Elections euphoria is over. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI) faces daunting challenges and Imran Khan ascended to the throne of a nation suffering, a nation that deserved their promised land a long time ago. As highlighted by IK’s maiden speech almost half of the children in Pakistan are malnourished and focus must be shifted from infrastructure to human development. But guess what, we don’t have any money and we have to pay $9.3b in external debt servicing when we have dwindling reserves around $10.0b.So that means a cash strapped economy with a huge trade deficit and rampant corruption is all set to kneel down before the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and ask for the thirteenth IMF bailout since the late 1980s. Can we turn this around? Anyone can think outside the box; Sukuk, bonds, shares; all technical and practical but as a foreign investor will they trust that a different anti-Imran government in 2023 or 2028will deliver the same dividendson their investments? Trade shows by Ishaq Dar in their last stint, had similar issues and only a few knew who was actually buying these bonds at a staggering return rate of 8-10 percent? Even from an a-political point of view, we have consistently borrowed money, mostly to pay back our piling debt. The question is whether our new Finance Minister, Asad Umer can deliver and raise the required capital? Moreover can he do it in a manner that does not shift focus from Imran’s anti-corruption agenda? Especially since PTI claims that there are $200 billion stashed abroad? PTI is not just speaking of the money laundered Swiss accounts; they are also referring to the overseas Pakistani; approximately seven million Pakistanis living abroad. Just because they are living in a different country does not deter their patriotic Pakistani spirit from wanting to improve their home land. So how can these expatriates help us then? How about a simple non-technical investment model, through which the overseas can easily opt into providing them with full accountability in return? The dejected overseas have a burning desire to help Pakistan but the vested interests of politicians, bureaucratic hurdles, lawlessness and an abysmal performance of overseas embassies to market Pakistan as a brand serve as obstacles There could be a Pakistan Investment Portal through which the expatriates could invest. Anyone with a NICOP should be able to invest in their country of residence through a web portal with a promised return on their investments starting after one year. The minimum investment must be in local currency, for five years and should be above the one thousand mark. Also, the return on the investment must be double than the local interest rates (around 10 percent). This way they can transcend their nationalism and profit from a genuine investment opportunity. The investment could be tax free for the first year and only to be taxed at 2 percent, of the capital subsequently. Pakistani embassies around the world can be made responsible for receiving the funds and transferring them to Pakistan; with full transparency. Embassies should also incorporate local financial regulations so all stakeholders are managed competently. The investor may opt to invest in public entities ranging from PIA, Steel Mills, and Railways to building dams as well as in other government ventures like IT Incubation Centers, Vocational Training Institute and Technical Education Boards. Now just imagine the seven million living abroad and if only a million run for this, we are talking about at least a billion dollars added to economy. The modus operandi can be mixed and matched by treating Pakistan as a start-up rather than a traditional business venture so the eco system can be iterated in different phases. However the sole objective should underline three points; firstly to raise money, secondly to account for each penny with transperancy and finally to invest the money which will yield atleast ten percent return. The worst case scenario is that we fail but so what? The state can still pay back the 10 percent on the raised investment as it is still better paying back your countrymen rather than debt servicing institutions such as the IMF. Pakistan must project itself as a brand that has the potential to be a global turnaround story. Just look at Pakistan’s contribution to the digital economy and Information Technology that stands at $11.5 trillion with a share of 15.5 percent in the global GDP, is only around $3.5 billion with its share of 1 percent in Pakistan’s GDP. We know, our security issues and political instability increases the perceived risk for foreign investors but it also in turn can cause Pakistan to look for overseas Pakistanis who can build indigenous networks, and replicate models that have worked in their adopted countries. The dejected overseas have a burning desire to help Pakistan but the vested interests of politicians, bureaucratic hurdles; lawlessness and an abysmal performance of overseas embassies to market Pakistan as a brand serve as obstacles. The macro indicators and demographics are very strong and above all we are undervalued and from an investor’s point of view, that is the best thing. So Mr. Umer, it’s time we try something outside the box, we try to trust the expatriates, we try to return on what we promise and we try to build a Pakistan with the help of venture capitalist instead of capitalists. I can only humbly propose and hope that we embrace this opportunity before it’s too late, again. Tehsin Haider Zaidi is a freelance contributor based in the UK. Published in Daily Times, August 25th 2018.