Tuesday Aug 11, 2020
LONDON: Asim Yousaf, who served as the Vice President of UK-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (UKPCCI), has resigned from his post citing negligible progress of the chamber as well as disputes with colleagues over matters pertaining to conflict of interest and corruption.
In a press conference, Yousaf — who imports Pakistani food products to the UK and distributes them worldwide — implied that the UKPCCI started 40 years ago but still had not grown from a small office.
The trader said: “I thought I would add value to this chamber but the main reason for this resignation is that there is no vision of the UKPCCI. It’s been 40 years since this chamber has existed and it still operates from a small office which is rented from another director of the UKPCCI. I don’t know what other benefits it gets.”
Yousaf explained how a "targeted campaign" was launched against him when he joined another organisation called International Business & Professional Corporation (IBPC) as its general secretary.
He said: "When I joined IBPC everyone encouraged it but when it started real work for the community and became active then people from UKPCCI started to get jealous. Just one political party is influencing the Chamber’s work. The members have brought their own friends as members. Now each director has 10-15 friends as members. Most of the members have nothing to do with business. UKPCCI is now a political platform, it has no business agenda. There is corruption within the chamber.”
Yousaf alleged that the chamber was being used for personal business interests with members using it for their direct links with senior figures in Pakistan, instead of working for the benefit of the Chamber. “I have never taken a dime from the UKPCCI. Instead, I spent my own money and time for events and other things."
Yousaf had resigned from his position as IBPC General Secretary but he alleged that he was continuously harassed by members of the UKPCCI, who asked him "not to attend meetings for the benefit of Pakistan".
"It was constant stress. Did I do anything illegal or was I selling drugs that the UKPCCI members harassed me? I was only working for the benefit of Pakistan and will continue to do so," the British Pakistani businessman added.
In response to the allegations, Barrister Waheed ur Rehman Mian — who is the General Secretary of UKPCCI — said: "All allegations made by Asim Yousaf are baseless. We reject them. UKPCCI is in operation for [the past] 40 years and cooperates with other chambers of Pakistan to facilitate the British Pakistani business community.
He added: "Mr Yousaf was suspended because he was continuing to work for another organisation despite assuring us that he had resigned. In response to his suspension, he has resigned from UKPCCI."