PESHAWAR - Importers hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have urged the government to lift the ban on import items for next three months to prevent importers from huge financial and other losses.

The demand was made by a delegation of importers led by Importers Association President Sultan Khan during a meeting with Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Hasnain Khurshid Ahmad here at the chamber’s house on Wednesday. Other members of the delegation comprised Abdul Hakim Shinwari, Saleem Khan, Haji Qadir, Laiq Khan, Haji Tariq Jamil, Khan Muhammad, Haji Aazazai, Zahid, Qais and Arif.

Imran Khan Mohmand, senior vice president of the chamber, and former president SCCI Zahidullah Shinwari were present in the meeting. The delegation apprised the SCCI chief about apprehensions of importers regarding ban on imported items, owing to which, they were facing difficulties and losing investment worth billions of rupees since imposition of the  decision.

The move would bring negative impacts on the national economy and bilateral trade, the participants warned. Trade and businesses are often attached with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republic countries, Hasnain Khurshid told the meeting. He added KP business community was mostly associated with import and export business, which are facing severe hardships after imposition of ban on imported items. The SCCI chief said importers have played a pivotal role in boosting bilateral trade between Pakistan and other countries.

The chamber’s president said: “It is imperative that the central government should revise its decision while keeping in view the prevailing situations.” “Restriction on import items will open new ways for smuggling,” Hasnain warned.

Owing to the gap between supply and demand, the SCCI’s chief also cautioned the developing scenario would lead to a trend of self-made prices (monopoly) in the market. Hasnain Khurshid said massive investment has been made in the import sector and attached employment of a large number of people with it.

He continued: “It is quite difficult for importers to switch over to other business while the investment is blocked due to sudden ban.” Therefore, the SCCI’s chief urged the government to suspend the ban for next three months so that it would ease out difficulties of importers as well as boost up bilateral trade and business.