Update ( SECP Chairman takes action ) : SECP Officer pressurizes Rozee.pk for favor – Rozee.pk defies

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UPDATE: This just is communicated by Monis
“After a flurry of email exchanges, I just received a call from the SECP Chairman (yes, at 10:45pm) and the commissioner company law division. They are taking action against the individual who called. Super impressed. You don’t see this in Pakistan. The bigger story has been the SECP’s positive response to this incident as opposed to the the incident itself.”

UPDATE: sorry for misleading title earlier, went with the emotions, the request was not from SECP but from an officer (He claimed to be an SECP Employee) misusing his powers

Well this is some thing which comes as no surprise, it is good to note that out tech firms are getting to a point where Government organizations need them to get things done. What is not ok is their assumption that they would be use their powers to get what they want. Any way I would post it as Monis Rehman posted it on his notes, Kudos to him for standing for what he believes in.

Today I received a rather bizarre “official” call from someone in SECP’s enforcement division.  He emphasized several times that he was from the “enforcement” arm of the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan.  After he had repeated this enough times and was satisfied that it had sunk in, he proceeded to tell me what he wanted.  He wanted ROZEE.PK to allow his sister to apply for a job by posted by our client DFID that was past its application deadline.  Basically, to slip her CV in the electronic pool through a back door.  This call made my blood boil, because to me it represents much of what is wrong with Pakistan.  I refused.  We are now bracing ourselves for frivolous notices from SECP.  I sincerely hope this does not happen.

Here is a copy of my subsequent email to SECP Chairman Mr. Mohammad Ali:

Dear Mr. Ali,

I hope this email finds you well.

My name is Monis Rahman and I am a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who moved back to Pakistan to setup ROZEE.PK, Pakistan’s largest recruiting portal, with the help of two venture capital funds, ePlanet Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.  These funds also helped create success stories such as Hotmail and Skype.  We have worked very hard as a pioneering Internet business in Pakistan, with now over 40,000 employers posting job ads on our website and 5 Million professionals visiting from Pakistan each year.

The reason I am emailing you is because of a rather disturbing phone call from someone claiming to represent SECP in your enforcement team.  He identified himself as Hammad Javed, Deputy Enforcement Officer and asked to speak to me directly.  He repeated that he was from SECP’s enforcement team in a rather threatening manner and asked for me to help his sister with her job application at DFID, which happens to be one of our clients.  The application expiration date had passed and he wanted us to bypass the their controls and submit his sisters application.  I refused.

This was under the veiled threat of SECP’s “Enforcement” division.  I thought this should be brought to your knowledge.  As a patriotic Pakistani, this phone call represented much of what I believe is wrong in Pakistan today.  I’m sure you will agree that this is not the sort of harassment that hard working citizens should be subjected to, particularly while making great sacrifices for Pakistan in such turbulent times.

Warm Regards,

–monis.

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21 Comments

  • As a Pakistani we should all loyal to our duties…..Good job Roozee.pk.We are proud of you.

  • SECP Enforcement division should be renamed to SECP Encroachment division.

    Yes, this is exactly what is wrong with Pakistan : Encroachment.

    Excessing beyond ones limit, and badmashi to sustain the encroachment. It’s part of the national culture rampant in homes, offices, government, education institutes. We see it everywhere. We encroach in relationships, properties, job functions. Most of the times just for our own self interests. We can’t just mind our own business. What these bafoons don’t understand that if today they step on someone else’s turf unjustly, tomorrow that person will do the same to them. Result will be chaos. One message for Pakistan. Stop encroaching and learn to stay in your limits…

  • i doubt on this.

    Why not he called the other company official and ask to have his sister’s CV. Why he only asked monis about this?

    There might be some fishy fishy. Its happening when new taxes are imposed.

    Great way to put pressure back.

  • The person should be arrested and penalized. As he was using name of SECP.

  • @haroon,

    He did not call any other company BECAUSE the job was posted on Rozee. He just asked Monis for a favor to pass his sisters’ CV through and probably thought that it’s a small favor to ask for. He also probably thought that since he is an influential officer, Monis won’t have any issue (especially with a small issue like this). Monis on the other hand thought: “what the hell” and reacted accordingly (I can imagine how Monis would have reacted since he’s arguably “the most successful silicon valley returned entrepreneur in Pakistan”). The officer got pissed probably too (you know emotional we are.. “tum mera kya pat lo gay”.. “tumhein pata naee hai mein kaun huun”..). Monis is a very very well connected person and I doubt he is scared of this guy or whether at all this guy could do anything. IMHO, I think this incident is real, arguments were real, overall it was an insignificant event and the letter is meant as a PR exercise.

    PS: New taxes have nothing to do with SECP. SECP does not enforce taxes. :)

  • Come to think of it, the said officer from SECP identified himself as someone from SECP. This is usual to introduce yourself with your professional affiliation e.g.

    Hello, this is Major Amir.
    Hello, this is Dr. Asad.
    Hello, I am Prof Dr. Umer. I am a professor at LUMS/KE/PU…
    Hello, this is Asadullah. I am Asst. Director Enforcement Division SECP. We enforce SECP laws. We are very powerful and SECP is very powerful.

    Compare this to:

    My name is Monis Rahman and I am “a Silicon Valley entrepreneur” who moved back to Pakistan to setup ROZEE.PK, “Pakistan’s largest recruiting portal”, with the help of “two venture capital funds, ePlanet Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson”. These funds also “helped create success stories such as Hotmail and Skype”. We have worked very hard as “a pioneering Internet business” in Pakistan, with now over “40,000 employers posting job ads” on our website and “5 Million professionals” visiting from Pakistan each year.

    How are the two different?

    Furthermore, Monis hasn’t really said what this guy exactly said which was threatening. What does he mean by “in a rather threatening manner “. What did this guy exactly say?

    For me this letter is a pure PR exercise and nothing else – ofcourse with all due respect to Monis (I have nothing again PR exercises – this one’s brilliant!:))

  • On a diferent note, may be Monis will get a personal talk with SECP. SECP chairman will appologize for the incident. Monis will say how about we get to have all SECP jobs on ROZEE? How about all SECP members post jobs on ROZEE? SECP Chairman will say, okay sounds fair..

    Brilliant. Bravo! Monis chha gay ho :)

  • This is most interesting and thank you Qazi for sharing this with us.

    Its about time these ‘officers’ were held responsible and I hope Monis can put ‘Hammad Javed’ back in his place.

    This is just one incident but mayhaps it will trigger more businesses/ individuals to step forward and make the goverment officers (among the most corrupt in the world) responsible for their actions.

    Asad seems to be dillusional but then you get that as part of the package.

    Keep us updated on the progress of this Qazi.

  • Salman, you are naive :) I am trying to show there is always more to a story. In this case, this is a classic brilliant PR campaign and shows how brilliant entrepreneurs can extract value out of even the petty negative things. This is real hard core ENTREPRENEURSHIP! So next time you think about why ROZEE is the leading portal, you should realize that it’s because of the attention to detail, thinking out of box, and just being on top of situations!

    The same can be true for stories like Nirala, KASB Bank, WorldCall, Hashwani group and many more bootstrap businesses in Pakistan. In this case, thanks to social media, we have actually witnessed an entrepreneur’s brilliance in real time.

    So instead of being all political and revolutionary etc., see the real lesson out of this.

  • There is no doubt that probably Monis would have been able to put him off with his links, but the factor which is good is that he did not, he basically made his issue known to more public which will result in officials from Government organizations think twice before doing this again, which is a good thing.
    Even if he did it for PR I think there would be some hesitation next time atleast in SECP some one tries to pull this off. So I would commend Monis for bringing it out in public.

  • @Asad and @Asim. If this was such a “brilliant” PR campaign, then what would have Monis gained from it in numbers? G&W is a niche platform with a limited number of visitors, and even less limited numbers out of those who take this site seriously. So what is the ROI on this PR campaign? If you had seen this on GEO with “Breaking News” caption, it might have got some traction to it, and a potential to qualify for PR success.

    Also this is not the first incidence of being harassed, neither it will be the last. From a rehri wala on street to an executive sitting in office, they all know what business is like, so there is nothing “new” being pulled off here.

    Apparently why it has been posted here is because all of the small business entrepreneurs can relate to it very well. Every small business, unless it is hiding in some hole, receives pestering from SECP, PTA, ITO, Police, and even customs department. The moment you stick your head out, you have a target painted on your forehead. I mentioned in my first comment that it is tit for tat: you cross your limits, so will I. Or in some cases, the weaker side folds. That’s exactly what happened, and keeps happening. Because in Pakistan if you want to be heard, you better have a long list of titles, or acquaintances, or some special zaat birdari attached to you. The other options is that you throw some bones to the dogs before you start eating your meat. That is the easy way out, which most people eventually are lead to. So atleast we should commend Monis for standing up against any bullying.

    Competition and personal differences aside, entrepreneurs should be united against external threats, whether it comes to big guy or the small one. Even professional thieves have some rules when it comes to their colleagues.

    Difference of opinion is good, but the take home point from this is, that stop being victimized, and take action. Atleast stand up and say no to exploitation. If there were a formal platform, with clear guidelines to launch complaints against such harassment, with assurance of not being victimized, why would we be having such discussion on this forum?

  • Zeb, Asim is right and you guys are too emotional and naive and don’t really understand how PR campaigns work. You don’t have to be featured on GEO. Regarding ROI, I guess the good ROI would be if Chairman SECP apologizes, and posts all SECP jobs on ROZEE and feature ROZEE for all SECP companies (that means ALL companies in Pakistan!). Yet to be seen if this happens – if it does.. then good for ROZEE. By the way, PR campaigns work over long term – and don’t have immediate ROI. I guess the most immediate ROI is the brand that Monis got because we are all standing behind him for taking a stand against a “power abuser” (brilliant!:)).

    Remember, 2010 ROZEE was brand of the year. 2011, my prediction it may again be brand of the year!:)

    Regarding your other things, I hate to burst your bubble but in Pakistan affluent people like Monis (and myself) don’t/can’t get victimized. The fact is, if you are “connected” (especially as connected as Monis), you are good. From SECP point of view, there isn’t much they can do anyway to ROZEE or any other business as long as the business is doing the minimal filings etc (even if it wasn’t not much can be done). This entire episode is a pure PR play, and I am saying this for your OWN benefit. Without getting into revolutionary mode, take home from this story is “think out of box”, there will are numerous opportunities all around us!

    Qazi: you think Monis wrote an open letter to SECP chairman and got a lot of people involved for nothing? That’s not using his position? This has been said before and I’ll say again: brilliant campaign!

    However, if you guys want to stand up for what is right in Pakistan, say no to exploitation, by all means do that.. Best of luck!

    Okay you guys can bash us as much as you like. Call us “delusional” or whatever, but I guess this is like naikee kar darya mein daal – hopefully some readers of G&W who are open minded enough can really see through this entire episode and adapt their own marketing/PR activities :)

  • Asad i did not dismiss you idea, but the PR (If it is) is basically some thing on the lines of Google (Do no evil ) stuff, I still doubt they will get a lot of business out of it.
    Also another point I would like to clarify is that this was never sent to me by Monis, I took the liberty of propagating it from his facebook wall. (He even initially asked me to take it down because of the wrong more sensational title)

    Any ways I posted it here because it is some thing happening in our industry even if it is a PR campaign we can always learn as you said :)

  • @Asad. I already said for connected people it is not a problem in Pakistan. Please read my comments again. Then read again to understand why. And if you still don’t get it, you can read a third time, to “get” how easy it is for “connected” people to get through the muck. Basically on this point we agree.

    Secondly it’s quite a gross assumption to make a sweeping assessment that we are too naive to understand what PR is, or we are too emotional about it. Of course we are quite naive. After all, those CSR messages shining on front page news, and channels are for nothing you mean. What is a public image, without the public.

    Rozee was not brand of the year because of Monis whining on public forums.

    Yes ofcourse it would be stupid in Pakistan at these times, to stand up for right if that is what you mean. We are not too “naive” for that too. However, the point I was trying to get across is that this incident shows maybe, just maybe, the big guys and the small guys are not entirely immune from any sort of institutionalized manipulation. This time the punch missed its target. Next time it might not. Hence is there anything all of us, or even some of use could take heed from it?

    Nobody is too naive to defend “Monis” the person. He has not presented evidence to prove what he advocated. And if he doesn’t have any, this “PR campaign” could well turn on its heels. But of course it’s always juicy to think “out of the box” to find an angle to every story.

  • I think we are saying the same things – except that you focused on institutional manipulation part of the store and I focused on the PR campaign part of the story. :)

  • Asim Kareem

    Asad : Amazing analysis and i am impressed. Though the incidence may be true, but Monis is known for his clever / dirty politics to gain undue advantage for his business. He is successful, but so is Zardari !

  • No action has still been taken against that individual . Obviously thats typical of government organization. Much was being expected from the Chairman of SECP. what Monis
    Rahman did was truly justified….wish something was done so that examples for others would have been set.

  • Obviously thats typical of government organization. Much was being expected from the Chairman of SECP.i aqgree with it?!?!?!

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