Sunday, March 30, 2008

Karachi Peace Essential For Pakistan Economy

The business community in Karachi welcomed the support of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement for the new prime minister Mr. Gillani. Good relations between Pakistan People’s Party and the MQM are considered vital for the business community in Pakistan.

According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Shamim A. Shamsi, president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged the new team to revisit economic policy issues and resolve them for the good of the people.

“It was wise of the PPP to take the MQM on board as it is an integral part of the current reality of the province. The decision bodes well for Karachi and therefore the country,” Majyd Aziz, a senior leader of the business community, said.

Peace in Karachi is considered crucial for Pakistan's economic growth and prosperity. According to Wikipedia, Karachi is the financial capital of Pakistan and the biggest port city; it accounts for the lion's share of GDP and revenue. It generates over 65% of the total national revenue (federal and provincial taxes, customs and surcharges. Karachi produces about 42 percent of value added in large scale manufacturing and 25% of the GDP of Pakistan. In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan.

Most of Pakistan's public and private banks are headquartered on Karachi's I.I. Chundrigar Road, while most major foreign multinational corporations operating in Pakistan have their headquarters in Karachi. The Karachi Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in Pakistan, and is considered by many economists to be one of the prime reasons for Pakistan's 8% GDP growth across 2005. During the 1960s, Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the world, and there was much praise for the way its economy was progressing. Many countries sought to emulate Pakistan's economic planning strategy and one of them, South Korea, copied the city's second "Five-Year Plan" and World Financial Center in Seoul is designed and modeled after Karachi.

In the past, the clashes between the ruling parties and the MQM, Karachi's biggest political force, have resulted in serious economic difficulties in Pakistan. The last several years, however, have seen robust economic growth and a close cooperative relationship between the MQM and the ruling coalition in Islamabad. Any progress toward maintaining a positive relationship between the MQM and the PPP would go a long way in sustaining Pakistan's economy for the benefit of the entire nation.

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