By Javed Ansari
WHEN Gary LeClair and Mike Mulvihill visited the fish harbour in Karachi, they opened the car window to smell the breeze outside. This was the signature they were looking for as an authentic token of the reality of the place rather than a protected look through a closed glass window. Gary LeClair, Mike Mulvihill and their wives were in Karachi recently to attend the wedding of the son of their friend and business associate, Owais Dagra.
During their 10-day stint they were taken across Karachi and its environs by their hosts, thus getting the opportunity to meet a lot of people from all walks of life. They met bankers and stock exchange executives, the owner of a fishing trawler, textile mill workers and metal crafters, high officials at Sui Sothern Gas Company, doctors at the Aga Khan University Hospital and worshippers at a mosque.
Gary D. LeClair is the founder and Chairman of the national law firm LeClair Ryan which provides securities and general counsel services through some 350 lawyers based in cities all the way from New York to Los Angeles.
He has been the lead attorney in private and public financings, joint ventures, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions and other major domestic and international transactions. He has also served as director of various business entities, including a bank, an independent trust company, a residential developer, an e-commerce business and a retail network.
Although avid global-trotters, this was the first time that the LeClairs were visiting any part of South Asia. After he and his friends arrived in Karachi and experienced the country and the people from close, they found everything to be so different – there were so many positives about Pakistan they never knew about.
Gary says Pakistan is like any other young and growing country with the added advantages of a common law that it has inherited from the British, the English language which is the means of official and business communication and a high number of very well-educated professionals.
He is also impressed by the downright kindness of the Pakistani people. In his view, Pakistan should aggressively promote everything good about itself – like its diversity in food, the warmth of its people, its long and beautiful coastline, its vibrant fashion industry and the freedom of the press. This would be an answer to the negative picture of Pakistan that the international media tends to paint. In his view, Pakistan should prove to be an attractive destination for foreign investment because the people are hard working and also kind and respectful.
He met a wide cross-section during his stay in the country and they all came across as people of dynamism and vitality who had a positive attitude towards everything.
What added to this was the country’s intellectual capital – all those Pakistanis who have received education and training abroad.
As such, Gary feels that Pakistan must focus on its positives and take advantage of the many opportunities it has in terms of its young population and its countless attractions in every walk of life.