Pakistan - Country Commercial Guide
Establishing an Office

Includes steps involved in establishing a local office.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

A business in Pakistan may be organized as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or as a public or private limited company. Foreign investors generally establish limited companies as required under the Pakistan Companies Ordinance, 1984. They must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). Company registration offices are located in Islamabad, each of the provincial capitals and also Multan in Punjab province. The promoters of any proposed company must also obtain confirmation from the SECP that the proposed name of their company is not deceptive, inappropriate, nor identical to the name of an already existing company. A company making any public offer of securities for sale or intending to issue capital is required to obtain approval from the Controller of Central Depository Company (CDC). After registering and receiving approvals, firms should apply for necessary utilities through the following authorities:

Electric Power: The electricity power supply in Pakistan is supplied by different agencies, both in the public and private sectors. K-Electric is a private power distribution company that provides electric power only to the Karachi area. In addition, 10 state-owned distribution companies provide power to Islamabad, Rawalpindi and other provincial regions.
Natural Gas: Two state-owned utility firms - Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (for Sindh and Balochistan provinces) – provide gas distribution service.

Fixed line telephone and Fax services: The Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) has sole responsibility for providing fixed-line telecommunication services in the country.
Cellular telephone services are provided by the following companies: Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, and Zong (China Mobile Company).

Internet and Broadband: Following are some of the leading service providers: PTCL, Nayatel, WorldCall, Qubee, Link Dot Net, Wateen, WiTribe and Comsats. In early 2014, the Government of Pakistan auctioned 3G network licenses to Mobilink, Ufone, and Telenor and a 3G/4G license to Zong. Blackberry services are available in Pakistan through Mobilink and Ufone.
Water: Local government municipal authorities.

All manufacturing concerns employing more than 10 persons are required to register with the appropriate provincial Chief Inspector of Industries under the Factories Ordinance, 1984. Companies are also required to register with the Income Tax Department of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and obtain a National Tax Number (NTN).

Within 30 days of establishment, foreign companies must file the following documents with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, Ministry of Finance, Islamabad:
A certified copy of the charter, statutes, or memorandum, and articles of association of the company;

  • The full address of the registered or principal overseas office of the company;
  • The names of the chief executive and directors of the company;
  • The names and addresses of persons resident in Pakistan who are authorized to accept any legal notice served on the company.

A company making any public offer of securities or capital (Initial Public Offiering) is required to obtain approval from the Central Depository Company (CDC). U.S. firms may find it advantageous to use the services of a local attorney to complying with these formalities.

Contact details and information regarding forming a company and Initial Public Offering (IPO) for securities in Pakistan may be obtained from the following organizations:
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan
Pakistan Board of Investment
Central Depository Company Limited