To make Pakistan strong, the business community has to be strengthened – PM Raja Pervez Ashraf

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enewspaper.com.pk
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Mr, Siraj Kassam Teli, is seen presenting souvenir to Honourable Raja Pervez Ashraf, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, at a meeting. Syed Naveed Qamar Federal Minister for Defence, Mr. Ali Arshad Hakeem, Chairman, FBR, Mr. Tahir Khaliq, Mr. M. Zubair Motiwala, are also seen in the picture.

KARACHI (PR): Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf visited Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry accompanied by cabinet ministers: Makhdoom Amin Faheem Commerce Minister, Abbas Khan Afridi Minister of State for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar Minister for Defence, Syed Khursheed Shah Minister for Religious Affairs, Qamar Zaman Qaira Minister for Information & Broadcast, Moula Bukhsh Chandio Minister for Political Affairs, Saleem H. Mandviwalla Minister of State for Finance, Dr Asim Hussain Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum & Natural Resources. Siraj Kassam Teli Chairman Businessmen Group along with Vice Chairmen BMG & former Presidents Tahir Khaliq, Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki, Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Haroon Agar, Sr Vice President Shamim Firpo, Vice President Nasir Mehmood, Managing Committee Members of KCCI & BMGians gave a warm welcome to Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers. 

Siraj Kassam Teli Chairman Businessmen Group, speaking on this occasion, congratulated the Prime Minister and the Government on completion of their 5-years term and their achievements during tenure. He apprised the Prime Minister that Karachi Chamber and Businessmen Group represent over 85% of the Karachi’s Business & Industrial Community, Businessmen Group was formed in 1998 and have since continuously won all the 15 elections with increasing support and the last six being unopposed is an endorsement of our policies of representing Karachi with a motto of public service. He said, “Karachi contributes over 68% to the Government Exchequer and is a business and industrial hub from where the economy of the country flows, some people say, Karachi is mini Pakistan but I always say that Karachi is Pakistan. We are staunch supporters of democracy and any change through the democratic process will always be welcomed.” He informed that KCCI’s business delegation led by him was the first business delegation which met the President Zardari on 27th February, 2008. He said that irrespective of problems democracy should continue as democratically elected persons are easily approachable. He highlighted the precarious law and order situation of Karachi and stated that if all stakeholders of Karachi sit together and find solution with honesty, the law and order situation will improve in 2 hours. When Karachi faces unrest, the whole economy and the country suffers. He requested the Prime Minister to chair a meeting on law on order situation of Karachi and invite Governor and Chief Minister Sindh along with heads of law enforcing agencies, KCCI and all stakeholders to address the burning issue because this is a matter of life and death of Karachiites and it is the foremost responsibility of the state to provide security to the life and property of its citizens. He said, “We are constantly agitating against it with the Governor of Sindh and Chief Minister of Sindh along with all the law enforcing agencies but it is getting from bad to worse on daily basis.” He further apprised the Prime Minister that over 80% of crimes take place using mobile phones, it was requested time and again to shut down prepaid SIMs for re-authentication and activated after receipt at postal address by genuine subscribers. He said, “We do not understand whether our lives more important or the businesses of these mobile companies.” He said that Karachi’s Business & Industrial Community already facing many problems have a new threat from the state run agencies of locking up of industrialist in an accident case where the PPC 302 could not have been applied. Misuse of state power is enough to scare away new investment and the existing business & industrial community. This matter needs to be resolved immediately as we have discussed this matter with the Chief Minister and the Governor along with IG Police, it is the duty of the state to rectify this FIR and replace with such PPC which are justifiable. 

Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment highlighted that the SBI was striving to bring foreign direct investment in various projects in Sindh. He emphasized on the need to rectify Pakistan’s negative perception abroad and hire lobbyists to do so. He gave a presentation on opportunities for investment available in Sindh particularly Thar Coal, Wind energy and other areas. He lamented that in spite of directives by Prime Minister the off-take agreement was not signed by the concerned Ministry for the sovereign guarantee to companies engaged in Thar coal. 

Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar in his welcome address articulated that the business community is committed to the process of democracy and assure Prime Minister and all Political Leaders that we would support all policies that would positively take us in an era of prosperity. This is possible if all stakeholders are consulted and steps are taken in the right direction. After all, it is Pakistan that matters to all of us. He stated that in-spite of deteriorating law and order situation, severe infrastructure shortcomings, and sluggish macro-economic indicators, the business community of Karachi was fighting to provide employment, to earn foreign exchange, to maintain industrial peace, and invite more investment. He demanded that the government should provide us protection of life and property which is the prime responsibility of any government. He highlighted core problems confronted to Karachi’s business community viz. rampant criminal activities like bhatta, kidnapping for ransom, target killing, hijacking of vehicles loaded with goods, other street crime which has shaken the confidence of the business community. The law and order problems in Karachi require a political solution as well as strong support from the judiciary and all law-enforcing agencies, he voiced. He demanded energy solution on war-footing and exploitation of Thar coal for energy with conversion of all new electricity generation plants on Thar coal. Ensure supply of gas to industries of Karachi and Sindh as per required pressure and quantum and in the light of Article 158 of the Constitution. FBR to implement decisions on fast track and to achieve its tax collection targets must not penalize current tax-payers and must broaden its tax net. He also urged to promote regional trade, particularly with India and open the Khokrapar-Monabao border in Sindh on the lines of Waggah-Attari border and establish integrated check posts having provisions of all necessary facilities. He also requested the Prime Minister to allocate plot for KCCI’s new modern building. He stated that fire incidence at factory in SITE was worst industrial tragedy in the history of Pakistan. He appealed that fire outbreak was an accident but owners were charged as murderers under section PPC 302 by Police which may please be converted to case of accident not murder so that the owner who were behind bars can restart the unit and reemploy the workers and resume their export business activities. 

Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf addressing the Leadership, President/Office Bearers and members of KCCI stated that the business and industrial community of Karachi contributes largest chunk of revenue in the national exchequer and holds a distinction in Pakistan as well as the region. He stated that the KCCI is the role model and trendsetter of the business community. He said that the businesspersons are chosen one by God to provide employment. To make Pakistan strong, the business community has to be strengthened, he maintained. He ordered the Chief Secretary Sindh to revisit the case of factory fire incident as an accident and rectify the charges under proper sections of Pakistan Penal Code referring accident instead of PPC-302. For prosperous Pakistan, he emphasized on the collective efforts by all the segments of the society. He said that the Parliament is the mother of all institution and strengthening the democracy is essential to make the parliament and institutions strong. While highlighting some achievements of the government, he said that many challenges were converted to opportunities by the Government as the forex reserves and exports increased, inflation reduced to single digit. He stated that energy crises was due to demand and supply gap. Electricity was also provided to villages. To produce energy, work on Jhelum-Neelum, Diamir Bhasha and Thar Coal was in progress. He stated that Judiciary was playing its role and media was free and strong democracy will prevail in the days to come. Provinces have been empowered with transfer of Rs 1000 Billion, he stated. 

Commerce Secretary Munir Qureshi, Chairman FBR Ali Arshad Hakim, Chief Secretary Sindh Raja Abbas, government officials and a larger gathering comprising of members of KCCI and the business and industrial community of Karachi were present on this occasion.