M Jahangir Hayat
Lahore: Directorate General of Trade Organization Director General Mian Riaz Ahmad has said that Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) election will be held as per the set schedule while Punjab Home Department will issue guidelines on section 144 in the province which was imposed as a measure against the COVID-19.
He was talking to Daily The Business on Monday in connection with a raid on the PIAF Founders Alliance Office Opening Ceremony by the local administration.
He said that DGTO has taken the local administration on board for holding election of the Chamber.
“DGTO will appoint its officers at the venue set for holding election who will coordinate with the local administration. So far as the election campaigns are concerned, the leadership of the traders and industrialists should move in accordance with Corona SOPs.
“Whole of world is passing through a very awkward time of the history due the pandemic and it should be dealt with accordingly, “he said, adding that tax bar are never regulated by DGTO and they are free to make their decisions but the case of trade associations and Chambers is different as they are constitutionally bound to hold their election within the given time.
The Covid-19 has changed entire the world and abnormal is now the new normal. We need to adopt the COVID-19 SOPs. Traditional election canvasing is no way possible amid Covid-19 and thus the chambers should go for alternative modes including telephones, whatsApp and other online resources till the things get normal.
The DGTO is playing the role of a facilitator and can never change the Trade Organization Act 2013. As per the Act every licensed trade organisations or chambers has to hold their election every year between July to September, he explained, adding that for any change in the Act Parliament is the proper plate-forum. Only with the act of Parliament election schedule of any trade association and Chamber may be altered or amended.
Earlier, the local administration Saturday raided PIAF-Founders Alliance Office Opening Ceremony and dispersed the people warning them of strict action.
“How can you hold any function without permission and that too amid COVID -19 pandemic,” assistant commissioner Zeshan Ranjha said, raiding the PIAF office Main Boulevard, Gullberg dispersing the businessmen and their leadership from the place.
A good number of traders, industrialists and their top leadership have gathered at the opening ceremony of the PIAF Founder Alliance Election Officer and majority violated the COVID-19 SOPs. The function is held every year and usually takes many hours to accomplish; however, the alliance shut it in minutes.
As soon as the function was started at 4pm just two speeches were delivered while rest of the leadership was left speechless following the local administration raided the event within the minutes.
Pakistan Federation of Chamber of Commerce and industry president Anjum Nisar, Founders Group leadership including Mian Ashraf and PIAF leadership including Numan Kabir, LCCI president Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, LCCI SVP Ali Hussam Asghar, LCCI SVP Mian Zahid Jawed, LCCI executive members including Mardan Ali Zaidi, Pakistan Traders Alliance leadership markets presidents and general secretaries and industrial association officer bearers were present on the occasion.
Following the raid at the opening ceremony of PIAF Founder Alliance Election Office a heated debate has started where the main question has broken the surface weather or not the LCCI Election will be held during the month of September as the DGTO is adamant to hold the LCCI election while the Punjab Health Ministry and local administration is raiding on the election campaigns.