Introduction

Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) is a rights-based civil initiative registered under the Trust Act, 1882. Established in 1998, CRCP is an independent, non-profit, and non-governmental organization. It largely works through local fund-raising and engaging volunteers. It is not supported by any industry or commercial sector. It is the first national consumer organization in the country, which approaches the issue of consumer protection in comprehensive and holistic terms. Its vision and strategies have significant cross linkages with both market practices and issues of governance.

Mission Statement

"To articulate and promote the interests and rights of citizens and consumers at all socio-economic levels, with a particular emphasis on the inarticulate and disadvantaged groups; and facilitate the emergence of an organized movement in Pakistan, so that the citizens could have legally enforceable rights."

The Rationale Behind

Consumer rights, an integral component of civil rights, present a dismal picture in Pakistan with a large number of problems confronting the citizens and consumers both in the public and private sectors. Most of these problems stem from the crisis of governance in the country and the monopolistic and informal nature of market.

The government is largely indifferent to the interests of the citizens and consumers because it lacks an objective and deeper understanding of their concerns and grievances. In addition, the general lack of awareness of civil rights and the pervasive culture of apathy undermines the capacity of citizens to become organized and protect their rights. Result is that government has yet to come up with an appropriate legal and institutional mechanism to redress consumer-related grievances and to protect their rights.

Private sector has little cause for consumer protection due to monopolistic and informal nature of market in Pakistan. In the absence of a consumer movement, which can positively influence the market forces, the consumers are provided with unsafe and substandard goods and services without any recourse to justice. The situation has become worse in the wake of un examined deregulation and corporatization, and the consequent shrinking role of the state and mounting market forces.

The above understanding of the need for asserting civil rights provides substance to the collective efforts of a group of conscious citizens and activists comprising Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan. Its members have a diverse experience in civil society initiatives, social organization and community mobilization. Drawing on the vast experience of its members, CRCP is committed to promote the cause of consumer protection and civil rights in a broader perspective, with the aim of laying the foundations for a vibrant consumer movement all over the country.