Ishq-e-Rasool Day: Economic damage could be as high as Rs76b

Published: September 22, 2012

Exporters had a particularly tough time, ability to deliver orders on time is a critical element to succeeding in the business. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Business shutdowns on account of “Love of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Day” have cost the national economy close to the tune of Rs76 billion, a number that does not include the cost of the property damage due to the many protests that turned violent throughout the country.

Economic analysts who spoke to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that their estimates are based on average economic output of a given workday. Given the near total shutdown of the entire economy, with hardly any businesses open, they estimate that the economy lost as much as Rs76 billion in economic output.

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that the shutdown of the commercial capital’s industrial zones alone cost the economy close to Rs14 billion in losses. That hefty loss, however, was not even close to being the bulk of the losses in Karachi, since despite having the largest industrial base in the country, Karachi’s economy is mostly services based, which were shut down almost completely throughout the city.

Leading industrialists in the city said that they had shut down their businesses to show solidarity with the nation, especially since it was declared a federal holiday by the government. But many nonetheless expressed frustration at the fact that most of the protests against the blasphemous movie – made in the United States, and completely unavailable in Pakistan since the YouTube ban – had turned violent, causing massive property damage, in addition to several fatalities.

Business lobbyists, however, were keen to show their support of the protests, even as they decried their violent nature. “It is no ordinary matter that caused the government to declare a public holiday,” said Ehtesham Uddin, chairman of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, a leading business lobby in Karachi. “The issue of the anti-Muslim film is sensitive and we understand the sensitivities of the nation on this matter.”

Many others also expressed what seemed to be a fear of arousing religiously motivated anger against their businesses and cited that fear as a reason for their decision to close their businesses. Many of the people who spoke to The Express Tribune for this article declined to be named, for fear of being targeted as being insufficiently the film.

“It is a religious issue,” said the chairman of an industrial association who do not want to be named, “Nobody can afford any misunderstanding with their workers at this time.”

Exporters had a particularly tough time, since many are often selling in highly competitive markets where their ability to deliver orders on time is a critical element to succeeding in the business. The closure of both ports in Karachi badly hurt their businesses.

Yet the closure of business alone was not what hurt the exporters. “But more than anything else, the arson and looting that we saw on Friday is more dangerous for our image and our clients in outer world,” said one leading exporter in Karachi who wished to remain anonymous.

The closure of the ports, in addition to the shutdown of mobile communications nationwide, is also likely to have a negative impact on the government’s collection of tax revenues, since the overwhelming bulk of government revenues still come from the port. No estimates were immediately available of just how much the government is expected to lose.

Traders in Karachi’s old city, which hosts the largest wholesale commodity markets in the country, said that the one-day shutdown likely cost them between Rs3 billion and Rs5 billion in lost business.

The closure of the wholesale markets is also how Friday’s shutdowns affected the rural economy: while nearly all of the violence and unrest took place in cities, it also shutdown the urban and semi-urban markets that the rural economy relies on to sell their products. Without those markets, economic activity even in rural areas ground to a halt, even though there were no reports of violence in villages.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (43)

  • Not me
    Sep 22, 2012 - 5:25AM

    The security agencies failed to provide protection to citizens and the property. They should be held accountable

    Recommend

  • Not me
    Sep 22, 2012 - 5:29AM

    Excellent news.This type of investment is the way forward

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  • Tari
    Sep 22, 2012 - 6:01AM

    Who are these geniuses who are burning down Pakistan’s pubic assets to protest a dumb movie in the United States, how sad, who is going to pay for the replacement, not Jamaat Islami and its supporters, maybe they should be made to pay for the damage

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  • John B
    Sep 22, 2012 - 6:11AM

    Who cares, the honor is vital.

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  • idris kelawala
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:32AM

    It doesnt matter we should not rely on materialism so much. These protests should not end before the producer of the movie is put behind bars and USA apologises to muslims.

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  • Raj - USA
    Sep 22, 2012 - 10:12AM

    So much wanton destruction. Many families would have been ruined financially. Talat Hussein reported that Al Quaida flags were seen in the protests. Four Cinema Halls, one Church, many shops and cars were burnt. The leaders of the parties, both political and religious who encourage these mobs do not realize that one day same type of mobs shall may attack them and set their houses on flames.

    The irony is that this 13 minute video trailer (full two hour movie is not out yet) had been on the internet since July and no one noticed it until a television channel in Egypt translated it in Arabic and aired it. Yet no one blames Egypt but blames Israel and USA.

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  • Humayun
    Sep 22, 2012 - 10:18AM

    Protest shall be registered and continue – however, violent reactions and mode of protests shall be debated. There is no point shooting in the foot !

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  • IZ
    Sep 22, 2012 - 11:27AM

    That’ll teach those anti-Islam elements a lesson!

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  • asim
    Sep 22, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Who is responsible for this ?

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  • just_someone
    Sep 22, 2012 - 12:17PM

    @Raj – USA:
    well said sir, absolutely true.

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  • Indian First
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:06PM

    Dont worry US will give aid towards this services rendered on their behalf

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  • Indian First
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:08PM

    USA has invented new WMD called “Blasphemy Bomb” which is very cost effective and can be used at will without much planning against the muslim countries

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  • Ali
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:17PM

    @idris kelawala:

    These protests aren’t hurting the US. They’re only hurting Pakistan. I’m not sure what the protesters are hoping to achieve by destroying property and killing/injuring our own people. It’s not about materialism…. it’s about common sense. The 76 billion rupee loss (not to mention loss of life to which one really can’t put a monetary value) isn’t hurting the US. So if the goal is to make the US apologise, this isn’t going to help matters. The way to deal with these things is to either respond in a dignified fashion (make your own movie as a rebuttal for example) or to ignore it.

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  • dilher darr
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:35PM

    Protests will continue come what may.

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  • bb
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:36PM

    @IZ:

    LESSON IN WHAT?

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  • Zaid Hamid
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:39PM

    Ahoy! We have bombed ourselves into stone age!!!

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  • Pir Bulle Shah
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:44PM

    America and Jewish stooges should compensate for provoking this anger.

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  • ishrat salim
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:07PM

    This is the way to cripple Pakistan…no need to waste valuable bullets & costly war to damage Pakistan….kill us ” economically ” & we all are party to this….& nobody seem bothered.The protest not peaceful as it was leaderless without direction.Though, even if any leaders were present wud hv made not much difference, bcz of our ignorant/ emotionally charged masses, but damage wud hv been much less.however, all of us especially our political leaders who called for such protest shud be held accountable due to the damage to property & lives & the price of economic damage….Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:34PM

    @dilher darr: ” … Protests will continue come what may. … “

    Absolutely !!

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  • arcane
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:56PM

    No problem beg for more financial aid from “WEST”

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  • Zaid Hamid
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:59PM

    @IZ:
    yes yes yes we will destroy ourselves to teach anti islamists a lesson. You are my true disciple!

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  • Kapt Slim
    Sep 22, 2012 - 3:32PM

    Good Lord .. Help us … After protesting and destroying our country … we will go back to IMF and WB to get loans …

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  • in2stms
    Sep 22, 2012 - 3:56PM

    I think People has a RIGHT TO KNOW. I have not watched the movie it is not released yet , If movie version is not correct than what is the correct version, instead of running a muck, why we don`t tell the World . Islam is a very peaceful religon it is what we are telling the World ? Does it shows in our Worldwide Demonstration ?

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  • Arif Khan
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:08PM

    I am finished with Pakistan. For my own sanity, I want to cut all emotional ties with my former homeland.

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  • Syed Shah
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:16PM

    The self destruct button pushed will only destruct us. No good will ever come out of it. The way to go forward is to call for a world summit of Muslim leaders and pass a unanimous resolution to make a world law that who ever tries to harm relations between faiths with such slanderous and mischievous films, caricatures, writings on any medium will be immediately arrested and given exemplary punishment. Every member of UN has to accept that law or otherwise risk being thrown out of the world community. When they can have a law on holocaust why not on blasphemy? This is open racism and it should fall in that category and the culprit can be punished even now. This was misuse of freedom of speech.

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  • Vishwanath. G
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:36PM

    @Indian First:

    Good thoughts dude, A-Bomb, Automic Bomb used to kill others, B-Bomb to kill the self..

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  • Vishwanath. G
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:46PM

    My question to muslim world, what happens if a dozen movies of this time produced and released every thursday, on the next friday you start burning your own house., and kill your own brother and sister., if world knows that you are mentally killed no matter more and more this type movies / cartoons will be aired and published in the electonic media, you will soffocate one day., and loose the end.,

    Well my question to these pakistanies., why didn’t you started this violent protest of burning/killing/stone petling started from/on your house and taken the same to the street, this would have been appriciated as you are showing anger by buring your earned property rather than public property.. if you have guts do this else, you are an Insane / begot hiding behind mask of quran and prophet. and fallowing exactily what quran says or exactly following opposite of what quran says… period..

    If any true muslim/pakistanies please vote for recommendation. I am an Indian but sad to see the state of land of pure….

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  • Vishwanath. G
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:50PM

    Do you know the cost 1Billion $ which US gives you to kill your own people, here US used B-Bomb,wi thout spending single penny it costed you 1Billion$ =72 Billion with same cost on life (20+) killing.

    bottom line, Killed By you / Billed By you / Paid By you

    ha ha ha…. land of pure

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  • Vishwanath. G
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:53PM

    @Kapt Slim:

    Even God wont help those who cannot help themself…. (Bagvat Geetha)

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  • Liberal
    Sep 22, 2012 - 5:04PM

    Thanks to Ultra Liberal PPP for holiday .. plz vote for them in next time ..

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  • Lose Dhoti
    Sep 22, 2012 - 7:00PM

    Let all those who called for the protests and demonstrations pay the amount. If this is a State that represents the interests of its people than it should confiscate the property, freeze the accounts of ‘ all strike and protest calling leadership’ and pay back to all those who lost property and pay to the families of those who died. But can the State do this? it is blackmailed into submission for the sake of continuity of a government headed by NRO beneficiaries. Elites sucking the blood of poor people and calling themselves leaders.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 22, 2012 - 7:22PM

    This damage is just a peanut. We will burn everything for Ishq-e-Rasool.

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  • Sep 22, 2012 - 9:08PM

    The one who made the movie is definitely a fool, but those who are doing these protest and rioting and damaging property of nation are bigger fools. And believe me no one in the protesters saw the Movie and has not have even a clue, just some one said to them and they started Recommend

  • Brahma
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:21PM

    This whole episode reminds me of the famous quote from the Spanish American writer/philosopher George Santayana who said ….”fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim!”

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  • Nand
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:36PM

    This is just petty money. Even if Pakistan does it 365 days, it economy can withstand it. Recommend

  • Khadim Hussain
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Every emotional Muslim needs think a while on is the protest results. Think are the way of protest conveying we want? Actually peoples in the homeland think religion means emotions including destroying everything of the motherland. They never think that type of emotion is never solution but future destruction.

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  • Azi
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:21AM

    Lawless nation, foolish citizens heading headfirst towards their annihilation. Strongest Muslim country got defeated by a worthless film maker in under a week. I am ashamed to be a part of this country.

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  • sick of this nonsense
    Sep 23, 2012 - 1:56AM

    @Not me:
    what could the security agencies do.. had they opened fire they would have been termed as blasphemers or cia agents etc. they were in an unenviable position.

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  • Sep 23, 2012 - 8:32AM

    @idris kelawala:

    So such protest should continue , No problem.
    But in case violence prevails and the damage to the state and private properties continue ?
    Materialism does not matter to you , so bring in all items of your home on the road for destruction. you will be leader in the protest.

    Recommend

  • abdulsalam.melepoyil
    Sep 23, 2012 - 10:12AM

    @Tari:

    The damage has to be paid by Government and should be collected from the parties like Jamaat Islami, who can not able to control their Supporters from damaging public property.

    Law should be amended accordingly like in India. According to Ordinance currently in India, Parties organizing Bandh are responsible for this and Damage has to be borne by them.

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  • ms. Sk
    Sep 23, 2012 - 2:52PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad, dilher darr, John B, Humayyun, IZ

    Allah can protect his Prophet. We are supposed to protect ourselves and our families.
    We have been given the responsibility of sending the message. If God does not want them to understand, no matter what you do, they will never listen.
    In the Quran it has been clearly stated, when some one ridicules Allah or his Prophet, ignore them and end relations with them.
    It doesn’t say shut down all your entire country and force people you survive on daily wages to starve, and burn another brother’s property.
    Instead of showing the world we are savages, prove that video wrong by practicing Islam correctly.

    Shame on people like you.

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  • jagjit sidhoo.
    Sep 24, 2012 - 8:42AM

    @idris kelawala: Spare a thought for the poor man who is a daily wage earner.

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  • Jafri
    Sep 24, 2012 - 12:25PM

    The political and religious parties should compensate for the loss of life and property on that day.

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