Engineering Post in conversation with Engr. Khalid Pervez Chairman IEEEP Karachi Center
Pakistan has seen a very tumultuous past in its very short life of 75 years. From almost going bankrupt immediately after creation to becoming one of the most rapidly advancing countries in the world in 60s, and then getting severed in half to becoming the sole nuclear power in the Islamic world. These ups and downs have in this very short span of time has made Pakistan one of the most resilient nations in the world.
Recently Engineering Post had a detailed exclusive conversation with Engr. Khalid Pervez who is Chairman – IEEEP Karachi Center. He is also one of the leading consultants in Pakistan serving as the CEO of KPWS Consulting. During the conversation he had a very optimistic perspective regarding the future of the country provided we take the right steps along the way. “We all know that Pakistan was rising in the 60s with excessive industrialization and progress. But unfortunately, we have been on a downward trajectory since then. That is because we did not focus enough on manpower development and capacity building and heavily increased our reliance on imported products and fossil fuels. Consequently, we have huge unemployment, import based economy and expensive electricity, which are detrimental to having our indigenous engineering industry”, he said. “We must realize that it was not such a long time ago when we proved our mettle and even if we start taking the right steps firmly now, we will be able to achieve the previous heights in a matter of few years,” he added.
As Chairman IEEEP Karachi Center Engr. Khalid Pervez is in the lead role for the IEEEP Fair which is to be held in Karachi from 30th August to 1st September this year. The Fair is being organized to its full boom after a gap to 2 years due to Covid pandemic. While commenting on the Fair he said “We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm from all stakeholders and both exhibitors and end users are anxiously waiting to participate in the Fair and we have almost completed all our relevant preparations accordingly.” This year’s IEEEP Fair is expected to be a mega event some experts have shared their opinion that this might be a record-breaking event this time around.
Further, during the discussion while talking about the local manufacturing of engineering products Engr. Khalid Pervez said that the first steps include patronage of the government departments and organizations of locally developed quality products alongside providing reduced custom duties for the base materials and components imported by local manufacturers. “I strongly voice concern for imported substandard material and products being dumped in Pakistan with no restrictions”, he said. He added that without stringent measures and process of accountability, we would not be able to get rid of substandard imported as well as local products which too are a big hurdle in the indigenous production of quality products. “On an important public sector project, I once refused using a lighting fixture which appeared to have forged certification documentation, which of course, lead to bad taste, but that’s Ok. I’m happy that I did what I considered right” he elaborated the challenges, Consultants have.
While reminiscing about the old days of Pakistan Engr. Khalid Pervez said that the way things were progressing it seemed like there could be no stopping for Pakistan. “I still have an international magazine of 1968 lying around somewhere which carried an advertisement of PIA in which PIA was compared with Lufthansa Airline. PIA used to be the most sought-after airline playing between London and New York. The famous PIA slogan “Great People to Fly With” were the words of Mrs. John F Kennedy at the end of her travel from New York to London through PIA.”
“I remember my youngster days when travelling in train from Karachi to Rawalpindi we I was amazed to see and note that how big the Batala Engineering Company was.” “Lahore used to have a high-end manufacturing set up for semiconducting transistors and other components which were supplied to critical national level industries such as Carrier Telephone Industries and Telephone Industries of Pakistan, apart from some private sector industries” he proudly recalled. “Unfortunately, due to acutely self-serving interests of our subsequent regimes we were diverted from our great values and sustainable growth trajectory to becoming subservient to others”, he said.
During the conversation Engr. Khalid Pervez said that the only way to recover from here was to set up strong but just accountability at all levels in entire public sector, with no exceptions. The system must provide opportunities to the competent and eradicate the incompetent and wasters of exchequer money, he added. “Although, too wishful amid present wide-spread scenario of nepotism, bribery, corruption, kickbacks, etc. but that’s inevitable for our survival and growth”, he stated. He referred to the system of ‘Annual Confidential Reports’ of good old times, which was handled with utmost honesty and played an important role in institution building and good governance.
During the conversation Engr. Khalid Pervez said that the only way to recover from here was to set up strong but just accountability at all levels in entire public sector, with no exceptions. The system must provide opportunities to the competent and eradicate the incompetent and wasters of exchequer money, he added. “Although, too wishful amid present wide-spread scenario of nepotism, bribery, corruption, kickbacks, etc. but that’s inevitable for our survival and growth”, he stated. He referred to the system of ‘Annual Confidential Reports’ of good old times, which were handled with utmost honesty and played an important role in institution building and good governance.
Pakistan is going through a serious dilemma right now. The government has imposed blanket restrictions on imports of engineering goods, but at the same time imports of several items, which should essentially have been manufactured locally (under a well-thought-out plan) is on the rise which, combined with expensive fossil fuels, severely impacts the balance of trade.
While discussing this matter Engr. Khalid Pervez said “First of all banning all imports is not feasible at all because it will do more harm than good, and the government will have to remove the ban sooner or later. “I believe the solution lies in finding a middle ground”, he said. “The government should introduce two sets of import duties, one for domestic retail consumption, and the other for manufacturers of such products which are not locally produced. Nevertheless, there must be a well-defined system of indigenization of all such products and systems, including automobiles, motorcycles, agricultural machinery, security systems, etc.” he elaborated.
At the end of the exclusive conversation of Engineering Post with Engr. Khalid Pervez we asked what advice he would give to the upcoming generation of engineers for success in life. He said “My advice would be to stop looking for shortcuts and start relying on hard work. The current system of academia certainly needs to be updated to meet contemporary needs. The students too need to put in their best efforts to develop themselves both technically and through soft skills, and through a continual process.”