Businessmen mean business!

  • Perturbed over PTI’s ‘Azadi’ march; ICCI senior vice president wants PTI to review decision o f sit-in at D-Chowk, says it will harm business activities
  • ICCI members say peaceful environment for conducting business is a democratic right, political parties’ leaders should join hands to strengthen economy instead of hatching anti-govt conspiracies

Traders from all across the country have expressed concern over the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s scheduled ‘Azadi’ march and subsequent sit-in on August 14, saying it would adversely affect businesses and the 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.

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Acting President Mirza Mohamamd Ali reportedly said that PTI’s march would prove to be destructive not only for the traders and businessmen of Islamabad 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 and 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 is 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 and should not disturb public life through sit-ins and rallies.

“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 Islamabad’s 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.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Sohail said that Pakistan cannot afford such negative activities especially when Pak Armed Forces are busy in operation against terrorists.

He said the sit-in and protest marches by some political and politico-religious parties on 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 are improving 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 development 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.

Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Dr. Shumail Daud reportedly said that marches and sit-ins are not 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 consider it a harmful activity for the whole country.”

Meanwhile, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) former president Ijaz Abbassi said that the march would harm business activities in the city.

“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 is 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 Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) staged a 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 other businesses the capital’s business hub.