My Hopeful Pakistan

When we are living in times where the democratic transition has recently taken place and a new government has come into power the situation of every other thing seems to remain unchanged or the equation balances out neither in the favor of public nor in the favor of govenment, however probably in the favor of corruption. I hope I'm wrong.

There are both positives and negatives we can see from the budget and overall effects seems to be null, economy might revive and stregnthen but we might end up with no lower class left.

Let's dissect through what has happened so far and we could see what is coming next. 


The current inflation rate is 5.9% and is expected to go up to 6.74%
CPI is 178.65 and expected to reach 178.76
Trade deficit is 213553 Million PKR and is expected to go down to 185049.81 Million PKR
GDP 3.59 and expected to reach 3.65

Since the major import is fuel and major export is cotton and knit wear we are going to suck and suck at it badly. The only game changer is more exports and that is only possible with power. Looking at the current situation in Punjab the agri capital of Pakistan the power condition has only worsen. The line losses and theft being done is at its peak. Hundreds of businesses in the knitwear industry has moved to Bangladesh and this is just going to bleed us to death.

With MNS visiting China and try to make agreements for power, circular railway getting new investments into Pakistan from the old known friend China this is going to pump more into the system for economy to stand and in fact improve.

I was extremely happy to see UK prime minister saying that we will do everything in our power to increase trade with Pakistan, this will improve the numbers and shorten the trade deficit and in turn improving the currency value.

SBP's interest rate lowering is also a very good sign and will help improve bank's position and more consumer lending and investment in private sector and flourishing the economy and with investments coming in from China, banks would be running after business to offer them funds and improving on the overall condition.

The 5 billion loan from IMF looks negative but it is not if honestly and fairly used. The three-year loan will replenish the central bank's reserves and buy time for the government to slash its budget deficit and fix the energy sector.


Taxes and Cost of living:

The taxes are just blatantly harsh and crueller than ever, be it consumer goods or anything else. The government says we are not increasing the GST on basic necessity item, someone tell them you have increased it on fuel and that cost in turn is paid out of consumer pockets and is going to impact all the items that are not being introduced with GST. The fuel charges will impact electricity and that is going to increase the cost of production/processing. From the cost of running the tube well and delivering goods from fields to markets, to wholesalers, retails and at the end to consumer there are at least 5-8 middle men involved and 1% raise on the cost will be raised at every level for the cost of service which impacts to 8% raise in cost.

The 2 billion subsidy for holy month of Ramzan on utility stores accounts to 10Rs per person of the population, what an amazing package. However you and I don't stand in line but do the real needy get's the subsidy provided or is it the Utility stores management and middle men that hoard on it and make profits and the lower class gets beaten and crushed in lines by our amazing policy.

The cellular taxes are just an another example where the government will lose a lot in the sense of income on taxes as top up volumes will go down and telecom companies will try to grab on to their consumers base by packages and will see the downside on their income. Telenor CEO has already threatened to take out the investment for 3G license run. I have already elaborated the cellular top up carnage in details.

Inflation will rise and cost of living is not going to go down at all, in fact it will rise and like crazy. There hasn't been any relief offered to poor except BISP, which is a very good initiative, but we need to help them learn to catch a fish and not give them a fish, hopefully the government offering loans to SME and lower class for business, this hopefully will be used productively and policy succeeds.


Infrastructural development is the major strength of this government and has always been, hopefully the improvement will soon be seen in the form of mass transit system in Karachi, improved roads and development projects in the entire country.


I wish that with all the above economic stabilizing steps government would have thought of decreasing the cost of living but Alas!  I hope and pray that MNS do something about this also and the poor class and lower middle class gets some space to breathe. Economy will flourish as MNS is a business man and he can fix this, he has great business minds around him but the cost of living is going to end the poor and lower middle class and there would not be any left by the time 2015-2016 when economy will be strong enough to sustain for next 10 years.

I have not accounted corruption, internal political, security and foreign factors to this and on top of everything our own personal attitude, becuase we need to change ourselves as well if we want to beat corruption and that is the hardest call to make. Because life is cheaper and justice is overpriced specially for the poor and lower middle class.

I pray that the good things that we could see in the above don't get shot by corruption and Pakistan becomes stronger and powerful with the people of Pakistan, not just on paper and economic crap but in reality on the ground.

Posted in General | 1 Comment

HBL Awesome Bank of Pakistan

HBL – Habib Bank Pvt Ltd. Putting Customer First beyond everything else. The Best Bank of Pakistan HBL

Vision: “Enabling people to advance with confidence and success”
ission: "To make our customers prosper, our staff excel and create value for shareholders"
Customer Focus: "We understand fully the needs of our customers and adapt our products and services to meet these. We always strive to put the satisfaction of our customers first."


On the back of the earlier post some might think that, I'm a lazy A._._.HOLE. Well honestly I'm not. I believe in consumer power and when I'm giving business to an enterprise/ a Bank, I expect the same level of service, even if you are telling me that you can't help me, do it with a smile at least.

Few months back, THE AMAZING(I hope to tell you why he is amazing, but he will beat the shit out of me) Taha Munawar a colleague and a friend pushed me to get an account with HBL and I did. Though I was reluctant and wasn't sure of the level of service and professionalism, moreover the weak internet banking portfolio. I feel happy to say that I was wrong.

The call center experience was on and off, but overall good enough to bear with them. The branch experience on the other hand is amazing, the level of service the staff's professionalism and they sure are eager to please (Islamic branch I.I Chundrigar road, Finlay House Branch). Even though the internet banking is weak but the level of customer service is what puts this bank as a leader in the market no doubt, probably because the level of commitment they have with the county, community, people of Pakistan and being the sons of this soil (Pakistan Locals) as compared to the foreign banks.

Surprisingly cheque book delivered in 3-4 working days and when I went to pick up the cheque book, the guys just asked me to sign a paper and match my signature. Surprising enough he didn't ask for my ORIGINAL CNIC and when I asked him, he said "Sir I'm not a fool, you are present in person, you informed me of your account number and I have verified your signature" that satisfies the KYC requirement set forth by SBP". In your face dear MORONS of STANDARD CHARTERED PAKISTAN. I asked the guy that can I quote you on this and Mr. Yasir said "feel free sir, I stand by it. This is HBL standard". I was so impressed by the level of professionalism, honesty and common sense that guy had. I wish him best of luck for his future and many congrats to the guy who interviewed and hired him. He also did say that you could have sent in your staff with an authority letter and I would have delivered it to him as well, surely with a copy of CNIC would have been great with it.

However there was an issue I faced and for which the complaint is already logged, but still the level of service, response assurance and a sense of reliability that was given even with the complaint is remarkable when it comes to services to the customer.

Cheque book request logged on 27th June on call center and cheque book delivery is still awaited. However request logged with branch on 5th July is honoured and cheque book received on 9th July.

Mr Saddam, from call center was very supportive and helping
Complaint Number#: c09xxxxxxx , 7-10 days of resolution time.

However I was hung up on by a lady in the call center, and may be that is because she was a women and the sense of bullshitting and knowing more and being proud of being a women might have been the reason, she didn't wanted to listen or wanted to prove that she was right and since call center receives more calls compared to the branch there was a delay! yeah what a load of BULLSHIT. She further added that people call to say thank you that they have received their cheque book within 3-4 working days. What load of crap – HORSESHIT ! have you ever called back on the call center to thank them for offering service they are suppose to deliver and on time, ON CALL CENTER… WHAT A SHAME.

See as I stated earlier, I'm not a compulsive cry baby, the level of service received from the bank overall was great at both branch and call center, one stupid lady who was on the band wagon of her "mood swing" cycle cannot destroy the level of service the bank is offering and to me, if they are only delivering what is expected of them is good customer service.

As a consumer I don't want extra, no chairs are needed to be pulled out for me, all I care for is the service to be delivered without bullshitting me or considering me a zombie or a fool. All I care is to get what I deserve as a consumer nothing more. They don't pay me to write any of this nor this has anything to do with the attraction of people for my blog. I don't give a shit if you read this or not, this is just for my own self satisfaction. You like what you read stick around or as I said in my first post "you now the small red button on top of the window that reads X".


Posted in General | Leave a comment

The Morons of Standard Chartered Pakistan

Dear Complaint Department,

This to bring to your kind knowledge that I have been recently exposed to the worst level of service that I have ever faced while banking for past 13 years now.

Recently I ran out of my cheque book of Standard Chartered Bank and being happy to use a huge portfolio and array of services offering internet banking portal, I ordered my cheque book and ironically (probably the worst mistake i ever made) had it delivered to the main branch instead of Al Tijarah branch as main branch is at walking distance from my office at I.I Chundrigar Road.

On May 5th I sent in my office staff with an authority letter, copy of my CNIC, however he was denied my check book and was told that customer has to be present in person. Whereas my office staff did told him that he has his original CNIC and a copy of that on him and he has several times collected my check book from different banks following the same. In the end he was denied.

Today on July 8th 2013, I myself visited the branch and Mr. Manoj Kumar was at the counter it was 3:55pm, he said he would need to see my original CNIC, as I had given him a coloured copy of my CNIC, I offered to give him and attested copy but he said after referring to his manager that he cannot issue me the check book, I need to bring in original CNIC. Later he referred me to Mr. Obaid Pervez -PRM.

Mr. Obaid Pervez after hearing the entire case agreed that the rider should have been given the check book and so did my relationship manager Mr. Syed Muhammad Ghayas, but both said we will investigate on this however since you do not have your original CNIC we cannot issue you your check book.

Please note that I offered them to show a coloured photo ID of my CNIC and attested copy of the CNIC where you can see my picture and also offered to provide them with an authority letter but it was denied.

When I asked Mr. Obaid Pervez for a written reason, he said he will give me the policy and after making me wait for 25 minutes, he said the policy is in our system and I cannot give you a printout however I will log a complain so that call center can send you the document. Also I told them that I will be complaining to your complaint center please provide me your email addresses both the PRM and Account manager said "we cannot send and receive emails from any email account outside the domain of Standard Chartered".  My purpose was to be transparent and give them the opportunity to see the first hand information and be honest about.

I'm highly embarrassed  and disgusted by this attitude and level of service. I would still request a reason for denial of check book hand over in both the above cases and also a logical reason as to why email cannot be sent and received from anywhere but The level of service is just not acceptable.

Since I was told that this is SBP's requirement, I would love to see this written. I went through the entire website of SBP and their circulars on branchless banking and KYC directions and couldn't find such a requirement. Please ensure to mention if this is SBP's policy or bank's internal SOP. Also I would like to know that when a customer is made their CNIC copy is taken for account opening, at least this has been the case in Standard Chartered, why original CNIC show for cheque book and yet you would ask for copy of CNIC before handing over the cheque book.

I have logged the same complaint with call center and would like to receive a document/ in-writing response from the bank side.

Authority letter is also attached for your kind reference.

Your prompt response is highly appreciated!


Muhammad Qasim


Posted in General | 4 Comments

The Cellular Top-Up Carnage Pakistan

There are only two things you can be sure of in life living in Pakistan, death and taxes and both comes in the most harsh form ever especially taxes after what Dar sahab has proposed and will surely be imposed.

The only sector in the country that has progressed even when the country is moving backwards is the telecom sector that growth has been phenomenal, not because of the policies introduced but the potential that Pakistani market holds in the sense of trend, standard of living and security condition in the country, around 1.1 million prepaid subscriber.

The customer base for prepaid segment is already burdened with the taxes on mobile top-ups with this increase below would be the picture.

42% of Load Goes in Taxes and Charges

A customer loading Rs. 100 card will be taxed as following:

§  Initial Load: Rs. 100

§  Remaining amount after WHT (15 percent): Rs. 85

§  Remaining amount after Cellular Charges (7 percent): Rs. 78

After loading a Rs. 100 card, a customer will be left with Rs. 78 of credit for airtime usage. Out of Rs. 78, another 19.5 percent of FED is also deducted

§  Remaining Amount After FED Collection (19.5 Percent): 58.5

Hence, a customer will have to pay Rs. 41.5 out of Rs. 100 in the name of taxes and service charges.

On top of the above for Rs 100 top-up, considering the 1.1 million customer base loading one card a month generates around Rs 110 million in revenue (as 7% cellular charges covering the business expense) the telecom sector pays tax on the generated income to Government of Pakistan.

With all the above said, telecom sector has employed over 100,000+ Pakistanis, moreover the distributors and retailers are earning a living on this. With these cruel taxes we are just pushing the customer to either use landlines or not use cell phones for outgoing calls or lesser top-ups depriving people of services that are convenient but makes there life easier and make them feel secure, connected and safe. Also the market for cell phones devices will also contract as everyone who could afford a cell phone not necessarily would be able to afford using it.

The end result would be lesser top-ups, lesser revenue for telecom sector and lesser collection in taxes for government, which is already making more than reasonable taxes income of consumer already as compared to other countries of the world. This will only drive away the investment made in the sector resulting in weaker economy and burdened middle, lower middle and poor class. And yet with all this we are expecting to sell 3G license which would be of billions and expecting investors will overlook the disasters the taxes will cause to the market.

With the high hopes of masses with the new government to put in something that is going to support and help lower the burdens of cost of living, well the people will not get what is expected but the brutal taxes be it on top-ups or GST which will drive poor more deep into the ground. 

Posted in Finance, General, Life, Non-Sense | 1 Comment