KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and Former President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Siraj Kassam Teli, while strongly criticizing the passage of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Bill 2015 by the Senate, urged the business and industrial community of Karachi, particularly the textile sector, to lead the protest and come out on streets against this anti-business move of the government.
Siraj Teli was speaking at a densely attended dinner reception hosted at PAF Convention Center by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Businessmen Group (BMG) to mark 18 years of Public Service of Businessmen Group from KCCI’s platform.
Vice Chairmen BMG, Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Former Presidents KCCI AQ Khalil, M. Haroon Bari, Khalid Firoz, Majyd Aziz, Muhammad Saeed Shafiq, Mian Abrar Ahmed, Abdullah Zaki and KCCI Managing Committee were also present on the occasion.BMG Chairman Siraj Teli cautioned the entire business and industrial community that tough time was just ahead so the entire business community must be ready to face the consequences of the anti-business and negative policies of the government towards the business community of Karachi only whereas the rest of the country remains exempted from such policies.
Criticizing the approach of the present government, Siraj Teli said that it was neither a business friendly nor a Karachi-friendly government as Karachi was constantly being victimized through discretionary powers to various departments. “Despite contributing more than 65 to 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer, Karachi city is constantly being mistreated. If Karachi stops contributing, the government will not be able to meet its expenditure. Some people say Karachi city is mini Pakistan and business and industrial hub but I always say and believe that Karachi is Pakistan and without Karachi there is no Pakistan”, he added.
Commenting on water shortages being suffered by Karachi, Siraj Teli said that a false impression about water shortages were being issued as there was no shortage of water. Karachi receives around 700 to 800 million gallons per day but they falsely claim to have been receiving 500 MGD only. He was of the view that an artificial water shortage was deliberately being created with a view to financially benefit from the situation by supplying water through tankers at exorbitant rates instead of supplying the same via pipelines in which Politicians, Water Board and the Bureaucracy were involved. He urged the business community to speak the truth and jointly raise voice for resolving numerous problems being suffered by the citizens of Karachi.
Siraj Teli further said that KCCI never supported any strikes or lockdowns but there were some illegal trade bodies, industrial alliances, business councils and forums who have been supporting strike calls and unfortunately, the media also highlights them by immediately broadcasting their TV tickers. In this regard, he requested the media to act responsibly and discourage such illegal trade bodies who give irresponsible statements. Karachi Chamber is the only legal body of the city of Karachi while seven industrial town associations, who have territorial responsibilities, are also affiliated with this chamber so the media should only entertain those legal trade bodies which are registered with Ministry of Commerce.
Highlighting the journey of Businessmen Group since 1998, Siraj Teli stated that due to clear policy of Public Service and implementation of transparent policies, KCCI has succeeded in restoring the confidence of the entire business community and today’s immense participation of thousands of supporters to celebrate 18 years of BMG’s success is a testimony of our commitment and truthfulness towards resolving the issues being faced by the business community of Karachi.
BMG Chairman said that KCCI has become more organized and has succeeded in regaining the confidence of local businessmen, traders and industrialists who were being looted by a certain mafia prior to BMG’s arrival. BMG has been consecutively winning KCCI elections since 1998 and has not lost a single seat during the past 18 years.
“Businessmen Group or Karachi Chamber, which represent over 90 percent of the Business & Industrial Community of Karachi for the last 18 years, have no political affiliations as a Group or as an institution but individually some of our members may have”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Zubair Motiwala said that implementation of GIDC Bill 2015 will raise gas prices by 35 percent, which will create serious problems for many industrial units, enhance unemployment and make Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international markets.
On the occasion, Vice Chairman BMG Haroon Farooki, while appreciating the initiatives taken by BMG Chairman, opined that thanks to BMG’s clear and transparent policies, they have succeeded in getting rid of all back doors and other malpractices at KCCI prior to BMG’s arrival. Commenting on GIDC Bill 2015, he said that it has left no other option for the business and industrial community of Karachi but to either shutdown their businesses or come out on streets to protest against this anti-business move. “It is high time that we all must unite otherwise the government will continue to squeeze the business community of Karachi”, he added.Vice Chairman BMG, Anjum Nisar, while expressing deep concerns over passing of GIDC Bill 2015, urged the government that instead of taking such negative steps, the government should focus on improving the overall infrastructure of city and ensure uninterrupted gas, water and electricity supply to industries at competitive rates so that they could efficiently compete in the international markets. He also stressed the need to give due share to Karachi according to its contribution to the national exchequer.
Earlier, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, in his welcome remarks, said that 18 years of BMG success at KCCI and the unopposed victories during the past 8 years clearly depict the trust and confidence of the entire business community of Karachi over the transparent policies of Businessmen Group under the leadership of Siraj Teli. “All BMGians at KCCI have been dedicatedly discharging their services under the slogan of “Public Service” and the office bearers are strictly directed to listen to and resolve the genuine issues of any businessman or industrialist who climbs KCCI’s stairs for assistance”, he added.
Former President KCCI Abdullah Zaki pointed out that KCCI office bearers have been trying very hard and have remained very successful in earning nationwide and global recognition for Karachi Chamber.