KOHAT: The all traders union has demanded relaxation in lockdown for three hours keeping in view the colossal losses they are suffering due to closure of markets.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, the union’s president Ameer Khan Afridi said the traders had had been abiding by the lockdown since March 19. He said in some districts, particularly Karachi, the business community had been allowed to keep their businesses open for some time. Therefore, the traders in Kohat should also be allowed to open their shops from 10am to 1pm.

Mr Afridi said as a precautionary measure the administration should establish steam cabins at the entrances, so people entering the markets could be screened.

He assured that each shopkeeper would place a sensitiser, a water cooler and soap outside his shop to facilitate customers wash their hands. He claimed that people were increasingly getting fed up with the lockdown.

WHEAT FLOUR: The subsidised wheat flour availability has started improving with the supply of fresh wheat quota to the mills by the government.

Kohat was facing shortage of flour due to wheat shortage, forcing the consumers to buy a 20kg bag at Rs1,100, thus paying Rs300 extra.

A wholesale dealer from Punjab alleged that the big dealers and the mills owners were involved in smuggling of flour to the tribal districts.

Ibrar Khattak, the owner of a flour mills, told Dawn that with the arrival of fresh wheat from Punjab the situation was improving and the rates would go down.

CASES REGISTERED: The police registered cases against 40 owners of commercial centres for not putting in place sufficient security measures to ward off terrorist attacks.

In a statement issued here, district police officer Manssor Aman said the action was also taken against 180 residents over non-registered houses.

He said a network of 16 weapon smugglers was busted while 86 drug peddlers were arrested.

Mr Aman said during the first quarter of the current year the police held 38 proclaimed offenders and their 87 facilitators. Besides, 45 Afghan refugees without valid travel documents were apprehended.

He said the police also seized arms, ammunition and drugs from the arrested people.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020