Political uncertainty hits businessmen

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KARACHI: The business community has lost all confidence in the political leadership of the country and claims to be indifferent to even developments such as those witnessed on Tuesday.

The order of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and 15 others involved in rental power scam ignited violent protests across the country.


Following the order, panic gripped the country and most of the markets, industrial estates and offices were forced to close.


However, Haroon Agar, president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) claims to be unconcerned about this new development.


“It doesn’t matter who wins; the tussle among political parties, government and institutions must be settled soon,” he said.


“The economy and the industrial sector cannot bear any further jolts.”

The KCCI chief said that there will be no immediate impact on export orders but violent repercussions and strikes may result in delayed delivery that might eventually lead to the diversion of export orders.


Business and industry leaders are of the view that they have suffered too much: political uncertainty; unavailability of utilities; and above all, the precarious law and order situation is resulting in the closure of production units, cancellation of export orders and unemployment.


Fazal Qadir Sheerani, president of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), refusing to comment on the arrest orders of PM, said that there was severe political unrest in the country.


“No economy can survive without the writ of government, which unfortunately is absent in Pakistan,” Sheerani said.


He said that law and order was the biggest challenge facing business and commerce and if the unrest persisted, the situation would go bad to worse.


Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, advisor to prime minister on textiles, said that the fast changing political scenario in the country might vitiate exports and investment climate.


“The situation may also result into diverting of Pakistan’s export orders to its competitors.”


He said that the Karachi stock exchange losing over 500 points spoke volumes about the fact that political stability was must for economic growth.


Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said that both local and foreign investors would adopt a ‘wait and see’ strategy till the situation was clearer and asked the political parties to stop the gimmickry and urged them to go for in-house changes in the parliament.


Our Lahore correspondent adds: The address of Dr Tahirul Qadri had businessmen glued to their TV sets and they claimed to be relieved by the initial conciliatory tone of the scholar.


However, the Supreme Court’s order to arrest the prime minister diverted their attention to a devlopment they fear may further increase political instability.


Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association Adil Butt said that as far as the exports sector is concerned, their factories operated normally because of delivery pressures.


However, he said work in offices was affected as most of the staff and executives were busy changing channels on TV set to get the diversified views of experts on the happening in Islamabad.


President Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry Farooq Iftikhar said that businesspersons usually do not take sides in political battles.


They are, however, worried whenever a situation arises that could cause law and order problems or political uncertainty.


He said events on Tuesday triggered both political uncertainty and threat to law and order. “Businesspersons are worried and desire for things to settle down,” he added.

Courtesy:   The News

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