LAHORE - When stock market is already crashed, rupee is volatile and foreign exchange reserves are being eroded hastily, trade and industry representatives have asked the PTI Chairman Imran Khan to keep national economic interests above his politics of sit-ins and protests, as his negative proposals will destroy the already volatile economy of the country.
His announcement of civil disobedience indicates that he is now disappointed, as politics of protests and sit-ins seems not to be successful. Imran Khan’s proposals to overseas Pakistanis for sending foreign remittances through illegal channels is an attempt to destroy the local economy, as presently annual remittances of about $15 billion are the only positive feature of Pakistan economy which mainly supports budget deficit as well as fill the wide gap of import and export. Such negative directions to public would not only harm the state but would have severe implications on the economy and consequently on the livelihood of the masses.
The founding chairman of All Pakistan Business Forum Syed Nabeel Hashmi observed that financial system of the country will collapse immediately if deposits are taken out from the local banks while the beneficiaries will be the foreign banks only. On the other hand, in present worse conditions of law and order who will dare to take this step of holding money at homes or factories, he asked PTI chief.
After civil disobedience announcement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has suggested overseas Pakistanis to use Hundi system for transfer of money to Pakistan. Suggesting illegal ways to the Pakistanis living abroad, Imran asked them to stop sending money to their families through banks (remittances) and use Hundi system for transfer of money to Pakistan.
He also criticised Imran’s statement regarding non-payment of taxes saying that the announcement made by the PTI chief for not paying taxes was aimed at creating economic chaos in the country.
Hundi is an informal money transfer system based on verbal trust among the strong network of money brokers, operating parallel to the traditional banking channels. Earlier on August 17, Khan asked his workers and followers not to pay any utility bills and taxes.
Experts said that overseas Pakistani workers remitted $15.8 billion in 2013-14, which translates into an increase of 13.7pc over the remittances of $13.9 billion received last year.
The inflow of remittances during 2013-14 from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, United Kingdom, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman), and EU countries amounted to $4.7 billion, $3.1 billion, $2.4 billion, $2.1 billion, $1.8 billion and $431.8 million, respectively.
Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during 2013-14 amounted to over $1 billion as opposed to $969.16 million received during the preceding fiscal year.
Pakistan India Joint Business Forum chairman and Trade Development Authority Pakistan chief executive SM Munir said that Azadi March of Tehrik-i-Insaf and Inqlab March of Pakistan Awami Tehrik were adversely affecting the national economy, as they have been causing a financial loss of Rs 150 billion daily to national economy besides rendering a large number of daily-wagers jobless across the country.
Expressing concern over the current political impasse, he said the national economy had been suffering badly for the last one month which was not being noticed by the top leadership of PTI and PAT.
He said that it was high time for all political parties, especially the opposition, to resolve political issues and differences strictly in accordance with democratic values by holding parleys in the larger national interest.
Saarc CCI, Pak Chapter vice president Iftikhar Ali Malik, taking strong exception to long marches which have been inflicting losses to industry, said that the entire business community, irrespective of any political affiliation, always attaches importance to supreme national interest over petty personal interests. He said that Pakistan was the national identity, which was established after rendering sacrifices and business community will thwart nefarious designs of certain elements who are bent on disrupting the peaceful environment in the country.
LCCI president Sohail Lashari said that “we were businessmen and we could not afford to go into civil disobedience and could not defy the laws of the land. All we ask for is a stable and peaceful working business environment so we may fulfil our obligations to our country and our clients.”
FPCCI President, Zakaria Usman, said any attempt to encourage citizens from not paying their utility bills and taxes or asking them to keep on hold their business would further compromise the economy.
He said the country is already passing through a difficult phase and current political instability complimented by calls for civil disobedience may trigger loss to the national economy.