KARACHI: Karachi has serious security problems and the business community has been agitating against it for the last couple of years. But why is it that this time businessmen have refused to accept promises of improvement in security from the government?
They say they need action and no verbal assurances. After a series of meetings with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, the reluctant businessmen have put off a planned strike for a month to see how much the government is serious this time and improves security in the city.
Earlier, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) had announced plans for strikes on November 8 and 10 respectively.
Growing security problems and indifference of the government have completely changed the situation in the last two to three years. The anger in the rank and file of business community has reached boiling point and now it is almost impossible for the leadership to ignore it anymore.
On Karachi security, all representatives of the business community have a meeting of minds and have decided to stand united in their demands.
However, it is often noticed that the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the apex body of the country’s business community with headquarters in Karachi, and the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the biggest platform representing seven industrial associations of Karachi, try to show off their muscle power.
This is especially when the question arises who is the true representative of the business community of Karachi, the financial capital of Pakistan, and who has better relationship with the government.
In recent days, these organisations are taking a tough stand against the government to placate the agitating business community of the city.
“We gave two years to the government to act and address security woes in Karachi,” KCCI President Muhammad Haroon Agar told The Express Tribune. “But the situation has worsened despite repeated promises from the government.”
Replying to a question, Agar stressed that the leadership of the business community, whether it is from the KCCI or FPCCI, was united on a one-point agenda. “We are all one on this issue because we want better security in Karachi – a city that gives about 65% revenue to the country.”
“The situation has crossed all limits,” Agar said firmly. “It will deteriorate further, if we fail to take a stand today.”
About a week ago, the FPCCI called a press conference in Karachi and for the first time directly blamed the ruling coalition parties for target killings and unabated extortion.
“The government has failed to control the security problems because militant wings of ruling parties are involved in it and they will never take action against their own workers,” asserted the FPCCI leadership.
On the very next day, the KCCI held a press conference and announced a schedule of protests and strikes.
“We are not against any political party,” FPCCI President Haji Fazal Kadir Sherani told The Express Tribune. “We are all united and want decisive action against those who are responsible for the deteriorating security situation in Karachi.”
On the other hand, he said, “I want to make it clear that the FPCCI is not supporting any political party. Our first loyalty is with the business community and we want better security in Karachi at any cost.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2012.