Textile industry, Pakistan's single largest exports
contributor to the tune of over $7 billion is currently passing through
the multi-facet problems especially the fragmentation in the leadership
of the industry led by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA)
resulting serious damage not only to the reputation of this prestigious
sector but also hurting the flow of textile exports from Pakistan.
The controversy was erupted on the results of the
APTMA elections held in October in which the sitting Chairman Waqar
Munnoo had won by two votes over his contestant Shahid Tata. The losing
party, however, did not accept the results and alleged what they called
rigging in the elections. They said that the winning candidate had
allowed such members to cast their votes who were in fact not eligible
to participate in the elections owing to default in the payment of
subscription fees of the membership. Waqar allegedly allowed such
members who belonged to his camp while the similar facility was
disallowed to the members of the opposite camp. Had he provided level
playing ground to the members of both sides, the outcome of the election
would have been different from what it is today.
Consequently, Shahid Tata approached to Federation of
Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for arbitration,
however, Waqar was declared elected on technical grounds, but the tussle
was not over and both the parties were raising accusing fingers at each
other. After a fortnight Shahid Tata convinced the elders of the
industry in his favor and over 26 members of the management committee
decided the ouster of the sitting chairman which obviously was not
acceptable to the sitting chairman.
Now both the parties have again approached to FPCCI
besides the government, Ministry of Commerce, DTO and court with the
claims that both of them were on the right path.
However, the controversy took an ugly turn when the
two groups took control of the APTMA offices in Lahore and Karachi. The
Lahore office was took over by Shahid Tata while the central office was
closed down by Waqar on the grounds what he claimed the threat on his
Consequently, the exports of textile products have
come to a standstill and over 200 containers carrying textile shipments
are held up at Karachi port for want of price check certificates issued
by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).
Anwar Tata, former APTMA Chairman said that it is
unfortunate that the Central Office of APMTA was closed down by Waqar
Munnoo, who has been reportedly ousted by 26 Central Managing Committee
Members in Lahore.
The APTMA office allegedly closed down with the
connivance of the police and may not be resuming its normal functions
until Monday (Nov 24) as Saturday and Sunday are weekly offs while
Friday being the last one of the holy month of Ramazan may also be an
Central Office in Karachi deals with all
international inquiries besides issuing price certificates for clearance
at the customs stage.
Anwar Tata, while commenting on the situation
described it as an unfortunate situation, which may not seriously affect
the export performance of the textile sector but would earn a bad name
for the industry. .
Waqar Munnoo, had his own views about the situation.
He said that he took the decision to close down the offices because,
what he said, of fearing a serious threat to his life from the opposite
However, as far as the issuance of APTMA certificates
for exports consignments was concerned, instructions have been issued to
Lahore office to do the job.He said that he was not in favor of closing
down the central offices, however, this step he took to save his life
and that the office will be reopened as soon as the opposite group gives
undertaking that no physical harm would be done. He regretted that since
they are not serious they are not willing for any undertaking in this
Meanwhile, both the parties including Waqar Munnoo
and Shahid Tata have moved their cases to the Federation of Pakistan
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for arbitration. The
arbitration process will however take some time as the FPCCI would be
appointing a three-member committee of the senior persons of the textile
industry and acceptable to both the parties.
While describing the situation as unfortunate, Anwar
Tata said that we have written to the Federal Minister for Commerce,
Director Trade Organizations (DTO) and all concerned authorities to
intervene into the situation and to take corrective measures so that the
industry affairs could sail in smooth waters.
It is interesting to note that Chinniot Community had
a strong hold over the textile industry for decades in Pakistan. They
always dominate the industry because of unity among themselves and
because of having most of the major textile units in their community.
This is for the first time that they fighting each other and providing
an opportunity of laughter to others who naturally want to grab the
leadership of the premium industry of Pakistan. The case is now with the
FPCCI which about to appoint a three-member committee to look into the
matter and dispense justice to the aggrieved parties. Let us see which
way the wind blows.