The news: On June 23, the Islamabad High Court responded to a petition filed against the lack of e-commerce in Pakistan, by giving two weeks to the federal government to explain the e-commerce situation. IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued notices to the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Information Technology, stating that both ministries had failed to comply with the e-Commerce Policy, 2019. The necessary requirements, which are a part of the policy, had not been fulfilled to bring e-commerce services to Pakistan.
Government criticized: The petition was filed by a citizen named Junaid Hafeez, who claimed that Pakistani citizens did not have access to the largest e-commerce platform in the world, Amazon. He explained that the company had restricted Pakistani citizens from logging in to their accounts on its website due to a lack of secure online payment methods available in the country. His petition read that no efforts had been made to bring the operations of e-commerce companies like Amazon and Paypal to Pakistan. He also emphasized that this was an essential step toward modernization and globalization. The e-commerce industry around the world has grown up to $4 trillion but Pakistan has remained distant from such developments and the opportunities it provides due to the government’s lack of interest.
E-commerce policy 2019: The petitioner claimed that the e-commerce policy of 2019 is deficient and flawed in various aspects. Emphasizing the consumer protection laws in China, Russia, and many other countries he demanded that there should be special provisions to protect the consumer in any e-commerce policy. He also highlighted the inefficiency of data protection laws in Pakistan and said that these laws were a prerequisite for the successful growth of the e-commerce industry.
Amazon marketplace: Amazon marketplace has over 2 million active sellers, many of whom run small and medium-sized businesses around the world and sell their products on Amazon. In this year alone, 537,000 sellers joined the Amazon marketplace, which equals two sellers joining Amazon every minute. If this rate is maintained until the end of the year, 1.1 million new sellers will have joined the millions of sellers already using the Amazon marketplace as their e-commerce platform.
‘Coming soon’: It is important to note that Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Investment recently stated that Pakistan is currently registering some of its goods sellers with the US giant Amazon, including 38 exporters of surgical goods, sports goods, and home textile sectors. He said that this list will be expanded to include other manufacturers soon.