.com. It gives numbers of jehadis graduating out of madrasas every year (Several lakh). Now having their borders sealed by US on 1 side and india on the other, they are out on streets. How can BPO employ madrasa trained jehadi ?

  • This story is the biggest peice of malicious article ever read about India.Probably the author is out of work because of the Indians or his integrity shall be in question..
    The front page of the magazine tells it all..An IT behemoth is hiring in thousands…from where??
    INDIA….
    Russia, China, Philipines..are just that..Wannabes..Someone hiring from Pakistan??Give me break before you count your dollars..Pakistan is the world leader in IT(International Terrorism) and Pakistani govt. is bombing its own citizens even tonite day in , day out…in search of Al-Qaeda..Every single Al-Qaeda operative has been captured in Pakistan..The authors description of some story of Indians cheating a Pakistani for some offshore work is a clear give away…
    Let me quote another propaganda king Hitler "By the constant application of propaganda even men of wisdom can be made to see heaven as hell and vice-versa.." Now everyone knows what happened to hitler..Truth stays..propganda and "Pakistani HOT SPOT" Won’t.

  • Geeeeeeeezzzzzzz! looks like India-Pakistan fight has been going on here! That is not healthy. I AM American and honestly I AM not biased towards any country. Having said that let me share my experience with you.
    I have worked with both Indian and Pakistani consultants and I work for a fortune 500 company in Washington DC. As far as technical skills go, I found people from both countries at the same level; author of the article is right about the accent because not only me but other Americans coworkers found it easier to understand Pakistani accent than Indian accent. Another difference is in outer appearance and personal hygiene and I think Indians again need to work on it.
    I have no clue about the IT industries in those countries and how they work but last year I heard that Dell outsourced some of its call centers to Islamabad Pakistan, which shows that Pakistan does have capabilities and resources available for such things!
    Guys, relax, don’t fight. We all know India is the leader and have taken a very big share of outsourcing (which ofcourse they deserved); now looks like Pakistan is also getting involved in the scene! Good for Pakistan, afterall something is better than nothing! Good luck guys.
    Chao,
    Martin

  • The article is a load of bull from Anthony. While Pakistan will have its own merits of entering into the Offshore IT marketplace, gosh that cannot be due to some nonsensical claims…as laid down in the advantages vis a vis India (gullible Pakistanis cheated by Indians???)…come on people…get a grip…This looks like a PR article…which is definitely good news for Pakistan as it shows the existence of some agency (govt or industry) that is pushing all this….

  • I AM small business owner here in Pakistan. I started myself providing development services to small business foreign clients. After a year,Now, I have a proper office, having two highly qualified software developers and two newly appointed trainees. My business is growing day by day. Who says that Pakistan is not providing favourable outsourcing facilities.Have doubt ? Then, talk to me man .
    My clients are repeating business with me and since my start, I have not lost a single client.
    None of my clients are local, all from America, and Europe.

  • As an experienced IT Professional, I do agree with Mr.Mitchell . I AM myself astonished to see that now Pakistan is not what it was 5 or 6 years back. Pakistan is the real challenger to Indian IT outsourcing fairy tale. The 2 odd guys in this discussion board described a febricated & baseless story about overall situation in pakistan. Ask those who have done business within or with Pakistani companies. The IT environment is ideal in pakistan for foreign investment backed by aggressive and AM bitious Govt. Policies that looks determined to make pakistan a regional economical power and Global IT hub. Hats off to Mr.Anthony Mitchell for his sharp observations over pakistani people and their abilities especially Honesty and Comfort level in English accent. In the last 6 years, there has been a revolution in the business sector in pakistan . The major developments in this period are listed below which can be verified by any independent indicators
    1. The sharp increase in Foreign Exchange Reserves from US $900m to 12.5 billion dollors
    2. A wild upsurge in Stock market that rose from 1300 points to 5600 points as of oct/nov 2004
    3. A reasonable fall in the foreign Debts from 39 billion dollors to 34 billion dollors
    4. Increase in overall Exports from 7.5 billion dollors to more than 12 billion dollors
    5. Sharp increase in foreign investments in almost all sectors especially IT and Telecom sector.
    For those readers who have a false perception about pakistan for any reason should know that many global business giants are operating smoothly in Pakistan and that includes:
    Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Halliburton, Land Mark Graphics, LMK Resources, Pi Sigma, Fusion, Orasscom telecom, Telenor, Al-warid, Cable & wireless Instaphone and many international Petroleum companies .
    The bottom line is that there is already a huge investement worth billions of dollors in pakistan and the IT environment is getting better and better day by day as compared to the overloaded IT industry of India.

  • Given the wonderful cooperation to United States from Pakistan’s President and Pakistani people it is prudent that we support their economy. I AM impressed by the detailed research done by Anthony. Good article! Will someone distribute this article to CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies?
    Lisa

  • It is clear from Mitchell’s Article that he has either had a few bad experiences with indians or Indian companies.
    Of course this article will give some kind of satisfaction to the Pakistanis who read them. But that would be a dillusion.
    It is immature to even claim that one can make such Generalised statements as he has about the entire Indian IT workforce.
    The 35% tax raise will not even make a ripple in the Indian Industry. And I have yet to see any Indian Company shifting operations to Pakistan because of this reason. BPOs in india are well aware of the clear advantages to working in India. If these Advantages were not apparent foreign companies would not be willing to invest in India.
    Pakistan does indeed have individuals who are qualified and willing to work in Pakistani BPOs. But Pakistan does not have a conducive environment for large investments. India does.
    I also take offense at the statements Mitchel made about Indian managers as disloyal and cheaters.
    The volotile un-democratic political situation in Pakistan is perhaps the only reason I can think of that will stand in the way of investors making decisions to choose pakistan as an Ideal destination for large Business process outsourcing.
    The rest of the reasons are just Mitchells own personal dislike of Indians.

  • Hello,
    I agree with you Mitchell. IT industry has grown up and developed tremendously in Pakistan and is expanding day by day. Given an example, my organization is running a recruitment website (http://www.finaljob.com.pk)in Pakistan. The statistics shows that the IT jobs in Pakistan increased three times for the last two years.
    One of the advantages to Pakistan over India is quality of work. I have worked with many western and European clients and the reason why they choose Pakistan over India is quality of work and services that Pakistani professionals are providing to them.
    Other reason of choosing Pakistan over India is Less labor cost, Large pool of professionals, Quality of work, No taxes, Powerful IT / Telecom infrastructure, Cheap, clean and secure environment etc.
    I must say that Pakistan is an ideal place for investment especially in IT and telecom industry.
    Regards,
    Shafiq

  • I read the balanced and well articulated article. Though the premise as presented by Mr. Mitchell may look bit strange to the West and US customers but the positive facts are stronger than the prevailing perception. I AM an executive working for a Fortune 500 telecom corporation and living in Dubai for many years. I AM directly responsible for managing very large scale ICT projects, typically hundreds of millions of Dollars each. I’ve tried and tested many off-shoring bases incluidng India and Pakistan. I must admit that the success and quality of work from Pakistani IT market has always met my and my customers expectations. Another interesting and important fact is the patience and willingness for customer-needs-compliance by the Pakistani companies in the outsoucing work which I have not seen or able to negotiate from any other emerging market.
    Pleese keep-up the good work

  • Hi all,
    I have been working in US for the last four years and let me tell you something honestly. Its all nothing but misconception, and false/wrong image of Pakistan that has been created by the Western media. Ofcourse, there have been issues and law/order problems in Pakistan but that is the same case with any other country on the face of this earth! The only problem is that the western media for sure gives unnecessary importance to those problems and highlights them as if Pakistan is the only country which is facing those problem! Lets take an example; if somebody kills someone back in Pakistan, western media would project it in highlights, but guess what, the place where I live (Richmond VA), there have been 87 murders so far in this year and you would find nothing comparatively visible on BBC.com, CNN.com and other electronic/print media!!! (don’t even get me started about the law/order situation in NY!) As far as the talent pool, bi-langual ability and skills go, I personally agree with the author that Pakistanis are equally or may be better than other people in South Asia as a whole, its just you got to "try" us sometimes 😉
    By the way, following are some of the top-notch companies doing their ofshore work (software dev, call centers, etc) in Pakistan:
    Citibank, Nortel, Cisco Systems, ABN-AMRO, Merrill lynch, Invislign Technology, HSBC, Siemens, Intel, Motorola, Ericsson, Microsoft, Oracle, Compaq
    For people who need more information about Pakistan IT industry and opportunities, please visit the following sites.
    Why Pakistan?
    http://www.pasha.org.pk/html_files/pakistan_why.htm
    Ways of doing business in Pakistan
    http://www.pasha.org.pk/html_files/pakistan_doingbusiness.htm
    Incentives given to companies
    http://www.pasha.org.pk/html_files/policies_governmentincentives.htm
    Pakistan Software Export Board
    http://www.pseb.org.pk/
    Association of Pakistani Professionals
    http://www.aopp.org/
    Govt. of Pakistan
    http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/
    Thanks,
    Manny Siddiqui

  • I agree with the writer. Having first hand experience of job in Bay Area as well as in Lahore, Pakistan, I can conclude that the circumstances are very favorable for outsourcing jobs in Pk.
    Firstly, the standard of IT education in Lahore has increased to a great extent. Take for example one of the top IT school…Lums..it had a intake of 160 in 1998..now it has increased the intake to 600 ppl..at the same time developing fascilities for students…then many other colleges were given UNIV status and 4 yr Bsc was introduced 4-5 yrs ago..it was 2 yrs previously. Then , at Fsc level(equivalent to Highschool), IT courses were inrtroduced.
    About corruption and economy…recently, Computerized ID cards were introduced..adds were given by the leading news pprs for those who tried to change their identities by applying for new ID cards…machine readable passports have begin to take place of old passports..online tax returns were introduced this yr..n the govt gave incentives for big firms to pay their taxes..adds appeared in news pprs for that. The new PM Shaukat Aziz..chalked down the annual budget for the last 4 yrs which were passed undisputedly…it not only increased the foreign reserve but also gave a boost to the banking sector.
    For setting up a company you can now get an easy loan from the banks..the site mentioned pseb.org not only has a listing of all the IT companies of pk , but they also have the latest IT update..they also give incentives for setting up a company if you have new ideas etc.
    Job mkt is getting better for IT ppl…u can visit pak-it jobs(groups.yahoo.com)…to have a first hand experience.
    In lhr, roads, buildings, and other infrastructure is being built at surprising time duration….so this is just the tip of the iceberg..I mean I dont want to make a pic of safe heaven for outsourcing jobs in pk…obviously there are problems..like any other country..but the growth rate is tremendous for those who believe in glass is half full theory:)

  • The article was very informative and it was not detailed but if points out toward something which is based on facts. Pakistan cant be ignored anymore as far as future of IT is concerned. Please visit the pages below,
    Association of Pakistani IT Firms
    http://www.pasha.org.pk/
    Pakistan Software Export Board
    http://www.pseb.org.pk/
    A few IT companys
    http://www.netsoltek.com
    http://www.lmkr.com
    http://www.d-p-s.com/
    http://www.kalsoft.com.pk/
    http://www.prosol.com.pk/
    People working with mobile technologies
    http://www.mmssdk.com/
    Process and work flow automation
    http://www.ultimus.com/
    Many Kinds Regards

  • This is a very nice and informative article about the other outsourcing possibility besides India. It would have been really beneficial if you would have listed the following info:
    1) Incentives and favorable policies offered by Pakistan Govt. for foreign IT investors.
    2) Size of existing IT market size and there achievements.
    3) Brief comparison of Pakistan IT market with other competing outsourcing markets
    Article is based on the assumption that the increase in IT taxes by Indian Govt. will increase the outsourcing opportunities for Pakistan which in my opinion can not be the single factor to consider Pakistan for IT outsourcing.
    If the above listed missing information was also mentioned in the article then it could have given the clearer picture about the potential in Pakistan IT market and reason to consider Pakistan AM ong other outsourcing competitors.

  • I was really surprised to read your article. I mean did you do your research well? Have you worked with karachites or people from punjab?
    Do you know that there is a complete break down of law and order, and justice system. Only if you know some one in the army, you should be able to get along well. Recently a turkish company was hoodwinked of millions of dollars, by a phoney karachite. Even Russia put a condition to pakistan government, it would not expand steal mills, unless the govt helps in the recovery of russian company credits stuck there. Punjab’s army is usurping every possible rights of national states. The situation is not much different as when East Pakistan, now bangladesh decided to opt for independence. Dude, you can do business over there, but please don’t recommend it to others…

  • Anthony Mitchell,
    Did you just pick up a check from Pakistani Embassy? I can’t believe you are allowed to write such a PR piece in the name of analysis. I AM from Pakistan and I have done business in Pakistan as well. I abandoned that country because of pure lack of integrity. We have all heard of corrupt government officials, telephone company managers extorting bribes, army officers harrasing to collect money, but the worst part is that civilian workers will steal your eyeballs.
    What will you write about next ‘Vitues of doing business in Nigeria’? How much did you get paid to write this piece? You must be really broke to pick up gigs like these. Find a real skill brother….

  • As an American doing business with an IT company in Lahore, Pakistan, I totally agree with Mr. Mitchell. It has been a very good experience so far. There have been no security problems. The costs of development here are very low and the quality of work is excellent.

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