Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi has stressed the need to give a jump start to the Maritime Sector of Pakistan by exploring the abundant untapped natural resources available in this particular sector which can only be done by joining hands with the business community.
“GDP growth can be doubled or even tripled by paying attention to and staying focused on the Maritime sector”, he added. Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI0) on Wednesday, the Naval Chief said Pakistan is blessed with abundant natural resources at its coastal belt but unfortunately, most of these resources remain unexplored and neglected which was the basic reason why he formulated three pillars of his Command Vision soon after assuming charge as Naval Chief, of which one pillar is to jump start the maritime sector.
Chairman Karachi Port Trust Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairman BMG and Former President Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Senior Vice President Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, Vice President Rehan Hanif, Former Presidents Mian Abrar, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Younus Muhammad Bashir & Shamim Ahmed Firpo along with KCCI Managing Committee members were also present on the occasion.
Naval Chief further stated that Maritime Sector was currently being governed by nine Ministries which has to be reconsidered and the entire maritime sector should be brought under one Ministry in which those individuals should only be appointed who have the expertise, knowledge, experience and they fully understand the intricacies of this sector as not every bureaucrat could fully understand the intricacies of this important sector.
He said that although the Ministry of Ports & Shipping has been renamed as Ministry of Maritime Affairs, but this was not enough as lots of real reforms have to be introduced in this Ministry. “It is not going to be an easy task to implement reforms as the bureaucracy has been resisting them but we will try our best to get the reforms implemented”, he added.
Referring to lack of maritime education in Universities across Pakistan, he said that not a single university exists across the country where students could get education on maritime subjects. In this regard, Pakistan Navy is willing to introduce Center of Excellence on Oceans and Maritime Subjects at Bahria University and eventually create a Maritime University along with a Maritime Science & Technology Park.
He informed that Maritime Works Organization will also be established as the country lacks expertise on setting up coastal infrastructure, ports and harbors. “If we have to construct a jetty, we hire foreign experts as we don’t have the expertise available in Pakistan”, he said, adding that no expertise is available for Offshore Resources Exploitation hence, Maritime Works Organization will be a core organization which will be established under joint ventures but eventually it will become self-sufficient.
He further informed that the Prime Minister has given approval for setting up a shipyard at Gwadar with a capacity to construct 600,000 tons ship. More shipyards are needed in Karachi which will be created in collaboration with the private sector, he said and invited the business community to invest in shipyard business keeping in view the strategic location of Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli stated that it was for the very first time in the history of Karachi Chamber that a Naval Chief has visited this Chamber.
Congratulating the Naval Chief for taking the initiative, he hoped that Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Staff will also follow this trend as the actual fight for survival around the world has now shifted from battlefields to the Economic Front.
“Naval Chief’s presence at Karachi Chamber shows his strong commitment to maintain maximum interaction with the business and industrial community which would be beneficial for the entire country. Direct interaction of the business and industrial community with the Heads of the Armed Forces was a must to fill the gap. It is encouraging to see that the situation has been improving as the Army Chief and Corps Commander often hold interactions with Karachi Chamber which proves beneficial for the entire country and clears numerous misunderstandings. We must come forward and join hands to collectively devise strategies in the interest of the country”, he added.
“Our objective is to build new and strong relations with Pakistan Navy which would certainly prove beneficial for the country”, Siraj Teli said and hoped that the visit of Naval Chief results in starting a new trend in which it becomes a routine of every Naval Chief to visit KCCI at least twice or thrice during his tenure and maintain strong interaction with the business and industrial community of Karachi.
He further informed the Naval Chief that the business and industrial community of Karachi has been playing the lead role in the economic development of Pakistan by contributing over 60 percent revenue to the national exchequer and 20 percent to GDP growth. “But, unfortunately, our contribution has not been acknowledged neither by the present government nor by previous governments. Politicians usually deny our contribution, continue to squeeze us and take away all the benefits from this city and when it comes to giving back something to this city, none of them even show the intent to work sincerely for this city”, he added.
He said that representatives of Karachi Chamber at Boards of Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim Authority have been giving invaluable inputs and suggestions since many years on how to improve ports and other relevant operations which was really essential for the economic development of the country.
He said that Karachi Chamber has been dedicatedly serving the business and industrial community and has been vocally raising voice for NFC Awards, political uncertainty, law & order situation and other issues affecting Karachi city and its business and industrial community.
Referring to the Pakistan Navy’s presentation given during the meeting which focused on highlighting the potential of maritime sector, Chairman BMG underscored the need to form a committee comprising at least three representatives of Karachi Chamber and the same number of representatives from Pakistan Navy in order to further explore and study the opportunities available in the maritime sector.
All the potential areas in maritime sector identified by Pakistan Navy should be thoroughly reviewed by the proposed Committee in order to see what can be done and how KCCI can assist in attracting potential businessmen and investors, besides facilitating joint ventures and collaborations in this particular sector, he said, adding that development work on many sectors including wind power is already underway and some projects have been established hence, the potential areas have to be reexamined by the proposed committee.
Siraj Teli also underscored the need to ease the security measures at the coastal belt in order to promote maritime tourism.
He was of the opinion that a trend has emerged nowadays as everyone including the armed forces, politicians and business community want to do irrelevant work instead of focusing on their own work. “Politicians want to become businessmen, Businessmen want to become politicians and Officers of the armed forces want to do politics, which has resulted in ruining the very fabric of society. We should discuss all these things and make a resolve on how to run this country”, he added.
Vice Chairman BMG and Former President KCCI Anjum Nisar, in his remarks, said that it was really heartening to note that Pakistan Navy has finally realized the important role which can be played by the business and industrial community in the development of maritime sector. The huge Exclusive Economic Zone available at the coastal belt of Pakistan with abundant natural resources needs to be explored and Pakistan Navy’s intention to engage the private sector would certainly prove fruitful, he opined. He was of the opinion that business community should be fully allowed to explore investment opportunities in maritime sector and also provided one window operations to facilitate investment in this sector.
Earlier, while welcoming the Chief of Naval Staff, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik said, “Pakistan Navy is undoubtedly the pride of Pakistan. It has a very significant role in the defense of Pakistan. It is really heartening to see that Pakistan Navy has achieved astounding success with the passage of time by achieving numerous milestones.”
He was of the opinion that in the current global scenario and with increasing tension at the border, the need for improving the country’s defense capabilities has greatly increased and it was encouraging to see that Pakistan Navy has been proactively working to enhance its capacities.
Since Chief of Naval Staff assumed charge around 3 months ago, Pakistan Navy is particularly focusing on indigenous development hence, it can be anticipated that more indigenous weaponry and other warfare equipment and gadgets will also be introduced during his tenure, resulting in further strengthening the Naval fleet of our beloved country, he hoped.
President KCCI further stated that it was now even more important to have secure maritime environment in context of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC holds great promise for the progress of the country but at the same time it has added new dimension to the overall threat spectrum. “We highly appreciate and warmly welcome Pakistan Navy’s commitment and readiness to effectively protect our maritime frontiers, including Gwadar Port and CPEC projects against all challenges and threats”, he added.
While appreciating the first visit by Chief of Naval Staff to Karachi Chamber and paying glowing tribute to Naval Chief who has been working very hard to improve the efficiency and readiness of Pakistan Navy, Muffasar Malik extended full support and cooperation of the business and industrial community of Karachi for capacity escalation of the Naval fleet.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi NI(M) presenting souvenir to Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President Karachi Chamber Siraj Kassam Teli and President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik during his visit to KCCI on Wednesday. Vice Chairman BMG and former President Anjum Nisar, Chairman Karachi Port Trust Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar, Rear Admiral Habib ur Rehman Qureshi, Rear Admiral Sajid Wazir, Rear Admiral Ather Mukhtar, Senior Vice President KCCI Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, Vice President KCCI M. Rehan Hanif and former President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo are also present at the meeting.