Mr. Izhar Ali Hunzai
Chairman, PGJDC Board
Pakistan is endowed with immense natural wealth. Our gemstone resources alone are among the best and largest in the world. These resources represent enormous potential but they can only be translated into real value through smart policies and strong institutions that actively work to advance innovation, efficiency, and value creation. At present, about 4 million citizens of Pakistan are directly and indirectly engaged in the gems and jewelry (G&J) sector. However, the sector presently contributes only a meager share to the national wealth, especially the export value of the G&J sector is well below its true potential. How can we develop this sector for the benefit and wellbeing of our people is the key question and remains our common mission and goal.
Pakistan Gems and Jewelry Development Company (PGJDC) is committed to work with the industry stakeholders across all geographical regions of the country to improve industry-wide practices from mine to market, especially aiming at sustainable mining, value added manufacturing of jewelry and exports, and international competitiveness. Since its establishment in 2006, PGJDC has contributed substantially to improving the policy environment, upgrading of skills and technology and, together with other institutional partners, such as the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), promoting trade and exports. While we take pride in our past achievements, we also know that many more opportunities are in front of us to improve the sector performance. This is only possible with collective wisdom, combined knowledge and concerted efforts of all the stakeholders, including the government agencies, business and sector leaders, mining and trade associations, technical institutions, communities, and development support organizations.
I am honored to take the helm as the new Chair of the Board of Directors of PGJDC. I am grateful to my fellow Directors for reposing their trust in me, and all those pioneers who came before us, and laid a strong foundation for us to build on further. The theme for my term as chairperson is, “Innovation and Co-creation”. Let’s work together as stakeholders and custodians of the natural treasures of our country, and pool our knowledge, expertise and practical initiatives to ensure growth, equity and vitality in this sector, for the benefit of our people and for the coming generations.
Izhar Hunzai is a researcher and practitioner of international development. He received his early education in Pakistan, and went on to UK and USA for higher education, after earning competitive scholarships from Aga Khan Foundation and USAID.
Hunzai has worked in long and short assignments in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Indonesia and Uzbekistan, among other countries. He hasserved in management and policy positions with Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and led at least three of its institutions, including the flagship: Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP). Hunzai has also served in senior positions with international organizations, including International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Global Water Partnership (GWP), based in Colombo, working on global priorities, such as food security, climate change, and partnership building programs with donors and partner countries in Asia and Africa. Presently, Izhar Hunzai is working as an independent knowledge worker/ consultant, providing advisory services to development players in a variety of sectors, besides pursuing other social-entrepreneurial and political interests. His core competencies and professional interests include civil society /community development, natural resources management, clean energy and climate change, market development, and public policy.
Hunzai has been serving on the Boards of key public interest institutions in Pakistan, including on the Senate ofKarakorum International University (KIU), Member, Prime Minister’s Panel on “Vision 2030”, Member, Board of Governors, Pakistan Agriculture ResearchCouncil (PARC), andon the Boards of numerous other public and private sector institutions.