Author Archives: Emad Sohail

CIPE Pakistan Releases 2014 Activities Report

Pakistan Compliance Photo

Shell Pakistan procurement manager Mehnaz J. Mohajir speaking at a CIPE compliance training event in Karachi in October 2014.

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) has been working in Pakistan for the past eight years encouraging private sector-driven economic reform and increasing the role of the private sector in the country’s democratic process.

CIPE’s Pakistan office just released its 2014 Pakistan Activities Report, which profiles an array of innovative programs that encourage private sector inclusion in the policy-making process. Highlights include:

  • CIPE partner the Policy Research Institute of the Market Economy (PRIME), an Islamabad-based think tank, developed three “scorecards” that track how well the government has implemented its economic reform agenda. The reports are available at These reports show that the government has made little progress toward implementing the reforms promised in its election manifesto.
  • CIPE Pakistan began a new program this year that mobilizes the private sector as a leading force in reducing bribery, extortion, and other forms of corruption. CIPE organized activities with its partner the Overseas Investor Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) to highlight the anti-corruption and corporate compliance issues faced by mid-sized firms seeking to enter global supply chains, and provided training and tools to help these companies develop anti-corruption programs in their organizations.
  • CIPE, its partners, and other organizations continued to organize activities to promote the culture of entrepreneurship in Pakistan. CIPE, in association with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, organized a conference titled “How corruption hampers entrepreneurship?” Students from various universities participated in the discussions and developed a greater understanding of the importance of combating the corrupt practices that hinder business activity in the country.
  • Four key chambers from Karachi, Islamabad, Gujranwala and Faisalabad organized the annual “All Pakistan Chambers President Conference.” This event provided the business community with the opportunity to discuss the government’s performance on economic reforms and share their concerns over the lack of progress in a number of areas.
  • CIPE held workshops and seminars with women chambers to help them build their membership, strengthen their internal governance processes, and improve their management capacity.
  • CIPE continued to work with partners such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the World Bank, and International Finance Corporation (IFC) to press for the implementation of the Rules of Corporate Governance for Public Sector Companies, and to highlight how corporate governance can strengthen family-owned companies.

In 2015, CIPE Pakistan, through the support of its partners and with valuable guidance from its Project Advisory Committee, will continue to serve and strengthen democracy through private sector driven market-oriented reforms.

Read the full 2014 Pakistan Activities Report here.

Emad Sohail is Senior Program Officer for CIPE Pakistan.

Job Seeker or Job Creator? Global Entrepreneurship Week in Pakistan


Entrepreneurship has become a major phenomenon in Pakistan. Among the highlights of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014, local startup “TalLee” was selected for the GEW 50 2014 as one of the top 50 startup ventures from around the world — chosen from among 600 startups from 38 countries.

TalLee sells door bells; the innovation that makes these door bells so special is that they have GSM capability, so that the owner of the house gets a phone call (irrespective of location) and connects with the person who has pressed the doorbell. The idea was conceived by Rafi, who founded TalLee in April 2014 and was offered incubation space at NUST Technology Incubation Center (TIC).

A seminar on Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth was also held in Karachi on November 21, 2014, jointly organized by the Karachi School for Business and Leadership and the National Entrepreneurship Working Group. Various factors that inhibit the growth of entrepreneurship were discussed. Among these, the lack of focus on critical creative thinking in the country’s education system was identified to be a key reason why graduates prefer joining the rank of job-seekers and not creators.

This inspired me to visualize my job hunting days and also to further investigate why critical creative thinking is absent from our education system. In 2004, when I graduated from an engineering university, seeking a job was written on my forehead. Dropping CVs to company after company was foremost on my to-do list, and after several interviews, one company hit me with an unusual question: why don’t you become an entrepreneur?

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Pakistan Celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014


Pakistan is charged up to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2014. GEW has become a yearly phenomenon, with universities, GEW-Pakistan partners, chambers of commerce, and companies all sponsoring events during the week of November 17-23.

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Governance Principles for Business Associations and Chambers of Commerce: Now Available in Urdu

urdu-gov-principlesBusiness associations need strong governance systems and guiding principles in order to effectively serve their members and act as advocates for policy change. In Pakistan, business associations are mostly struggling to adapt effective governing mechanisms that could ease the path to successfully achieving their vision, mission, and objectives.

Societal norms are changing, the business environment is getting more complex and challenging, and following the principles of corporate governance should now be one of the foremost issues that business associations must address.

CIPE has a huge online library of resources and publications through which business associations can get instant guidance and support. In order to facilitate good governance principles within business associations, CIPE and the World Chambers Federation (WCF) developed a guide on Governance Principles for Business Associations and Chambers of Commerce. The guide was originally published in English and subsequently translated in to Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish and Dari languages.

To support and further simplify good governance principles in the country, CIPE Pakistan has produced an Urdu Translation of these principles (available here) for the benefit of business associations all across Pakistan that can be further guided with local language clarity.

Emad Sohail is a Senior Program Officer at CIPE Pakistan.

CIPE Pakistan Releases 2013 Activities Report


CIPE Pakistan has completed its 7th successful year. The 2013 Pakistan Activities Report details the progress of yet another instrumental year for policy reform driven by the private sector in the country.

Following are the highlights of the report:

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When Karachi Bleeds, Pakistan’s Economy Bleeds


The former capital of Pakistan, Karachi, has an ethnically and religiously diverse population of more than more than 22 million, making it the 8th largest city in the world and the number one city for business in the country. But the city has a serious problem with law and order.

Historically a small fishing village, Karachi has now turned into Pakistan’s biggest commerce and industrial center, home to the headquarters of all major banks public and private along with major foreign multinational corporations, the Karachi Stock Exchange (the largest stock exchange in Pakistan), international trade, an Expo Center, the largest port, the central bank, and major infrastructural and socio-economic projects, all of which have transformed this city into the well-developed financial capital of the country.

In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan. Karachi accounts for the lion’s share of GDP and revenue, generating over 65 percent of the total national revenue and producing about 42 percent of value added to large scale manufacturing and 25 percent of the GDP of Pakistan. Pakistan’s informal sector (especially based in Karachi), comprised of thousands of small-scale entrepreneurs ranging from street vendors to restaurants to electricians, plumbers, and even doctors and lawyers, has also made great contributions to the economy which don’t always show up in the official numbers.

However, the economic engine of Pakistan is also one of its most dangerous cities. Curiosity Aroused rated Karachi on No. 8 on a list of the 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the world in 2013. According to the statistics released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 1,726 people were killed in the first six months of 2013. The business community, which is suffering a lot in Karachi, is very much concerned about deteriorating law and order situation and wants political and ethnic serenity in which Karachi’s business prevails. Karachi’s traders and businessmen are forced to pay extortion money to several extortionist groups in the city. For Karachi, 2013 will be a record year of extortion demands.

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Branding, Trademarks, and Intellectual Property Rights for Pakistan’s Women Entrepreneurs

“Developing countries fail to maximize their most valuable resource – their people – when they disenfranchise half of the population from political and economic life, losing much creative and intellectual capacity needed for democratic and economic development….”  Sandra E. Taylor  

Despite many barriers to women entrepreneurs in Pakistan, women run and operated businesses are hugely important in Pakistan’s economy — and with greater empowerment they could strengthen it even further.

Most Pakistani women entrepreneurs are SME and micro business owners working in sectors such as homemade textile, furniture, food items, fashion design, and jewelry where branding, trademarks, and intellectual property can make a big difference. To advocate the importance of intellectual property rights (IPRs) among women chambers and women entrepreneurs as an important part of business development, CIPE partnered with the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan to organize a workshop on this subject in Lahore for women entrepreneurs.

The topic of the workshop was “Developing a Link between Branding and Trademarks and on Understanding Utility of Industrial Design.” Nearly 150 active women entrepreneurs from various cities of Punjab and Baluchistan enthusiastically participated. At the outset of the event, CIPE Pakistan Country Director Moin Fudda spoke about CIPE programs and their successful initiatives especially in the area of policy advocacy for digital IPR, women’s entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment.

Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, Chairman of IPO Pakistan, and Sajjad Ahmed, Director General of IPO Pakistan, shared opening remarks for IPO Pakistan and Women Entrepreneurs and Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal delivered a keynote address on the importance of IPR. IPO Pakistan appreciated the efforts of CIPE in promoting intellectual property rights among women entrepreneurs of Punjab.

Attendees got a chance to interact with fellow entrepreneurs and exchanged success stories. They learned the concepts of IP rights, protection of IPR, trademarks, service marks, patents, branding, the impact of piracy, and business promotion. They also received guidance on resolving their IP issues during the consultation sessions, which were run through brand managers and lawyers. An instant achievement of this awareness workshop was that the bulk of the women entrepreneurs were very keen to register their IP rights and receive protection of their innovations.

Emad Sohail is Program Officer for CIPE Pakistan.