Message of Mr. A. Hamid Maker, Founder Trustee, Helpline Trust

Hamid-MakerConsumers are the largest stakeholders in any country and in developed countries, they are treated with respect and protected by strong and effective Consumer Protection Laws and Consumer Courts.

In 1962, former US President, John F. Kennedy had told the US Congress: "Consumers, by definition, which, includes all of us, are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting almost every public and private economic decision. But they are the only important group whose views are often not heard".

It has its origins in former US President's declaration of four basic consumer rights:
"The right to safety - The right to be informed - The right to choose - The right to be heard".

To these, the consumer movement has added four more rights: "The right to satisfaction of basic needs - The right to redress - The right to education - The right to a healthy environment".

These eight rights form the basis for ongoing work by Consumers International and Consumer Groups worldwide. They are the principles that provide a framework for strengthening National Consumer Protection policies.

Consumers International (CI) introduced world Consumer Rights Day in 1983 and UN adopted the above guidelines. As such, these rights were elevated to a position of international recognition and legitimacy, acknowledged by developed and developing countries alike.

This day is observed every year on 15 March, for promoting the rights of consumers and for demanding that these rights are respected and implemented to protect consumers from market abuses and social injustices, which undermine them.

In developed countries, governments, the judiciary and even the print media, encourage and support consumer activities, by promoting consumers' rights and demanding strict enforcement of standards and consumer protection laws.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in Pakistan, where consumers are being cheated and poisoned by substandard, adulterated and counterfeit products. While Sindh is still the only province in Pakistan without a Consumer Protection Law and Consumer Courts.

It was Victor Hugo who had said: "All the armies in the world cannot stop the march of an idea whose time has come". The time of consumer protection has come in Pakistan and it is up to us, The Consumers, to become active soldiers in a battle to improve the quality of products and services in Pakistan.

There is an old Chinese saying: "It is better to light a candle, then to rage at the darkness". Let us hope that these Awards will be a candle that will become beacon of light and will help in establishing Consumer Laws and Consumer Rights in Pakistan.
                                                                               JAGO SARFEEN JAGO.