Equity investors go risk-averse as traders reject ‘political egos’


With ‘confused’ investors on stocks market reacting cautiously to PTI’s call for civil disobedience, the country’s business community rejected the move as un-feasible for the economy already suffering losses of billions of dollars for the last couple of weeks.

The businessmen at Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) rejected the call as PTI chief Imran Khan announced Sunday to observe civil disobedience by not paying utility bills and taxes coming from the PML-N dominated federal government.

“The business community would not allow the economy to sacrifice for political egos of any political party,” said President FPCCI Zakaria Usman in a statement issued on Monday.

Abdullah Zaki, president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), another representative body of the city’s traders and industrialists, is already reported to have rejected the PTI’s controversial declaration.

“Business community disfavours the call for civil disobedience,” the FPCCI chief added.

While the armed forces were clamping down on militants in North Waziristan, the non-payment of taxes and utility bills and shut down of businesses were not feasible options for the country, he said.

Pakistan, Usman said, was transiting through a critical politico-economic condition and recent political activities were hampering economic growth of the country.

“Pakistan is battling terrorism. Army is fighting a decisive battle in North Waziristan to eliminate terrorism and the country is incurring huge expenses on war against terrorism. The settlement of internally displaced persons is another big problem for us,” the industrialist said.

“We being the nation have to be united against terrorism to eliminate it from our country,” he said. Terming the call for civil disobedience by the protesting political parties as “not understandable”, the FPCCI president said his community condemned the same.

The business community, one of the major stakeholders, he said, was against any such call and did not want to close businesses and industries.

Doing so, Usman warned, would make the industry sick and the businessmen defaulters on the loans provided by the banks and other organisations.

During last two weeks, he lamented, the country suffered losses of billions of dollars due to political unrest and exports had also been suffering in billions.

“Who will compensate this loss? Ultimately these political parties would revert to the business community,” he said.

Urging the ruling and opposition sides to settle down the crises through dialogue, Usman said all political parties should come forward to build mutual harmony.

The FPCCI chief also reminded the PML-N government that business community was the real taxpayer and that it was bound to use its tax money for the development of the country.

He further said that political activities should not affect the economic and trade activities of the country.

Dubbing strikes, harassment through mobs and destruction of the public and private properties as losses to the nation, Usman called upon the political stakeholders to keep economy separate from politics.

Meanwhile, the risk-averse investors on Karachi stocks market remained cautious on the back of deepening political crisis in Islamabad.

KSE 100 index shed 65.60 points to close at 28,852.15 versus Friday’s 28,917.75 points. The trading activity, however, set in positive zone by rising to 116 million shares compared to 104 million stakes exchanged hands in last trading session.

Of the total 341 scrips traded, 150 gained value, 171 lost and 20 remained unchanged. The trading value upped Rs 7.3 billion from the previous day’s Rs 5.9 billion. The market capital remained almost flat at Rs 6.7 trillion.

“Stocks close lower amid profit-taking in blue-chip banking and oil scrips on concerns for political uncertainty and rupee instability following hard stance by (the) opposition leaders to derail government in the Inqilab March and Azadi March call since August 14,” viewed Ahsen Mehanti, a senior equity analyst and a director at Arif Habib Corp.

The investors’ fears on political turmoil and uncertainty over the outcome of IMF talks for the release of $550 million fifth tranche due later this month played a catalyst role in bearish activity on cautious note in the earnings announcement session, the analyst said.

Topline analyst Samar Iqbal said the market moved in both positive and negative territory. “The investors still remained confused on the ongoing political situation in Islamabad,” she added.

The market moved in a broad band of 500 points signaling that the investors needed a concrete development on the ongoing protests by few opposition parties, the analyst said.