Karachi, April 19, 2016 (PPI-OT):Inaugurating an exhibition of products crafted by local female entrepreneurs on Sunday afternoon, S.M. Muneer, Chairman of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), said that export deals worth $700 million dollars had been concluded with importers overseas. Speaking after inaugurating the Spring Festival Expo 2016, sponsored by the Karachi Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KWCC and I), he said that this was owing to the hard work by our commercial counsellors and embassies’ staff overseas, as well as officers of TDAP.
Muneer shared that Pakistan was to participate in 140 exhibitions this year, which include both general and specialised exhibits. He invited entrepreneurial women to participate in these exhibitions and said they should approach the TDAP which would certainly help them. All of it though, he said, would have to be on merit.
The TDAP chief exhorted the women entrepreneurs to unite and add to the membership of the women’s organisations. Talking about his organisation, he said that three years ago corruption to the tune of Rs13 billion had been unearthed which had this year been reduced to zero, claiming that he had saved the government anything between Rs500million and Rs600 million.
Praising the initiative of the women entrepreneurs in organising the festival, which was also meant to honour the late Fatima Surayya Bajjia for her role in the uplift of women, Muneer invited women to forge more such organisations and said that the government would be ever-ready to help them.
He expressed happiness over the fact that women from the farthest corners of the country had come to attend the conference and display their wares. Earlier, Muneer inaugurated the stalls of various articles crafted by women and women’s organisations, 59 of them in total. Later, he cut his birthday cake as, incidentally, his birthday fell on Sunday too.
“A progressive nation has to have a robust economy and women, if facilitated in earnest, can do a lot in that direction,” said Muneer. Mehreen Elahi, acting vice-president of the KWCC and I, in response to Muneer’s exhortation to increase the membership, asked him to favour them with funding for at least a year till the organisation could stand on its own feet.
WCC and I President Seeda Bano lauded Muneer’s role in helping set up the chamber. She regretted that there were very few Pakistani women in the export business, especially when compared to India, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh, and said that it was her mission to induct as many women as possible into the business.
She named Asma Aamir and Asma Rehman who had been exhibiting their products in India very successfully as models of success. Dr Samiyah Tasleem, a doctorate holder in microbiology at the University of Karachi, at her stall, displayed an ointment that was meant to be a highly effective remedy for burns and skin infections.
Next to hers, was a stall by a lady who had been widowed around three years ago and who was sustaining herself by crafting hand-made items (crocheted) key chains and jewellery boxes. There was also a stall of the products by the design department of the Indus University, and another that was manned by a woman named Anum Zaib selling fancy hand bags and Kohlapuri sandals.
Then, there was a stall displaying organically grown vegetables manned by Mrs Raheela Irfan. The background to this, she said, was that her son was stricken with an incurable ailment (which she did not identify) and said that they took to each and every country imaginable for treatment but to no avail.
Everywhere, she said, they were told that there was no cure for the ailment. The only possible cure, they were told, could be a radically altered lifestyle. So, Raheela and her family started changing their dietary habits and other living aspects, and she had samples of those vegetables on display at the stall.
One of the on-site managers of the stalls said, “While some go yelling to the world about the cruelties being heaped on women in Pakistan, we want to tell the world equally strongly about the opportunities women have in Pakistan and how so many women are benefitting from such opportunities.”
For more information, contact:
Karachi Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KWCCI)
Acting Vice President: Mehreen Ilahi
KWCCI Dist East
204, Jason Trade Centre, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi, Pakistan