It has been very challenging 8 years for me trying to do some revolutionary poverty alleviation work in Pakistan combined with bringing special skills and creating jobs in Pakistan. Most people would have giving up long time ago and many I know have. Unfortunately I am stubborn and get more excited and challenged when things don’t work. As long as I see the “LED” light at the end of the tunnel I will not give up.
Reasons I am having these problems:
1) I prefer using the system and process in place that everyone else uses instead of “Sifarish” or “Favor” from people in Islamabad or at local level.
2) I am not willing to give gifts or bribes.
3) I am not willing to pay huge “Duty” and “Taxes” when exporting my “Alternative Energy” donated products out of KEPZ Karachi into Pakistan.
4) Policy makers and Policy implementers not on same page.
5) Process implementers not accountable, corrupt, and illiterate.
Case 1: Immediately after the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan I had my KEPZ Karachi assembly plant stop everything and assemble 11,500 latest technology LED Flashlights to be rushed to earthquake areas through a highly qualified NGO called NRSP. I personally supervised the completion of these emergency use Flashlights and started export process of donating these free to earthquake areas in December 2005. After all the Red-Tape and Bureaucracy I was able to legally hand over the Flashlights to NRSP in March 2007.
Case 2: In January 2009 I had set a goal of donating 1000 Solar Charged LED Lanterns to 1000 huts in the poorest area of Sehwan Sharif, Dadu District in Sindh. It is now 10 months and I cannot get clearance from customs authority at KEPZ or FBR to export these LED Lanterns out of my KEPZ Assembly plant to a qualified NGO for delivery to 1000 poor households in Sehwan to serve purely donation purpose. The FBR Notification under S.R.O 575 (1)/2006-35 (f) is declaring tax exemption on solar powered lights if certified by AEDB ( Alternative Energy Development Board). NGO gets required certification from AEDB but KEPZ customs authority rejects and now requires written permission from Big Boss in Islamabad FBR office. We are now contacting concerned custom collector to resolve this issue. The story thus goes on and on…..