From KHALID BUTT, Lahore
May 15 - May 21, 2006

A leading captain of industry and Senior Vice President of LCCI Mr. Abdul Basit, has expressed serious concerns about safe environment for investment in the country. The LCCI SVP in an exclusive interview with PAGE has made a strong case for both the President and the Prime Minister to take urgent notice of the unchecked activities of the "Qabza Groups" and take remedial measures without any delay. Basit, one of the most active LCCI office-bearers, feels the matter has to be given highest priority starting from cabinet ministers at Federal and Provincial levels being strictly told to lay off extending any support to the mushrooming qabza groups. When the President talks of a policy of removing all impediments for smooth flow of foreign investment he must first ensure concrete and visible safeguard for local investors, as none seem to exist right now. How can foreign investors be expected in such a dicey climate, he says with all the seriousness at his command. Expansion of industry is pivotal to any poverty alleviation programme but how can you expect any progress when such a situation of unchecked qabza groups are creating all sorts of problems in the country. What is more, these elements have powerful backing in the government, police, revenue officials and at other related administrator levels. He quotes his personal example of having purchased 38 acres for an industry having fully paid the price for a plot of land near Pattoki. But powerful local influentials helped by officials, police and patwaris even after 2 years wont let them get the deed of the land be transferred despite his best efforts. He says such were his fears that anything could happen to him including danger of his life but he wants the matter to be highlighted for the collective good of all. The LCCI SVP has urged the government to come out with a clear cut stand as it so happens even framing of laws on special issues cannot help it they are not implemented. This, he declared, was happening in case of qabza groups everywhere but government was still talking about policy to attract foreign investment which makes the whole this quite strong and illogical.