Karachi, January 28’ 2015 – The Network of Organisations Working with People with Disabilities, Pakistan’s (NOWPDP) and Habib Bank Limited (HBL) signed an agreement on Wednesday to mark the start of their collaboration which aims to make HBL the first inclusive bank in Pakistan.
The ceremony, held at HBL’s Head Office, was attended by representatives from both organizations, including NOWPDP’s President Mr. Amin Hashwani and HBL’s Head of Global Operations Mr.Tariq M Akbar.
Addressing the audience, Mr Akbar spoke briefly about HBL’s plan to take a leading role in the banking industry in becoming disability inclusive. He said that HBL aims to launch this project at 30 branches initially, hinting at the bank’s intent to build on this at a later stage.
“Like billions of other people, they (people with disabilities) should have an equal opportunity to work at HBL,” Mr Akbar stated.
He said that the purpose of taking this step was a very noble one, clarifying this is not a monetarily-driven initiative. “Dealing with NOWPDP, you will be pleased to know that they will not profit. This is not a business opportunity but a service deal without profit,” he stated.
Mr Hashwani elaborated further on the need for such ventures in the country. “Pakistan’s main problem is not economic or political. It is social and cultural,” he stated, adding that while balance sheets are such that they go up and down, culture is something that is lasting and enduring.
Speaking about NOWPDP, Mr Hashwani clarified, “it is not a charitable organisation, it is a non-profit social enterprise”. He said that this collaboration was not about charity, but instead, it was about value proposition. “This is not about charity, it is not about pity. It is about being inspired, about changing mindsets,” he added.
Requesting HBL staff members to cooperate and aid the new venture, he told them that they themselves would see the change at their organisation in time. “We want HBL to become the torchbearer, the trendsetter in (disability inclusiveness) in the banking industry,” he said.
HBL was the first commercial bank to be established in Pakistan in 1947. The bank has over 1,500 branches across Pakistan as well as a presence in 25 countries. Privatized in 2014, HBL has a customer base exceeding five million relationships.
NOWPDP was founded with the vision to promote the creation of an inclusive society which values and upholds the rights of people with disabilities through sustainable endeavours and a holistic approach driven by clear social objectives. Approved under clause (c) of sub section (36) of section 2 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001; NOWPDP has been working towards the achievement of its vision since its launch on 9th May 2008..