Extortion: KCCI president urges traders to stay united

By Kazim Alam, The Express Tribune

KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Saeed Shafiq has said the business community should not play into the hands of vested interests who want to divide it along ethnic lines.

Speaking at the annual dinner of the Karachi Iron and Steel Merchants Association (Kisma) on Tuesday night, Shafiq called on traders to fight the menace of extortion in the city. “Don’t surrender to extortionists. Forge unity and stick together.”

He highlighted the efforts of KCCI to curb extortion in Karachi. Citing a recent example, he said a trader in Bahadurabad market had been receiving threats from extortionists and when he refused to give them the money, they hurled a hand grenade into his house.

Shafiq said KCCI took up the matter at the highest level in the Sindh government. “I’m pleased to say that those extortionists are now behind bars.”

KCCI, which represents 17,000 businesses of Karachi, has been facing opposition from a representative group of small traders for many months. All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir, who was also present at the dinner, has criticised the KCCI for its response to government’s “inaction against extortionists.”

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Vice President Khalid Tawab said the main reason for lack of investment in Karachi was poor law and order.

He said if any steel trader working in Sirya and Moeen markets of Karachi received a “parchi” from an extortionist, he could directly contact him on the phone.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22, 2011.

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