KARACHI: The call for civil disobedience by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has sparked anger amongst the business community.
The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has asked the business community to distance itself from such a move.
In a statement, FPCCI president Zakaria Usman said that the current political situation and recent call for civil disobedience are not feasible moves as they amount to provoking people not to pay taxes and utility bills.
He said the country is passing through critical economic and political conditions and political activities have hampered the process of economic and commercial development.
At a time when the army is engaged in a decisive battle in North Waziristan to eliminate terrorism, “we have to maintain unity and avoid divisions and distortions,” he added.
Zakaria Usman said that business community is the real stakeholder in the recent call for civil disobedience and would not like to close their businesses, industries and become sick units by becoming defaulters of bank loans.
The FPCCI chief suggested that the protesting people in the name of revolution should avoid diverting their legal democratic protest into illegal and non-democratic acts of violence and also avoid entering the red zone.
He further said business community is the real taxpayer and the government is bound to use this money in the right direction for development of the country.
The FPCCI chief said political activities should not affect economic and trade activities. Strikes, harassment through mobs and destruction of the public and private properties are the national loss.
He requested both the ruling and opposition political parties to keep the economy separate from politics and added that during the last two weeks, the country suffered loss of billions of dollars due to political unrest and exports have also been suffering.
Zakaria Usman said that political crises needed dialogue and all political parties should come forward for this noble cause.
Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) President Mohammad Asim Siddiqi said that the PTI has not unveiled any future plans as to how the country will run if nobody will pay taxes, duties and utility bills.
The PTI chief must disclose as to how the country would pay its foreign debt and achieve economic stability, he said.
So far Mr Khan has not brought any plan or policy that can be compared with the previous government.
Vice President of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Kashif Anwar said: “We made old Pakistan in 1947, new Pakistan in 1971 but cannot afford another new Pakistan at a time when the country and the business environment are already passing through various challenges.”
“Everybody has to pay taxes and duties to foster economic activities,” he said.
“Imran should focus on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and emerge as a role model by taking the province to the peak of economic and political stability,” Kashif said, adding “if Nawaz Sharif fails to live up to the expectations of the people, the people would cast vote in favour of Khan Saheb in the next election for a better performance in KP.”
Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Dr Shimail Daud Arain said he had contacted all chambers, including Karachi Chamber, who have unanimously rejected the PTI chief’s call.
Site Association of Trade and Industry Chairman Younus Bashir said the businessmen would condemn PTI call which would only create cracks in country’s economic and political stability. He urged the PML-N and PTI leadership to resolve the differences and resolve issues on the table immediately.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2014