. .





 Special Report


 Politics & Policy  CE VISIT UN



A.Q. Khalil

A.Q. Khalil, a leading business leader from Karachi has been recently elected as the President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). As a business leader, Khalil has served for the cause of trade and business for more than two decades. Earlier he was elected as Senior Vice President of KCCI in 1994-95. He served the business community in various capacities such as Chairman, Law and Order Sub-Committee, Chairman of All Pakistan Paper Merchants Association. Khalil did his masters in Political Science and was accorded with a gold medal for securing top position in his LL.B. He is the executive of A.S. Khalil and Company, which deals in paper business. He also served in various sub-committees of KCCI and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry including Taxation, Banking, Customs and Valuation, Privatization and Communication.

Nov 19 - 25, 2001

PAGE: Being the representative of Pakistan's premier chamber how do you feel about the present regional situation and its fall out on our economy?

A.Q.Khalil: Recent events both in the United States as well as in Afghanistan have their own impact on the economic activity not only in Pakistan but even in the developed world. Since Pakistan is closely related with the war ridden Afghanistan it is the immediate sufferer of the situation. As a result of the on-going US-led war in Afghanistan, Pakistan has lost its total trade with that country. Since Pakistan has been unnecessarily declared in the war zone, most of the import orders especially from the developed world including EU and US have either been cancelled or withheld. The uncalled for levy of war risk surcharge on incoming and outgoing cargo through ocean going vessels or by air has severely hit both imports as well as exports. As a result of these unfavourable developments, it is feared that Pakistan may not be able to hit the export target set for the current financial year by the government.

PAGE: As you said that business activity has been adversely affected because of the current situation, what do you think about the revenue targets set by the government for the current financial year?

A.Q.Khalil: This area of economy is also likely to be hit severely because the business community is not in a position to meet the revenue demands under the prevailing circumstances. It is recommended that government should take a lenient view of the situation and adopt relatively soft attitude in revenue collection campaign in view of the difficult situation.

PAGE: Don't you think that increased cash flow from external resources, waiver of sanctions against Pakistan and enhanced accessibility of Pakistani products in the world market will offset the adverse effects on the economy?

A.Q.Khalil: Certainly, these steps are positive and reassuring for better prospects for the national economy, Pakistan could emerge as a strong economy as a result of these measures. As far as the role of the private sector is concerned to grab opportunity concerned we are fully prepared to play our role. It is however yet to be seen how these incentives are enforced sincerely by the concerned countries.

PAGE: As the president of KCCI and a top leader of business community from Pakistan's largest business centre, how do you see the role of economic managers in pleading Pakistan's case in the United Nations and before the world community?

A.Q.Khalil: As far as the address of President General Pervez Musharraf in the United Nations General Assembly is concerned, it was marvellous. He not only presented Pakistan's case very effectively but also advocated the concerns of Muslim Ummah in a very bold and convincing manner. It is perhaps for the first time that any leader from Muslim country has talked over the issues before the world community. He also handled the situation very ably and the benefits of his efforts are likely to be harvested in future also.

PAGE: War Risk Surcharge has become the most talked about subject especially in the business community. What steps you would suggest handling this issue.

A.Q.Khalil: It is unfortunate that the world insurance company Lloyds has levied this surcharge without proper investigations. Usually before levying this surcharge a thorough investigation is conducted to ascertain whether the country concerned comes in the war zone or not. In fact Pakistan's territorial waters and air territory have nothing to do with any war danger. Before levying this surcharge, the international norms were violated the levy was imposed without investigations. It seems to be a discriminatory attitude of the world insurance sector as our neighbour country India has been spared which certainly gives that country an edge over Pakistan's products. It is strongly suggested that either the case should be immediately handled at the international forum or the government in Pakistan should give the sovereign guarantee against the war risk.