Islamabad: Violent breakdowns of law and order, like the one Friday over the anti-Islam film protest, "do not project a very positive image of Pakistan to the foreign investor" and impact the economy, said a leading daily.
On Friday, bloody clashes across the country left 23 people dead and 200 wounded following fierce protests over the anti-Islam film that has also triggered world-wide demonstrations.
An editorial in the Dawn said: "Though it may be too early to get solid figures for the losses accrued nationally due to Friday`s mob violence in the country, the ballpark estimates are cause for concern."
"In Karachi alone, according to the president of the city`s chamber of commerce, trade and production losses hovered around the Rs.14 billion mark for the day. Losses due to widespread arson and looting are separate from this figure," it said.
"...If this is the estimate for Karachi, the cumulative nationwide losses due to the violence can only be imagined. Apart from the business shutdown, banks, cinemas and fast-food outlets were all ransacked as mobs rampaged across many of Pakistan`s cities unhindered," it added.
The daily said that "such violent breakdowns of law and order do not project a very positive image of Pakistan to the foreign investor, while the recent scenes witnessed also shake the confidence of local businessmen".
"In the current global economic climate, the country cannot afford such negative publicity. As it is there is an international liquidity crunch as national economies deal with recession. Data from the current financial year shows that foreign direct investment is down in Pakistan, while FDI also fell considerably last year," it added.
The editorial cautioned that with the global economy so volatile, "violence and insecurity here will only scare away those who may want to invest in Pakistan - foreign investors move in after seeing domestic investors put money in the market".
"Ultimately, there is a strong link between the maintenance of law and order and economic stability."