Without laws, what’s the cause?


KARACHI – While the ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ was celebrated across the globe on Tuesday, the Sindh province including its capital city of Karachi – the biggest financial hub and largest tax-paying city – remains without consumer protection courts or even laws.
Although, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad has thrice issued an ordinance – two times during the previous government and once in the present government’s tenure – related to consumer protection, this valuable and important act has still not been endorsed by the provincial assembly.
The Sindh Assembly session is currently in progress, but the legislators seem unwilling to do anything regarding the protection of rights of their voters in the province. Sindh governor and chief minister even issued newspaper supplements on the consumer rights day, stressing upon the necessity of consumer protection.
However, both of them forgot that laws regarding this issue do not even exist in their own province. Some say as the majority of legislators belonging to the PPP, PML-F and PML-Q are landlords; they are least concerned over this issue. However, the PPP’s major coalition partner, the MQM – which claims to be the representative of poor and middle-class people – is also reluctant to table any motion or resolution about consumer protection in the Sindh Assembly.
In Pakistan, consumer-protection related legislation started in 1995 when Islamabad Consumer Protection Act was implemented in the federal capital. The Balochistan Assembly passed the Consumer Protection Act in 2003, while the Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies passed the said act in 2005.
Consumer protection laws are implemented in the three provinces and the capital city while 14 consumer courts are functioning of the country, with 11 in Punjab, and one each in Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar.