Aug 11 - 17, 2003 




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.

PAGE: Karachi 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.

PAGE: Home 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?

AHMED IQBAL: 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 previous year.

PAGE: 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.



PAGE: 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?

AHMED IQBAL: 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 isolation.