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
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.