A BBC Story.

On 2 May 2011, Barack Obama announced that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan.

He was shot dead at a compound near the capital, Islamabad. And once again, Pakistan was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A country used to bad news – both politically and economically – it has long been seen as the basket case economy of South Asia because of its slumping foreign reserves, weak currency and lack of foreign direct investment.

It was probably one of the last places on Earth that a foreign investor would think to put their money. But not Mattias Martinsson. Six months later, in October 2011, he launched Pakistan’s first ever foreign equity fund. In the beginning he couldn’t get anyone to back the fund, so he invested $1m (£780,000) of his own cash and that of his partners. Today, that fund is worth $100m.

“It was a tough sell at the time,” chuckles the soft-spoken Swede on the phone from Stockholm. That’s an understatement. At one point – soon after the Bin Laden killing – things got so bad that furious investors stoned the exchange because of the falling share prices.

Still, despite major setbacks like the killing of Osama Bin Laden and former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, the KSE has continued to rise and in fact this year has out-performed other regional indices making it one of Asia’s best performing.

“There is a general impression that the last 20 years have been a disaster in Pakistan,” Mr Martinsson tells me.

“But this is one of the best equity markets in the world. This was always a good investment story. You just have to be brave and take the risk.”

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