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Time to brand Pakistan: An opportunity in disguise

The indiscriminate brutality of Israel towards the Palestinian people, which has led to almost 27,000 murders and numerous displacements, is causing pain to Muslims worldwide. Everyone wonders how we can support our needy brothers and sisters while we are hundreds of miles away. For the said objective some people are engaged in fundraising efforts to deliver relief to Gaza, but most Muslims have decided not to buy Israeli products; the minimum that we must do to help Palestinians. This movement is called BDS i.e. boycott, disinvest, and sanction. In addition to bringing attention to the suffering of Palestinians, this movement has succeeded in exerting political and financial pressure on Israel and its allies. Living in the West, especially the US, BDS is not a surprise but this BDS movement has gained traction in Pakistan as well, with many choosing local alternatives over Israeli-affiliated goods.
A social movement advocating for the boycott of Western products due to their purported endorsement of Israeli crimes in Gaza has severely damaged the financial interests of globally recognized corporations in Pakistan. However, Boycotting is a difficult task in a globalized economy with decentralized company ownership and linked supplier networks. Consider the large foreign companies that operate in Pakistan, such as McDonald’s and Nestle. Local families have made substantial financial investments in these companies to establish infrastructure, create employment, and introduce new technology to the nation. If we look at the locally working giant Nestle, then we realize the fact that Nestle has four large operational units in Pakistan that directly employ over 5,000 people; generate sales of PKR 192 billion, and in turn pay about PKR 10 billion in profit-related taxes. That hardly even begins to describe the extent of its influence, since the corporation employs thousands of people in its massive distribution network, which feeds tiny merchants throughout the nation so, BDS is not at all easy for countries like Pakistan but the love towards our Muslim brothers, sisters, and kids demand some hard actions towards these international brands as it costs thousands of jobs and further poverty but on the positive side, it has improved opportunities for regional substitutes as we are not short of investment because many of the international players like McDonald’s are operating as a franchise and is wholly owned by SIZA Foods in the area. They must indeed pay the parent company royalties, but that is an expense of doing business. Rather, the earnings stay domestically and are redirected into the various ventures of Lakson Group, offering hundreds of thousands of people jobs and infrastructure so in case of disinvestment this capital may flow into the local brands because as an outcome of BDS, we witnessed sharp increases in sales as a substitute for goods made by global corporations.
Diversion of investment from international giants to local businesses may help our local businesses to take advantage of this opportunity and close any holes in their operations. Although their product quality is on par with that of global corporations, they have significant obstacles in terms of product availability, marketing, and distribution. Although many experts are showing concerns about the BDS as it holds a large amount of FDI in Pakistan and boycotting such products will result further decline in forex reserves which may cause a further decline in PKR value on the other side will generate avenues for the local goods to serve the economy. Following the steps of growth of China, where at the initial phase they managed to stop the use of international goods either through embargo, quota, or high tariffs or after attaining the pace of growth open the venues for outsiders. Several surveys were conducted with thousands of people across Pakistan to know the reaction of the people against the boycott of Western goods in retaliation for Israel’s bombardment of residential areas during the October 7 assaults, which killed thousands of people and in response, about 80% of customers endorsed the boycott call and agreed with the campaign’s goal, and nearly 70% of them have already begun to take part in it by giving up using several western and international products.
Although the decision is hard, the outcomes may be harsh. Still, history witnessed that hardship always pays off so, a difficult decision today will result in better outcomes in the future. A high demand for local goods may generate high revenues for domestic industry which strengthens industrialization and currency because it discourages imports and reduces the outflow of currency.
By boycotting international brands, we save dollars and grow our local industry. The employees are then employed in domestic industry instead of franchises while high competition may result in improved quality that enhances the exports and adds dollars to FOREX reserves but the community’s support is crucial for local companies to succeed and successfully compete with larger firms. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of community support to the local economy. Purchasing locally not only helps small companies but also keeps money in the community, which may spur economic expansion and employment development. For local companies, higher levels of loyalty and repeat business may result from this personal connection.
The ability of community support to foster a sense of pride in one’s town is another crucial feature. By patronizing neighborhood companies, consumers are fostering a strong local economy and investing in their neighborhood. As a result, there may be a greater feeling of community and a rise in civic involvement and pride in the town. The local economy can benefit from community support in the following ways:
= More jobs being created: Local firms are more inclined to hire new staff when they are doing well. This may result in more jobs being created and a more robust local economy.
= More tax revenue: When consumers purchase locally, they retain their money in the neighborhood. Increased tax income from this may be utilized to pay for significant community initiatives.
= Greater economic growth: Successful small firms are more inclined to make investments and grow stronger local economies and higher rates of economic growth.
= Enhanced community involvement: Individuals who patronize local goods are inclined to establish a personal rapport with the proprietors and staff. Stronger ties to the community and greater community involvement may result from this.
= Establishing a presence in the local market for small enterprises is one of the primary advantages of community support. Increased exposure and brand awareness may result from this, which may support the development and growth of small enterprises. Furthermore, customers who buy locally are more likely to get to know the proprietors and staff on a personal level.
So, we must realize the fact that the local economy depends on community support. We can all profit from a robust local economy that is lively and growing when we purchase locally and support small businesses. Therefore, instead of taking this as a curse consider this opportunity as a blessing in disguise so, it’s high time to catch the opportunity not only for the sake of Muslim Ummah but for the sake of Pakistan because poverty breeds a lack of self-reliance and self-reliance is the only road towards true freedom and being own identity is the only reward to a nation.

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