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Pakistan

300 Developers |2 Certified Partners |High Software Outsourcing Readiness

Overview

Pakistan may not be at the top of your list for outsourcing software development, but the government and several trade associations are working hard to change that. IT has been singled out as a “vital organ” of the national economy, with initiatives to encourage investment including a 15-year tax exemption on software exports.

Despite the country grappling with a host of economic and political challenges, Pakistan’s IT sector has nearly doubled over the past five years, surpassing all other local service industries, including textiles. Excellent talent can be found here, at much lower rates than in India. However, you must be able to tolerate the risk of political disruption and have the ability to manage outsourcing engagements without visiting your programming team.

Talent Pool & Education

Pakistani engineers can handle most programming projects, especially those using standard technology stacks of .NET and Java. Government initiatives include the Kamyab Jawan scheme, which offers jobs portals and business loans, and Punjab’s Parwaaz programme, which partners with the private sector to upskill youth.

Growth in IT exports was sluggish in 2023, falling short of expectations. However, an annual target of $10 billion has been unveiled in an ambitious roadmap for the tech and telecommunication sectors. Among its wide-ranging proposals are co-working facilities for 500,000 freelance workers, utilizing venture capital to raise investments for startups and forward-looking taxation policies. How those aspirations play out in an uncertain political and economic landscape remains to be seen.

Language

After independence from the British Empire, Pakistan maintained English as an official language alongside Urdu. It remains widely spoken and is the main language of technology and international business. College and university courses are typically taught in English and the country has a large English language media industry.

Economic Outlook

Pakistan’s strong post-pandemic recovery came to a halt in 2023 due to a series of internal and external economic shocks, including global monetary tightening, domestic political uncertainty and catastrophic flooding. Private consumption also shrank due to weakened labor markets and surging inflation. However a nine-month loan package from the International Monetary Fund is helping to stave off a default on debt, and marginal easing of import restrictions is expected to support some recovery in the industrial sector. Economic activity in Pakistan has stabilized, the IMF reports, with tentative signs of activity picking-up and external pressures easing, although the outlook remains challenging. A 2% growth rate is forecast for 2024. 

Political Conditions

Political stability is tenuous in Pakistan. Despite widespread discontent with the government's austerity measures, victory in the February 2024 election is predicted for the ruling coalition, led by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, with help from the military. The crackdown and censure on the main opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by Imran Khan, has led to expectations of little real challenge to Sharif’s hold on power. Looking ahead, China is likely to remain a major strategic and financial ally, while relations with India continue to be strained.