Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Siraj Kassam Teli has requested all political parties including PTI, PPP, PML-N, MQM and others to set aside their differences for the sake of Karachi which is the industrial, business and financial hub of the country, contributing more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer yet the city remains deprived of basic infrastructure facilities therefore, they (the political parties) must work collectively for this city.
Speaking as Chief Guest at the inauguration ceremony of 16th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition at Karachi Expo Center on Friday, Chairman BMG added, “Instead of creating hindrances, let every political party do the work in the interest of Karachi while PPP should embrace all of them which, if done, would certainly go in favor of Karachi and its citizens will surely be benefitted.”
Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani, Vice Chairmen BMG Zubair Motiwala and Anjum Nisar, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, Chairman Special Committee for My Karachi Muhammad Idrees along with Consul Generals of friendly countries including USA, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Russia, Philippines, Thailand, Qatar and Kenya etc. attended the inauguration ceremony while Former Presidents KCCI, Exhibitors and other important dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
On behalf of Aqeel Karim Dhedhi who was also present at the inauguration ceremony and also on his personal behalf, Siraj Teli offered to sit in between both the political parties at the Federal and provincial governments as mediators for resolving their differences and for the sake of betterment in Karachi.
Siraj Teli said, “Many people say Karachi is mini but I don’t agree with them and I always reiterate that Karachi is Pakistan as without Karachi there is no Pakistan.”
He commented that although the law and order situation has improved but the infrastructure, particularly roads all overs the city were in a pathetic state which require special attention. “We have been contributing 70 percent to the national exchequer and we don’t mind contributing even 90 percent but we need basic infrastructure particularly roads, gas, electricity and water etc. Therefore, all political parties should be on one page as far as the infrastructure improvement in Karachi is concerned”, he added while underscoring the need to release enhanced funds for the development of Karachi.
While paying glowing tribute to all the exhibitors particularly the Consulates for constantly supporting KCCI’s My Karachi Exhibition since its inception in 2004, Siraj Teli said that they all have proved themselves of being true Karachiites by constantly supporting and participating in this Exhibition.
Highlighting the theme of My Karachi Exhibition, he said that the name “My Karachi’ signifies that everyone who lives in this city takes ownership while the theme “Oasis of Harmony” depicts the city of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-language and multi-sectarian people from all walks of life who are living together peacefully with complete harmony.
Siraj Teli pointed out that My Karachi was initiated in 2004 when terrorism activities were taking place in different parts of Karachi which was a huge city spread over a land of more than 3500 sq. kilometers but the western media was misreporting by portraying the entire city as unsafe therefore, KCCI decided to counter all such misconceptions by highlighting the positive image of Karachi through this exhibition.
He opined Karachi is a safe city where all businessmen, industrialists and even foreigners move freely every day without any problems thanks to Karachi Operation initiated in 2013 which was agreed upon by all three tiers of the government including the federal, provincial and local governments. “Consequently, Karachi’s previous status of being the City of Lights has been restored and it has become much safer as compared to what it had been in the past. Rangers, Police and other Law Enforcing Agencies have played a commendable role and they all deserve to be appreciated”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani appreciated Karachi Chamber for regularly staging My Karachi Exhibition as the city desperately needs such positive and healthy activities which would encourage foreigners to visit Karachi.
While advocating Siraj Teli’s point of view about Karachi, Saeed Ghani also stated that ‘Karachi is Pakistan’ which unfortunately has not received the political freedom despite the fact that the entire politics of the country is controlled from Karachi. “Improvements in Karachi will only happen when its inhabitants are given the freedom to choose representatives which unfortunately has not happened since last three decades, resulting in intensifying the hardships for this city”, he opined.
“People of Karachi must get their rights and freedom to cast their vote as per their will otherwise the situation will never improve”, he stressed, adding that the province was not getting its due share from the national exchequer which creates a lot of liquidity problems for Sindh government. “All these are genuine issues that require attention and we are ready to sit with anyone including PTI to get them resolved in the larger interest of the country and the city”, he added.
He said that it was really unfortunate that people, instead of correcting themselves, were busy in giving suggestions on how to correct others which is one of the major reasons for so many problems being suffered by the country.
Saeed Ghani said that Sindh government wants to take remedial measures but it needs support of the Business and Industrial community. “Karachi will only improve when all the departments stay focused on their own work only”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala requested members of the Diplomatic Corps to tell the world that Karachi is a peaceful city where a lot of bustling economic activities were taking place each day. “You must send a communique to your respective country that everything in Karachi is fine and it is a very peaceful place which, if done, would certainly send a positive signal to the rest of the world”, he added and stressed that the negative travel advisories being issued about Karachi need to reviewed and changed to positive.
In his welcome address, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while highlighting the salient features of My Karachi Exhibition, said that My Karachi provides exhibitors and visitors with excellent opportunities to explore trade possibilities and realize the true potential of Karachi and its natural beauty, traditions and cultural heritage.
He said that the overall economic impact of Karachi Operation was very positive and should remain so at all times. However, the high incidence of crimes particularly the street crimes should also be dealt with on urgent basis to a level that even the foreigners could roam around in the city without any fear.
While stressing the need to depoliticize police, he said that intense training, strict vigilance, provision of necessary gadgets, arms, ammunition, bullet proof jackets & vehicles and complete transformation of police stations as per international practices have to be done to improve local policing and ensure long lasting peace in Karachi. All these measures would enable the policemen to swiftly respond in case of any untoward incident and minimize the public grievances, he added.
He said that the city has already suffered a great deal at different fronts and with PTI government, the business community expects to see Karachi regaining its past glory soon. “Karachi is ideally placed to reap the benefit of Blue economy for being blessed with a wide coastline of recreational marine activities”, he added.