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Sindh to establish provincial consumer courts in coming few months, moot assured.

KARACHI -- Audience of a seminar was given the firm assurance that consumer courts in the Sindh province in accordance with provisions of Sindh Consumer Protection Act-2015 would be established and become functional soon.

The assurance came from the former special assistant to Sindh chief minister and MPA of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party Sharmila Faruqui while speaking as a keynote speaker at a seminar organized by the Helpline Trust to mark the World Consumer Rights' Day.The MPA of PPP Ms. Faruqui was instrumental in preparation and getting passed the Sindh Consumer Protection Bill from Sindh Assembly. The seminar also coincided the date marking the third anniversary when the then Sindh governor assented to the Sindh Consumer Protection Law so it attained the status of an Act.

The audience of the moot was also informed that despite passage of three years the Sindh Consumer Protection Act was yet to be enforced as the Sindh government didn't notify till to date rules of business or allocate the needed budget required for due implementation of the law.

The MPA of PPP said 'I am going to meet the Sindh CM in a day or two to convince him so that he could initiate the steps required to establish the consumer courts in the province in next six to eight months.'

Ms. Faruqui said that she was fully cognizant of the situation that mere passage of the Consumer Protection Law from provincial assembly was not enough as this law should be implemented in letter and spirit to protect lawful rights of consumers in the province.

She said that enforcement of Sindh Consumer Protection Act would provide the much needed mechanism and system to resolve genuine complaints of general consumers and also to duly protect their rights.

The PPP's MPA said that she would make efforts to get notified at the earliest the rules required to implement Sindh Consumer Protection Act as at present the rules drafted by Sindh government's Law Department for the purpose are with the Bureau of Supply and Prices working under the provincial Agriculture Department.

The chief guest of the seminar, President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Muffasar Atta Malik offered to take the issue of formation of the Consumer Courts with the CM Sindh. in his capacity as the representative leader of business and industrialists' fraternity of the city, his services were fully available to convince Sindh CM to establish the consumer courts.

In a presentation on the theme of World Consumer Rights day 2018, "Making digital market places fairer" panelist Ali Kabir Shah of Ali Associates said e-commerce and online shopping service was the emerging new domain where the government should do legislation and adopt firm mechanisms to protect legitimate interests and rights of consumers involved in online buying of products.

He said that at present only Cyber-crime wing of the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) had been tasked to check and prevent all fraudulent and unlawful practices on the Internet. Apart from the FIA, a special agency should be designated to look into genuine complaints and grievances of consumers doing online purchasing of products.

Azam Shakil, Manager Legal and Corporate Affair of English Biscuits explained how in the absence of the Consumer Protection Laws, manufacturers also suffer a loss in market share and reputation through counterfeit products by unscrupulous elements which compromise the health of consumers.

Akhtar Bughio, Director at PSQCA said that National Standards and international compliances have to be met and the provincial bodies being set up need to realize that their standards should not conflict with the national standards.

Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of Helpline Trust and of Sindh Human Rights Commission Justice (retired) Majid Rizvi said that some of the existing lower courts in the province should be designated as Consumer Courts till the time the provincial government established full-time consumer courts in different districts of Sindh as given in the Consumer Protection Act.

Afia Salam, a trustee of Helpline Trust, expressed hope that relevant government authorities would take the steps required to adopt the mechanisms and systems to protect legitimate rights of consumers including establishment of consumer courts.

In his welcome remarks at the seminar, Founder Trustee of Helpline Trust Hamid Maker said it was high time that consumers in Sindh should have the legal recourse of consumer courts available to them to resolve their genuine grievances as had been the system in practice in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mr. Maker said that only consumer courts could safeguard consumers against fraudulent practices including counterfeiting, look alike products fleecing, exploitation, and cheating being used to sell products and services for the maximum financial gain of the sellers and manufacturers.
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Publication:Regional Times (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 17, 2018
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