07 January, 2011

First ‘Gem Bazar’ in Islamabad

Pakistan can earn Billions through Gem exports

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is home to rare gemstones and minerals that can earn billions of dollars for country if properly exploited and marketed. However, this gem paradise has been unfortunate to receive due attention of the concerned authorities.

Inaugurating the Islamabad’s first ever ‘Gem Bazar’ on Thursday, Minister for Industries and Production, Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani noted that “Pakistan’s gems and jewellery sector has huge potential to become regional leader by adopting modern techniques and methodologies.” The Minister boasted “Pakistan is blessed with immense resources especially minerals and precious stones. It is up to us to put in our best efforts to convert the potential into tangible gains to benefit the country and economy.”

Acknowledging the huge potential of the industry, Minster promised “to increase the revenues of gem and stones industry from $300 million to $1.5 billion in the next three years.”
However, Ateeq Sheikh Vice-President of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry pointed out that the plan of our government is limited, as “India is planning to expand gem industry to earn up to $100 billion in next few years.”

“Pakistan is home to more than 270 varieties of precious stones” highlighted Ateeq. Comparing the gem industries of Pakistan and India, he said “India earns up to $26 billion as foreign exchange by importing only 3 kinds of stones while Pakistan manages to earn $300 million despite of having more than 270 kinds of stones.”

As the demand of gemstones is growing rapidly in international markets, there is a need to exploit natural reserves in order to create a substantial international market for the Pakistani gems and jewellery industry. This concern was expressed by the majority of exhibitors at the gem exhibition.

Organized by Pakistan Gems and Jewellery Development Company (PGJDC), the gem exhibition was an effort to support the economy of the country besides highlighting the importance for the benefit of the gems industry.

Bashir Ahmed Abbasi, CEO of PGJDC informed that “the exhibition has helped showcase the best of Pakistani gems and jewellery under one roof. The exhibitors have displayed their products including precious stones which are the hallmark of Pakistan’s rich mineral resources and cultural heritage.”

Around 125 exhibitors including dealers, distributors, exporters and retailers from across the country are participating in the two-day exhibition with the aim of promoting Pakistani gems.
Stalls comprising of dazzling gems, glinting stones and gorgeous jewellery were divided into sections named Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Pakistan is blessed with vast natural reserves of precious and semi precious coloured gemstones, including ruby, emerald, tourmaline, garnet, topaz, aquamarine, spinel, moonstone, epidote, pink & purple beryl, sphene, zoisite, turquoise, kunzite and all known varieties of quartz.

An exhibitor from Peshawar, Haq Nawaz believed that “Pakistan has the potential to become one of the biggest gem markets of Asia but lesser technology and negligence of authorities hamper our progress.”

Saleem Jahangir, an exhibitor said “The purpose of this display is to introduce gem industry of Pakistan to the locals as these gems are valued by foreigners only.”