Politicians eyeing top positions in trade bodies

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A new trend has emerged in the business scenario of the country as politicians have been eyeing the top positions of trade bodies, and blocking the true representations of traders who pay heavy taxes to get their issues addressed through their representation in their own bodies. Latest example is the contesting of the brother of Chief Minister Balochistan Senator Nawabzada Mir Haji Lashkari Raisani for the post of President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) that is being vacated by another senator of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Haji Ghulam Ali.
Nominations for the position of the President are to be made on 22nd December and on rotation basis this time a person from Balochistan is to be made the President of FPCCI for the year 2012. On the basis of his seniority, Fazal Qadir Sherani is the strongest candidate for the said position, but his selection is being challenged by two other candidates from Balochistan, Lashkari Raisani and Mr Farooq, sources informed Profit.
CM Balochistan’s brother Lashkari Raisani is mulling over taking this position from the platform of newly formed Gwadar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, which was recently given license by Balochistan High Court on a constitutional petition under article 199 of the constitution filed by the said chamber against Director General Trade Organisation Ministry of Commerce, sources added. This court verdict will let open other abandoned chambers of commerce in Balochistan namely Pashene and Makran.
It is to be noted that the new tenure of Presidency for the year 2012 at the federation is dedicated to Balochistan province for one year on rotation basis, and since the beginning Balochistan has never had an unopposed candidate as there has always been a brawl within Balochistan chamber or tussle of local leadership, sources added. Sources further told that it is not only limited to Balochistan but all important trade bodies and associations in the country are hostages of powerful businessmen groups and being run in very unlawful manner for an entire decade, while the worst case scenario is at FPCCI (where a group of Tariq Saeed has all matters in hand) which was supposed to have true representation of all sectors come under its domain.
This dominance of some specific groups in almost all the trade bodies and associations in the country (Siraj Kasim Teli’s Businessmen Group dominates the largest chamber of the country, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries, is another example) is conducive in selection of their office bearers rather than their election, source reasoned. And since last few years, politicians of the country are trying to get elected from different chambers of commerce and become Presidents of them, and due to this very reason industrialists and traders have low representations there in those bodies; therefore, particularly the corporate sector is shying away from FPCCI and they resolve their issues directly with the government, sources added. One of the examples of this declining trend of low representation of corporate sector at FPCCI is the establishment of Pakistan Business Council (PBC) comprise of heads of all blue chips and that council is superseding the mandate of FPCCI. Sources demand that ministry of commerce should take notice of this trend and must not let trade bodies and associations be ruled by powerful businessmen groups, while the ministry should also take notice of politicians getting selected at the top positions of those trade bodies. It is pertinent to mention that FPCCI is the topmost private sector body representing 139 trade/professional associations. It has three regional federation offices in Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad; in addition there are 46 regional chambers of commerce and industry. FPCCI is reaching out to over 500,000 business units. Elections for the position of President for the year 2012 will be held on 29th December.

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