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Pakistan to send up to 50,000 workers to Libya

By Salman Siddiqui

KARACHI: Ambassador of Pakistan to Libya, Jamil Ahmed Khan, has said that around 30-50 thousand skilled and semi-skilled labourers would be sent from Pakistan to Libya by the end of the current calendar year.

He was briefing a group of journalists here the other day in the backdrop of President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent visit to Libya. “This was the first official visit from any president to Libya since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government ended,” he said.

At present, some 12,000 Pakistani employees are working in Libya, out of which 25 are rendering their services at top managerial posts, Khan said in reply to a question.

In 1974, around 0.15 million Pakistanis were working in Libya. However, relationship between the two countries cooled, as the Libyan head of state Colonel Moammar Gaddafi did not support the “governments of two dictators in Pakistan after the end of Bhutto’s government.”

Since President Zardari was a symbol of democracy the relationship between Pakistan and Libya was moving fast on the path of normalisation, he said.

In reply to a query, Khan said that cross-investment between the two counties would amount to $2 billion in the next two years, while Libya has shown interest to invest in the windmill sector.

The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) of the two countries would meet at the end of July this year. It would also discuss the feasibility study of the windmill project. “This study would probably be conducted between July and September,” he said.

Some 300 companies from across the world, mostly from China, India and the West, have arrived in Libya and are exploiting investment opportunities, he said, adding that most of these companies were investing in energy and infrastructure development.

“Libya (also) has great potential in sectors like textile, agriculture (dairy), construction, and plastic goods,” he explained.

He told that Pak-Libya Holding Company would open a bank in Libya very soon, adding that Pakistan can greatly help Libya in the development of its banking system, as the Libyan banking system was still passing though its infantry period.

Libya has allocated about $100 billion to be invested in various projects during the next five years. Moreover, it holds sovereign liquidity of $200 billion, he disclosed.

Ambassador of Pakistan to Libya further said that Pakistan International Airline (PIA) would review its decision of resuming its flights to Libya, and in case it does not find flights profitable, then the government of Pakistan would ask private airlines to exploit the available opportunity.

“Therefore, hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Philippines working in Libya would use our airline services if PIA or any other airline resume flights, as I have already talked to concerned officials in China in this regard,” he added.

Pakistan would also hold a single country exhibition in Libya in September and would participate in its Revolutionary Day and cultural shows, he further told the media.

During President Zardari’s visit, the two countries signed six MoUs and one agreement, ie, Extradition Treaty.

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