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PR-/01
 Muharram 7, 1438 A.H.
September 28, 2017

56th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President Karachi Chamber Siraj Kassam Teli, while agreeing to Vice Chairman BMG Haroon Farooki’s suggestion to pass a strong resolution against Finance Minister, said that the House must adopt the resolution in which KCCI should demand immediate resignation of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as he has been indicted in a corruption case and is purely responsible for creating the economic mess.“The entire world is laughing at us as the sitting Finance Minister has been indicted in a corruption case therefore, Ishaq Dar must immediately step down at least for the time being till the case is decided”, Siraj Teli said, “Although the AGM has vehemently seconded and adopted Haroon Farooki’s suggestion to pass the resolution but another important item must also be inserted in this resolution in which we must add that the economic mess was not solely because of Ishaq Dar but all the Chambers and Trade Bodies including FPCCI except KCCI are equally responsible for the disastrous situation as they continued to cheer Ishaq Dar for his anti-business policies and never missed a single opportunity to present hails to the presence during the last four years, except this year when some of them started criticism.Speaking at the 56th Annual General Meeting, Chairman BMG stated that it was really unfortunate that 90 percent of the Chambers and trade bodies including FPCCI except Karachi Chamber are marred with those elements who are habitual of presenting hails to the presence despite all odds but the Karachi Chamber is the only Chamber which always spoke the truth throughout all these years and strongly raised voice against the anti-business policies of the government.Vice Chairmen BMG & Former Presidents KCCI Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki and Anjum Nisar, newly elected President Muffasar Atta Malik, newly elected Senior Vice President Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, newly elected Vice President Rehan Hanif, retiring President Shamim Ahmed Firpo, retiring Senior Vice President Asif Nisar, retiring Vice President Muhammad Younus Soomro, Former Presidents AQ Khalil, Mian Abrar, Haroon Agar, Abdullah Zaki, Younus Muhammad Bashir, KCCI Managing Committee members and a big number of General Body Members attended the meeting.Chairman BMG said, “Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who once visited KCCI some four years ago, stayed away from the Chamber as the Karachi Chamber asks questions and only speaks the truth, instead of presenting hails to the presence. During all these years, Ishaq Dar publically said that he will never visit KCCI as they ask too many questions and I am not answerable to them”, he added.Commenting on CPEC project, Siraj Teli opined that this project was unlikely to create a win-win situation as it was commercially viable only for China whereas Pakistan will benefit in terms of infrastructure development only. He commented that Pakistan’s textile sector was likely to suffer a lot of damages because the CPEC was being connected to Xinjiang province where they plan to establish a huge textile zone in the next 10 years, which is five times bigger than Pakistan’s textile sector, posing severe threat to the future of Pakistan’s textile industry. Highlighting the journey of Businessmen Group since 1998 when the Group contested in Chamber’s election for the very first, Siraj Teli stated that BMG has been winning all the elections without losing a single seat despite stiff competition in the elections during the initial 9 years in which more than 50 percent voters’ turnout was usually witnessed. The elections held during the last 11 consecutive years were unanimously won by the BMGIANs as not a single member, out of a total of 22,000 members, comes forward to contest in the elections, thanks to the overwhelming support, trust and confidence of the entire business and industrial community.“During all these years, we strived really hard with all our sincerity and honesty to do something good for the Chamber and also for Karachi and its citizens which has been widely acknowledged by everyone. Even our competitors simply cannot point finger at us for misusing KCCI’s funds or carrying out any unfair or illegal activity. We have been honestly serving the entire business and industrial community from a small shopkeeper to a leading industrialist without any discrimination of cast, color or creed. It is only due to the honesty, hard work and dedication of all the BMGIANs that all three office bearers have once again been elected unopposed to lead KCCI in 2017-18”, he added.He congratulated the retiring Office Bearers upon successful completion of yet another BMG year and hoped to see further improvements during the tenure of the newly elected Office Bearers. The newly elected team must fearlessly and vocally raise voice in front of all the top lawmakers and work rigorously for resolving the genuine issues being faced by the business and industrial community. “You have to work hard enough to supersede the performance of previous Office Bearers which has always been the tradition of Businessmen Group.”

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala advised the newly elected Office Bearers to focus on some of the most pressing issues being suffered by the business and industrial community from quite some time now which include taxation issues pertaining to Federal Board of Revenue and Sindh Revenue Board, utilities issues including severe shortage of water, gas and electricity, OGRA and NEPRA related issues along with roads and infrastructure development issues in which the Karachi Chamber has to penetrate more effectively as a lot of mismanagement was going on in the infrastructure development projects.Commenting on China Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said that although China is Pakistan’s time-tested and trusted friend but CPEC was not all green for Pakistan due to the fact that Chinese look at everything with a commercial viability. “Hence, we must thoroughly understand and see what is good and what is not good for the country”, he stressed, adding that it seems that the government has not fully publicized all the aspects of CPEC project which are being disclosed from time to time as it was recently found that permission has been granted to the unskilled Chinese workers along with skilled workforce which was not part of the original plan. The original plan was to engage the local labor force in unskilled opportunities and only skilled workers will come from China but it appears that now the Chinese unskilled workers have also been allowed which means that either this permission has just been granted or was already there but kept confidential and recently disclosed.He further said that out of US$54 billion, a total of US$39 billion are loans for CPEC project and the repayment starts as early as from 2019, creating many more problems for the economy. “The newly elected team at KCCI must give continuous attention to all the CPEC-related development and accordingly giving recommendations to the government in the larger interest of the country.

Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Haroon Farooki, in his remarks, underscored that the Karachi Chamber has been utilizing all available platforms to strongly raise voice and vehemently criticize the poor taxation policies and massive discretionary powers granted to the FBR during the last four years which proved to be detrimental for the economy.“The country suffered badly because of the economic terrorism carried out during the last four years by the biggest economic terrorist Mr. Ishaq Dar who has been indicted in a corruption case”, Haroon Farooki said, urging the Karachi Chamber to take lead by sending a strong message through passing a resolution at the AGM in which KCCI should demand immediate resignation of Ishaq Dar, who despite being indicted, continues to remain Finance Minister. “The entire business and industrial community of Karachi and the rest of Pakistan must demand that Ishaq Dar should immediately step down”, he added.

 

Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Anjum Nisar, while extending full support and cooperation to the newly elected team, stressed the need to counter all the misconceptions about Karachi as the current perception about the city was not good. “We must highlight Karachi positively and focus on branding which was really essential to ensure that the wheels of Karachi’s and Pakistan’s economy keep on spinning”, he added. Retiring President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, in his remarks, paid glowing tribute to the leadership of Businessmen Group for all-time support and cooperation which encouraged him to go extra mile in order to effectively deal with numerous issues during his tenure.The newly elected President Muffasar Atta Malik, while highlighting the agenda items for 2017-18, stated that they will take up some of the most serious issues pertaining to Taxation, Infrastructure Development, Law & Order, Smuggling, Corruption, Healthcare, Economic Growth & Diversity and last but not the least Good Governance.“At the top of the list is various types of taxes imposed on businesses in last few years of this so-called business friendly government. These are threat to economic development of Pakistan, especially Karachi. We really have no other choice but to meet these threats head-on in 2017-18”, he added.Terming the tax policy as dangerous and futile for businesses, Muffasar Malik said, “We’ve seen no evidence that any of the revenues are being utilized to improve education, law & order, infrastructure or any other positive development”.