Pakistan has the potential to lift its annual gemstone exports to $32 billion for strengthening the country’s economy, said Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Chairman Qurban Ali.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said gemstone exporters must go for innovation and adopt modern technology to enhance the value of precious and semi-precious stones in order to enhance competitiveness in the international market.

“Pakistan is home to precious and semi-precious stones and to tap the complete potential, we need to establish a technology and innovation-driven industry to attract foreign investors from the European Union and United States,” he said.

He was of the view that the setting up of gem testing labs was the need of the hour to promote Pakistan’s industry in the international arena.

The official said that the chamber would involve the government in initiating the construction of gem testing laboratories in major cities of Pakistan.

Ali said that precious stones were mainly found in nearly inaccessible territories of hilly regions in the south and north of Pakistan. “Most extensive ruby deposits are located in the Hunza valley of Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.

He pointed out that after Burma, Hunza was the only other region in the world that had deposits of blood red ruby. He added that some of the finest emeralds in the world were being mined in the picturesque valley of Swat.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2021.

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