ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC ) has directed the federal government to implement the law enacted in 2022 that would revamp and streamline the election process at the chambers of commerce and industry across the country.

However, confusion persists among various chambers over the law.

As per the IHC ruling in a case related to the Trade Organisations (Amendment) Act 2022, there will not be any elections of the chambers in 2023 and the office-bearers who have completed their two-year terms will be granted another term of third year, while those who have completed first year will complete their second year by the end of 2024.

After the IHC ruling, the complete body of the chambers will contest elections, after every two years.

Whereas, under the Trade Organisations Act (TOA) 2013, the elected body of the chambers is in circulation, as half of the office bearers are elected in one year for two years, while the term of the other half who were elected a year earlier ends next years, and the elections are held for slot vacated by them.

The president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, was supporting the two-year term for the office-bearers of trade bodies determined by a new trade law.

Mr Bakhtawari has maintained that the one-year term for the office-bearers of trade bodies was a short period to perform effectively and deliver for the business community while the two-year term would provide them ample time to work for the welfare of the business community and facilitate them in business development that would ultimately help improve the economic growth of the country.

However, confusion persists among several chambers regarding the executive body of the Chamber, and the senior members of the ICCI have said that one more office bearer will be added after the court decision.

“Currently, a body comprises one president, one senior vice president and one vice-president, after the decision one more vice president will be added for one year among the office-bearers,” the senior member of ICCI said.

But this interpretation was countered by Chaudhary Zafar Mahmood, Senior Vice-President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

“The whole confusion was created by the Director General Trade Organisations (DGTO) as he had issued the election notification earlier this year as per TOA 2013, and due to the same confusion many people infer that another vice-president will be added for one year,” Mr Mahmood added.

Meanwhile, the decision will not have any impact on the elections of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

“The FPCCI polls would take place in December this year as the existing body will complete its two-year term,” said Haji Qurban, senior office-bearer of the federation.

Published in Dawn, September 24rd, 2023

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