Bahrain tower

25 September 2016 update: A first Pakistan-Bahrain Business Opportunities Conference to promote trade between two countries is being held in Manama today by Pakistan Embassy.

Pakistan is now world’s 40th largest economy

Bahrain’s King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa was recently on a visit to Pakistan. It was a first visit by a Bahrain king after 40 years.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa wrapped up his three-day March visit as the two countries signed eight agreements to enhance cooperation in areas of trade, economy, energy, food security, air services and manpower training.

So far so good.

But this post is less about King’s visit, and more about Bahrain the country. The side of Bahrain very few people know about.

When I first visited Bahrain a few years ago to set up Skill City there, I found out some interesting things.

Since then, I have encouraged Pakistani CEOs I coach to set up businesses there. Surprisingly, their immediate reaction has been: no. It’s not safe there.

When they say it’s not safe, they mention the ongoing Shia-Sunni clashes which are reported in media. And I am stunned. Why? Fewer people have been killed in an entire year than are people killed in target killing in Karachi in one bad day. So, if you can face the challenges in Karachi, take up some courage.

Bahrain has zero crime rate. If you forget your iPhone somewhere in a restaurant, chances are you can find it back there when you visit them.

Just like UAE, it’s impossible that a lone female who’s travelling/walking late at night can be harassed.

When I trained executives belonging to IT and was home-working, found out that Bahrain has the highest network-readiness score in entire GCC. Which means it’s a league apart in IT connectivity.

Bahrain talk

With organisers of Wali’s talk on ‘Future-Ready Leadership & Learning’. Talk available for download here.

Also: Leadership of Muhammad (SAW): Lessons for CEOs

Bahrain has eGovernment. Setting up a firm there is as easy as ABC. Not like Pakistan, where you can’t get even an NTN without greasing someone’s palm.

When I visited Bahrain International Hospital, found it out completely paperless. You just walk-in from reception to your consultant to your bed to pharmacy and when you arrive there, they know what to do with you without even speaking to you.

Bahrain has a Chest Clinic which serves you for free. If, God forbid, you get a heart attack or have a chest pain, you just need to show up at or brought to the clinic. No questions asked whether you are a resident or visitor. They will treat you up to any level of care – bypass, etc. Completely for free. I have yet to find out any other place in the world which can do this.

And finally, the currency. BD can get you a lot. When I was conducting a weeklong workshop called ‘Leading and Fast-forwarding a Million-Dollar Business’, someone remarked: I don’t like the word Dollar here. You should write Dinar.

Bahrain Brainstormers wali (1)

The NSSET in Bahrain where Wali has spoken.

Tailpiece: Bahrain is one of very few countries in GCC (along with UAE) which welcome you as a Pakistani. Since my first visit to Kuwait in 2008 to deliver leadership training there, my clients had significant difficulty in getting visas for me, and I could only go there on a few occasions when they got Royal intervention.

Otherwise, visas for Pakistanis are banned. And they remained banned in spite of the then Prime Minister Gillani’s visit to Kuwait to get visa ban removed.

Qatar too does not look kindly on us and we can only visit after a strict rigour of finding the right connection.

Saudi Arabia, although recently opening up, doesn’t make it easy on you to get business or visit visa.

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel

See also:

Pakistanis, Indians are now eligible to apply for Bahrain eVisas

Pakistanis to receive visa-on-arrival in Bahrain from January

Saudi Arabia is building the world’s tallest tower

Makkah to have world’s largest & tallest hotel

You may now perform Umrah in Muharram & Shawwal

Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Wali on The Pakistan 2050 Opportunity

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

What Pakistan needs is not education but a Project Ignorance

  • Jawwad Ahmad Qureshi

    Excellent feedback.
    Need contact details as am a permanent resident of Bahrain.

  • dr samina Jehangir Khan

    I have been in bahrain residing for now more then 3 years.i agree it is a lovely place and crime free. Pakistanis are very highly placed and respected as well. Job opertunity is very low.but still a nice place to be there.

  • Sheeraz Khan

    I would agree with you; as you know I have family in Bahrain too and it is a wonderful place for business. Not many people know that Bahrain was the financial hub of GCC countries for a long time and was known as the ‘Pearl of the Gulf’. It offers a great potential in the region.

  • Syed Shoaib

    Which kind of business can be started in Bahrain and around how much investment one should have?

  • Faisal Saleem

    Mr. Wali I had a great week with you during your Bahrain visit and I’m the one of lucky guy who attended your ‘Leading and Fast-forwarding a Million-Dollar Business’ workshop.

  • Saqib Janjua

    Hi Wali, How can you forget the visit to Gulf Hotel? One of the oldest, largest and finest 5 star Bahraini hotel!!!….Excellent Article…Keep it up

    • Wali Zahid

      Aj kal lifafa journalism chal rahi hai. aap rukhsat kartay waqt BD dena bhol gaye, pyare. aainda ihtiat lazim hai :p Haha.

      • Saqib Janjua

        LOL…..Hum Sirf 17 mumalik kay khanay offer kar saktay hain….Ap Agli dafa ain….aur Ayashi Patain hamray saath…