KARACHI: As traders and shopkeepers have reiterated their demand for extraordinary steps to restore peace in the city, including handing over of the city to the army, industrialists have offered mixed views.
The business community is perturbed over rising cases of killings, extortion, kidnappings for ransom and street crimes.
A number of businessmen have either moved to the up-country or have shifted abroad while others have expanded their businesses on foreign soils, rather than in Karachi.
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Mohammad Haroon Agar and FB Area Association of Trade and Industry chairman Haroon Shamsi said they need peace, whether the government seeks army’s help or civilian government itself or Governor’s Rule is imposed.
Haroon Agar said that the KCCI had sought time to meet the President, but its meeting with the president did not materialize.
Korangi Association of Trade and Industry Chairman Zubair Chahya said that industrialists are in panic as obnoxious and life-threatening calls seeking huge money are being received by them.
He favoured army’s takeover as per constitution, and said that businessmen are gradually closing down operations or moving to other cities.
Site Association of Industry chairman Dr Arshad Vohra said there was no need for army’s takeover or governor’s rule when new elections is round the corner.
“We are looking forward for some improvement in the situation with the installation of a new government after general elections.”
All-Karachi Tajir Ittehad President Atiq Mir said that after the failure of rangers and the police, traders were looking towards the army as a last hope.He said that army be given a special task for a brief period under Article 245 to take control of Karachi. Otherwise, the other way is imposition of Governor’s Rule in Karachi.
All-Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Cottage Industry president Mahmood Hamid said that 40 traders have already lost their lives in various incidents in the last three months while traders have paid millions of rupees under ransom and extortion slips.
“The association seeks Army’s intervention for people and traders’ security,” he said.
Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association chairman Anis Majeed said that it was high time that law and order situation is improved, no matter whatever extra-ordinary measures are taken.
Karachi Retail Grocers Group General Secretary Farid Qureishi said that instead of a caretaker setup, army be given the task of holding transparent elections and smooth transfer of power.
Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers chairman Munir Bana favoured army to control the situation.
He condemned killing of innocent people in Karachi, including Pakistan Machine Tool Factory managing director, urging the government to take measures to stop the bloodshed.
He said that the whole industry was in a state of shock over killing of PMTF MD Arshad Pervaiz who was gunned down on Tuesday in Karachi.
Bana said that how businessman can run industries with peace of mind when around a dozen people are killed daily.
PAAPAM vice chairman Usman Malik said that it was an established fact that killings in Karachi are a premeditated plan to destroy country’s economy and tarnish its image abroad.