10 minutes with ROBERT GIBSON – British Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan


1. How has the Pakistani experience been for you?
You’re not the first person to have asked me this in the last few weeks! Well, it’s been a wonderful experience so far and I’m saying goodbye to this amazing place with a heavy heart. I’m sure I will continue to come back here in the future.

2. Things you’ve grown to love about Pakistan?
The people, definitely! When I first came down here I had no idea the people would be so incredibly welcoming. I’ve made so many good friends in Pakistan and I will miss them all a lot.

3. And what do you absolutely despise about the life here?
The fact that I have to eat so much! I’ve gained a few extra pounds since I first came to Karachi. And it’s all such delicious food that I can’t really help it either!

4. You must have picked up on a few Urdu words over the last three years?
None at all! I’ve learned nothing, not even curse words! You can call me whatever you want to my face and I just won’t know!

5. Any Karachi-specific guilty pleasures you’ve developed while living here? How do you unwind?
Well, there really isn’t much time for me to unwind. However, I do like to play the piano sometimes and I’ve been lucky enough to have had one in this house. I also quite enjoy going out for a drive in the city and shopping in Saddar and the Sunday bazaar. That’s always a fun experience.

6. After spending three years in this vibrant city, what will you miss most about life here?
Apart from the people, I think I’m really going to miss this beautiful house (the Acton House). It’s a pleasure coming back here after a long day of work.

7. Any Pakistani fashion labels that you’ve grown to like?
Not really. I’m sure you can tell I’m not a very fashionable man!

8. Any “unfinished businesses” as you get ready to leave?
There are so many things I wish I had done and learned while I still had the time. I would have loved to travel more. Pakistan is a culturally rich, beautiful country and it’s a pity I didn’t get a chance to see it all properly. I’m definitely going to find time and come back again for that purpose alone.

9. I promised myself I wasn’t going to bring up politics today, but I can help but ask you this: Who is your favourite Pakistani politician?
Ah, this is a difficult one! Well…if I had to choose someone I would go with Nasreen Jalil. She’s an incredible woman who I not only admire because I recently found out that she’s one of Pakistan’s first female commercial pilots, but because she has a vibrant personality and I’ve literally learnt something new about her every time we’ve met. She’s been a good friend to me.

10. Being the UKTI (United Kingdom Trade & Investment) Director, what kind of potential do you see in today’s Pakistan for UK investors?
I have a lot of confidence in the Pakistani economy despite the prevalent corruption and security threats. There has been a tremendous amount of interest from British companies in the Pakistani market and I encourage them to look at the long term potential of their investments rather than being put off by the current situation.

11. What, in your opinion, do Pakistani’s need to do to pull their act together?
Education, I think, is the one thing that can save a nation, and Pakistan needs to take serious measures to start investing in its youth.