Consumer Protection Organizations around the world are very active and governments, the judiciary and the print and electronic media have encouraged and supported their activities by introducing consumer protection laws and consumer courts and ensuring that the consumer laws are strictly enforced. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, due to the lack political will, there are only 3 Consumer Protection Laws, one in Islamabad, which was passed by the National Assembly in 1995, one in Balochistan and the other one in Punjab, which was introduced in 2004. Both these laws clearly define the guidelines to protect consumer interests, but as we lack the political will to enforce laws, like other laws, even these laws have been totally ignored, both by manufacturers and even the government itself and remain ineffective. Consumer Protection Ordinance, Sindh, was prepared by a committee set up by the Governor Sindh after examining and studying consumer laws in the region and was signed by him on 12th August 04, but has never been presented to the Sindh Assembly for ratification and has lapsed three times. As such, Sindh is still without a Consumer Protection Law or Consumer Courts. In developed countries and even those in our region, Consumer Protection is serious business, especially India, where the Indian government has given full support to the consumers in this respect. The Consumer Protection Act, India was introduced in 1986 and a separate Ministry for Consumer Affairs was established, which has been very pro active in protecting the interests of the consumers. As such, there are over 2000 consumer courts that deal with approximately 5 lak consumer complaints annually, providing speedy justice and redress to consumer complaints within 30 days. This positive action by the government has had a tremendous impact in promoting quality and standards and in protecting consumers. There are now over 5000 consumer protection organizations operating in India. Whether it is government, giant corporations, or small manufacturers, when consumer organizations raise a consumer related issue, it is taken seriously and appropriate action is taken by the government, the corporations and manufacturers to rectify the situation. In every country, consumers are at the core of all business operations, as they can make, therefore their interests have to be kept paramount. Manufacturers and service providers have to tailor their operations and provide their consumers with quality products and services, in a manner that is profitable, yet ethical, so as to satisfy all stakeholders. However, in Pakistan, due to the lack of government support, there are only 3 active Consumer Protection Organizations that are working on consumer issues, 2 are Islamabad based and 1 in Karachi, Consumer Protection Council of Helpline Trust. Due to the lack of Consumer Protection Laws and Enforcement of Existing Food and Drug Laws, we have become a 'number do' nation and Pakistan has become a dumping ground for semi expired and counterfeit food, beverages and medicines. As such, our markets are flooded with these products and this has affected our exports and tarnished our image in the international markets. As there is no accountability or legal checks, the gullible citizens are being misled by glossy and misleading advertisements. Callous manufacturers and wholesalers play havoc with the health and lives of the consumers without fear of punishment. Non-food grade plastics and colors and second grade tin plates and old, rusted tins are used for packing cooking oils and other food products. Empty bottles and tins of branded products are refilled with spurious products to cheat the consumers. Though there are over 300 brands of cooking oil and bottled water available in the markets in various sizes of tins, bottles and plastic cans, but most of them are not registered with PSQCA and are violating the law with impunity. In Pakistan, the worst enemy of the consumers are the consumers themselves. They constantly complain about escalating prices, sub-standard, spurious and adulterated products and services, but refuse to complain or take effective action. They forget that consumers are full time citizen and must understand their rights and responsibilities and shake off their apathy. They are the largest stakeholders in the country and can make or break a brand. When a consumer buys any product or service, he or she is actually casting a vote in favor for a particular brand or service. Once a consumer begins a fight and lodges a complaint, others add their voice and it becomes a powerful protest. Unfortunately, for consumers in Pakistan, not many newspapers or TV channels are interested in promoting consumer rights. News items and features affecting consumer interest are not highlighted and the government and judiciary have failed to protect the rights of the consumers. As such, the consumers feel helpless. Therefore, the first step when making a purchase is - Buy from a reputed store - check manufacture and expiry date - net & gross weight - seals and packing and always demand a cash memo. To establish consumer rights, Helpline Trust has included mobilization of public opinion, civil and court action as our tools for change. The Trust has aimed and designed its efforts and actions to persuade and influence those in government, industry and civil society and have demanded positive contributions from individuals and institutions. To commemorate World Consumer's Rights Day, we had organized a seminar on 'Putting The Consumer First' on 17th March, at the Avari Towers Hotel, Karachi. The objective of the seminar was to highlight the issues relating to consumer rights and consumer protection against sub-standard, adulterated and counterfeit products and services and the need for Consumer Protection Laws and Consumer Courts. It had covered a wide range of topics relating to Consumer Protection Laws, CSR, IPR, promoting quality and standards and the Role of Consumer Protection Organizations in monitoring and enforcing these laws and standards. Jst. (R) Saiduzzaman Siddiqui, former CJ, SCP, had Chaired the seminar and Khalid Mirza, Chairman, CCP, had been the Key Note speaker. The seminar was also addressed by Zaffar A. Khan, Former Chairman, PTCL and PIA, Shahid Salim, CEO, Intertek Pakistan and Ms. Ingrid Eckert-Prinz, Director, Prinz, both Advisors, Hepline Trust on Consumer Affairs. At the end of the seminar, the former CJ distributed Helpline Trust's 'Putting the Consumer First' Awards to 11 leading companies, who had qualified for the above awards. H. Maker. (email: trust@super.net.pk)