LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Thursday became the first chamber of commerce in the SAARC region that has an International Mediation Centre by the name of LCCI Dispute Resolution Centre duly backed and supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of World Bank Group.

The LCCI Dispute Resolution Centre, first of its kind in the private sector, was jointly inaugurated by the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh and Mr Magdi M Amin, IFC Manager Investment Climate Advisory for Middle East and North Africa. Saima Zuberi and Isfandyar Ali Khan of IFC were also present. LCCI Vice President Saeeda Nazar, former Presidents Mian Mohammad Ashraf, Iftikhar Ali Malik, Anjum Nisar, former Senior Vice President Sohail Lashari, former Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha and Executive Committee member Fahimur Rehman Saigol also spoke on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the LCCI Dispute Resolution Centre has been established to facilitate the businessmen for the settlement of their cases through mediation as litigation is not only lengthy process but costly as well.

The LCCI President said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would be contacting all the chambers and sector-specific organisations to inform them about the establishment of this international standard facility. The LCCI President thanked the IFC for providing an unrelenting support for the establishment of first of its kind Mediation Center in the private sector.

“This is a landmark project not just in Pakistan but also in the region. It’s a giant leap forward in terms of building a world-class platform at the Lahore Chamber for efficiently resolving business disputes.” “We have opened this facility for resolving business disputes through mediation for collective benefit of LCCI members and the business community at large.

“We also plan to communicate with the regional and international business community through their relevant government officials, leading chambers, sector associations, banks, multilateral development institutions and diplomatic missions informing them of the availability of a world-class mediation center at Lahore Chambers for resolving business disputes.”

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that LCCI Dispute Resolution Centre was only the beginning of systematic efforts needed for making consistent improvement in investment climate in the country.

The LCCI former Presidents Mian Mohammad Ashraf, Iftikhar Ali Malik and Mian Anjum Nisar said that the establishment of an international standard mediation centre would not only improve investment climate in the country but it would also send a very positive signal abroad. They said that a large number of foreign investors could not put their money in Pakistan only because of absence of an institutionalized mediation mechanism.

They said that such a mediation mechanism was need of the hour and is a big success of the private sector.