Press Releases

IFC-Backed Mediation Center in Pakistan Begins Resolving Commercial Disputes

In Karachi
Navin Merchant

Phone: 0092 21 5610065 Ext. 136


In Cairo

Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa

Phone: 0020 2 461 9150 Ext. 314/306


Karachi, 6 February, 2007—On 29 January 2007, the Karachi Centre for Dispute Resolution, an IFC-sponsored project, hosted its first commercial mediation session. IFC’s advisory services facility, the Private Enterprise Partnership for Middle East and North Africa, first launched the alternative dispute resolution program in Pakistan in November 2005 to tackle about 1 million pending civil cases. IFC worked with the High Court of Sindh to establish the mediation center to resolve commercial cases.
The case, which was referred to the center by both parties, was successfully resolved at the end of the session. An accredited mediator, who was trained under the IFC PEP-MENA program, conducted the mediation, following international best practices.

Navin Merchant, IFC PEP-MENA program manager for the alternative dispute resolution project in Pakistan, said, “Mediation saved considerable time and money for the parties, because the session was scheduled within a week of the complaint and the case was settled in a day. The case would have taken about two years if it had gone to court, and it would likely have resulted in the closure of the businesses.”

Contract enforcement in Pakistan normally requires a five- to 10-year litigation process. In general, an average of 35 percent of a company’s assets get caught up in the litigation. The processes for settling commercial disputes are slow and inadequate, and they hinder market-based growth and domestic and foreign investments. Small and medium enterprises constitute 90 percent of local businesses in Pakistan and have few alternatives in the event of a contract breach. IFC’s program promotes an alternative way to resolve disputes.

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit

IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for advisory services that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. IFC PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatizations and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.