SEMINAR: Counterfeiting termed threat to health and safety

KARACHI: Counterfeiting is a threat to our health and safety as it causes heavy losses to the economy. “I assure you that government will not let counterfeiters free or unchecked in the city,” said Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Commissioner Karachi while addressing the 2nd Seminar on “combating counterfeiting” on occasion of World Anti Counterfeiting Day 2015, jointly organized by Helpline Trust and The consumers Eye Pakistan (TCEP) in collaboration with Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan IPO.

Commissioner Karachi said: “I am fully aware about the growing menace of counterfeit products and have already launched crack down in the city in this connection. Our task force teams regularly visit markets, stores, factories, and open bazaars to combat Counterfeit products.” Siddiqui also acknowledged organizers’ efforts relating to protecting consumers’ rights in Pakistan.

Chairman Consumers Eye Pakistan, Umar Ghauri, in his key note speech stressed critical need to combat counterfeiting and piracy, which has also been found linked to public safety issues. He said that in the absence of counterfeit specific laws, special courts and delay in justice are hampering efforts to curb the spread of counterfeit goods in the country.

“A strict and forceful enforcement of existing laws is needed to control the proliferation of counterfeit products which put human lives at risk. Chairman TCEP further said that the sale of counterfeit products, in particular, has become so widespread that according to some circles almost 65% of consumer goods having sold in the country are look alike of original products.

Hamid Maker founder trustee of Helpline Trust in his opening remarks asked for strict Consumer Protection Law to combat counterfeiting and provide protection to industry as well as consumers. He warned: “If we allow this illegal business to carry on unchecked, then we too are equally guilty of this crime.” He pointed out that lack of counterfeiting enforcement laws has tarnished our image in the international community and has had a negative effect in the investment climate, as nobody wants to invest in a country where laws are not respected nor enforced.

Abdul Qadir Orakzai, Registrar, Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO) briefly described about the intellectual property rights in Pakistan and stressed the need to register trade marks and patents to curb Counterfeiting in Pakistan. Rasim Khan Editor Consumer Voice Magazine presents his presentation and speaks about media’s role in Anti counterfeiting. In other Guest Speakers who spoke on the occasion were Nazeer Hussain Malhan Director Standardisation PSQCA, Abrar-ud-Din, C.E.O, Naheed Supermarket, Ghulam Umar Kazi Director International Relation PSQCA, Tahir Rizvi CEO OneApple and Haroon Rasheed an Financial Analyst. The speakers had stated that counterfeit goods including food and medicine products are not only a serious health hazard, but they cheat the government of revenue, infringe on intellectual property rights of the original manufacturer, have a negative effect on investment and tarnish the image of Pakistan. They highlighted the harm that they were doing to the economy and to the health of the consumers and emphasized the need for action against the dangers of counterfeit products including food and life saving drugs in Pakistan.

The seminar covered a wide range of topics relating to anti counterfeiting activities, intellectual property rights, consumer protection laws and quality standards, enforcing laws and the role of Consumer NGOs protecting consumers. The seminar was attended by a large number of personalities, representatives from corporate sector, and representatives of NGOs, social workers students, volunteers, print and electronic media personals.