MUHAMMAD AHMED IQBAL BALUCH, is a young
entrepreneur and running his business in Karachi as the Chief Executive
of White House Securities (Pvt) Ltd. Commerce graduated from University
of Karachi, Ahmed Iqbal has a long association with the capital market.
Ahmed Iqbal has a deep insight about the economic development in the
country and sees a bright future of the country in the years to come.
His father, Sardar Haji Mohammad Iqbal Baluch, was a prominent
personality of Balochistan as well as Karachi. He was twice elected as
the father of the city in early 50s. President Field Marshal Mohammad
Ayub Khan in recognition of his outstanding social and economic services
had accorded him with certificates of appreciation. In 1950, his father
had submitted a plan with the federal government for the development of
Gwadar as the second port city of Pakistan.
Stock Exchange has created history by breaching the KSE index by over
4200 points. How do you see this level of growth?
AHMED IQBAL: Of
course, KSE has made history by attaining new heights. The outstanding
achievement by KSE was the result of a combination of things, which
include administrative discipline and various reforms introduced by SECP.
Besides that the economic decisions and reforms introduced by present
government also helped building up the confidence of the investors which
in fact had badly shattered due to in-consistency in the policies of
different governments in the past. Among the important factors behind
the improved performance of the Karachi Stock Exchange, was the best
place invest. Although the real estate sector was also attracting a
large portion of the savings, yet the KSE was more attractive because
easy liquidation of the shares as compared to the property liquidation.
Karachi Stock Exchange is one of the best stock markets in the world and
has the depth and capacity even to go beyond 500 points in near future.
remittances by overseas Pakistanis have taken a quantum jump during last
financial year ending on June 30, 2003 where it was estimated at over $4
billion. Do you think this sector will repeat its performance during the
current financial year as well?
Certainly yes, as earlier said that
the economic policies have restored the confidence of the investors as
well as non-resident Pakistanis. While the improved exchange rates and
growing stability of Rupee were the factors, which pushed up the flow of
home remittances through official channels. Another factor behind marked
growth in home remittances was the close scrutiny of the bank deposits
of immigrants including of Pakistanis. These factors forced the
immigrants to find their homeland comparatively a better place for
keeping their hard-earned money. Hopefully, the cash flow during the
current financial year would even better than the performance of the
Investment trend changed following the improvement in exchange rate in
Pakistan as well as stability in Pak Rupee against dollar. Do you see
that the current stability would also prevail in the coming days.
AHMED IQBAL: You
are right that the stability of the currency in Pakistan helped in doing
away with the culture of dollarization. The targets for exports, imports
are based on the assumption that the current exchange rate would
continue to prevail during the year. There are strong indications that
not only the current exchange rate would prevail in future but hopefully
continue to gain strength.
Originally, you belong to Gwadar. Currently, Gwadar is being developed
as a second port city of Pakistan. Do you think people of Balochistan
would welcome and help in the development of this prestigious project?
Really, it is a very pertinent
question and the answer to this question is very important for removing
the misconception about the people of Balochistan. Actually, the
elements of vested interests have painted an ugly picture about the
behavior of the people of Balochistan. Contrary to that concept the
people of Balochistan are so accommodating and flexible that they adjust
themselves in the environment they live. For example when they settled
in Punjab they adjusted themselves in accordance with the norms of that
area. Similarly, a large population of Balochis was living in the
province of Sindh and has opted for the culture of that province. While
living in urban areas like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, they molded
themselves in the local requirements. Hence, they are friendly with the
people of different origins and settled or living in Balochistan. They
never created fuss or ethnic differences with any community in Pakistan.
People of Balochistan are happy over the development
of Gwadar port and hopefully this project would fulfil the economic
dreams not only of the people of Balochistan but the entire nation. As
far as the attitude of the Sardars was concerned, influential people
behave in the same fashion irrespective their place or origin, be it the
province of Punjab, NWFP or Sindh. So that is the pattern of the society
wherever you may go and Balochistan alone should not be seen in