- Business and trade bodies of different cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi said that the march would hinder economic progress in general and businesses in the cities in particular
Traders from across the country have expressed concern over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI)’s “Azadi March” and subsequent sit-in on August 14, saying it would adversely affect businesses vis-a-vis national economy.
The business and trade bodies of different cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi said that the march would hinder economic progress in general and the businesses in the cities in particular.
Acting Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) president Mirza Mohamamd Ali said Tuesday that the “Azadi March” of PTI would prove to be destructive not only for the traders and businessmen of the federal capital but also for the country’s economy.
“The country has been facing different challenges, including terrorism, extremism and energy. It cannot afford such activities that would cause political instability that will adversely affect the economy.”
He said the leadership of all political parties should join hands for strengthening the economy instead of hatching conspiracies against the Government for their vested interests.
August 14 was a national day and it should be celebrated as an event to unify the nation and not as a day for dividing the nation. He said the political leaders should settle issues in Parliament which is a democratic and the just forum for this purpose. Instead of disturbing the public life through holding sit-ins and rallies, he added.
“I urge all the political leaders to show maturity and give priority to national interests over their personal interests,” he remarked.
He said the business activities remained suspended for 10 days due to Eidul Fitr and now the PTI’s scheduled long march and then sit-in had upset the business community as to how many days they would have to keep their outlets closed down.
Meanwhile, ICCI Senior Vice President Khalid Chaudhry said the Blue Area was the business hub of federal capital and whenever any political activity happened at D-Chowk, the whole Blue Area was besieged causing huge losses to the businessmen. He requested PTI Chairman Imran Khan to review his decision about “Azadi March” in the interest of the country and the people of the capital.
LCCI DEEMS PROTESTS UNAFFORDABLE:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Sohail said that Pakistan could not afford such negative activities especially when Pak Armed Forces were busy in operation against terrorists and anti-Pakistan elements in North Waziristan Agency.
He said the sit-in and protest marches by some political and religio-political parties on auspicious occasion of country’s Independence Day would harm peace in the country, which would ultimately hinder economic and trade activities besides hitting exports.
“This situation will not only send a wrong signal to the world but also have adverse impact on Pakistan’s overall political, economic and social fabric,” he asserted.
He said the country’s economic indicators were improving further following restoration of foreign and local investors’ confidence due to grant of positive credit rating by the Moody’s International, however, the protests and sit-ins would sabotage the socio-economic development process.
In his remarks, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zahidullah Shinwari urged the political parties to show patience and tolerance for each other and resolve the issues through negotiations.
He said the provincial economy was facing loss of billion of rupees daily due to rise in political temperature for the last couple of weeks and added that traders and businessmen have stopped all their activities like import of the machinery, export etc and following the policy of wait and see till August 14.
“We are worst the victims of the current political instability in the country,” he said and added that economic activity has become almost stagnant as 70 percent capital flight has reported due to unrest and terrorism.
He said KPCCI was a non-political entity and wanted only political harmony so that this province could flourish and added that rise in political temperature has cast extremely negative impact on the overall economic process.
The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has also expressed deep concern over the march which it said would affect the business atmosphere of the twin-cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad.
Dr Shumail Daud, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry while talking to APP said that the march and sit-ins was not a good news for businessmen of the twin-cities in particular and for the whole country in general, as the march would disturb the business environment.”
In addition, he said it affects all the strata of the society including, employees, daily wagers, transporters and other segments.
“The country is already facing challenges and such activities would further aggravate the situation,” he said adding “I am not in favour or against such activities, but I look it as harmful activity for the whole country.”
Meanwhile, Former President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Ijaz Abbassi said that the march would harm business activities in the city.
“To me, the PTI must review its decision and take some other measures to achieve its political objectives which should not hurt country’s economy,” Abbasi added. He was of the view that if PTI thinks that holding of march was its democratic right, then it was also democratic and constitutional right of traders to run their businesses in a peaceful atmosphere.
It is pertinent to mention here that when PAT staged sit-in on Jinnah Avenue in Blue Area in January 2013, the business community claimed to have suffered loss of billions of rupees due to unwanted closure of offices, restaurants, and business concerns in the main hub of business of the capital.