KARACHI: Traders and businessmen took to the streets and staged a protest demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday after their multiple meetings with the authorities failed to reach an agreement. They vowed to continue their campaign against the fresh restrictions on business hours imposed by the government amid growing cases of the coronavirus.

A large number of traders riding motorbikes, cars and vans took out a rally from Liaquatabad and staged a demonstration outside the KPC, demanding the withdrawal of fresh restrictions.

“The Sindh government had earlier issued a notification ordering all business centres to be closed by 8pm, effective from April 6, 2021,” said Sharjeel Gopalani, head of the All City Tajir Ittehad. “The traders have unanimously rejected the Sindh government’s coronavirus-related order to close markets by 8pm — in line with their stance last year when they protested against shutting the city’s bazaars.”

He said if the government wanted to keep businesses closed twice a week, it should allow round-the-clock trading during the five other days.

‘Last year they suffered huge losses and many were forced to close shop forever’

“We would soon announce a comprehensive plan of protest across the city. The traders last year suffered huge losses and many were forced to close down forever. We cannot afford the same situation this year again,” he added.

The Sindh government only on Monday had announced that the businesses across Sindh would remain closed on Fridays and Sundays following an increase in the country’s coronavirus infections.

“Keeping in view the feedback from field formations on the implementation of two safe days per week where different businesses within the same locality/premises are observing different safe days in a week and, therefore, the need to avoid confusion Friday and Sunday are declared as safe days for all businesses except essential services,” the notification said.

The traders appealed to the federal government as well to review its plan of restrictions on business hours and warned that the situation could turn ugly if the local administration continued to seal their businesses and thus deprive them of their livelihood.

Senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Mohammad Hussain also attended the traders’ protest and demanded that the Sindh government review its policy.

The traders urged the government to review the fresh restrictions after the first 10 days of the holy month of Ramazan, which is due to start next week.

“We have proposed to the government to lift that restriction [two-day weekly closure] after 10th Ramazan. We hope to hear positively from them soon. Otherwise, it would not be in our control to stop protests by the traders,” said Atiq Meer of the Karachi Tajir Ittehad.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021

Opinion

Discipline and punish

Discipline and punish

The larger issue is that many within the police and the state view the role of the police as not one of service but of control.
The truly worrying malware
Updated 27 Jul 2021

The truly worrying malware

It’s excessive to hope that governments will surrender even when caught with their hands on the till.
Appointing VCs
27 Jul 2021

Appointing VCs

For VCs of yore, it was more than a job assignment.
Giving peace a chance
Updated 26 Jul 2021

Giving peace a chance

So long as Afghan government forces do not collapse in the face of the Taliban’s military assaults, diplomacy will have a chance.

Editorial

AJK’s ugly elections
Updated 27 Jul 2021

AJK’s ugly elections

All party leaders focused on insulting their rivals instead of talking about issues concerning the AJK electorate.
27 Jul 2021

Refugee concerns

AS Afghanistan slips back into chaos with a rapid Taliban advance, the possibility of refugees spilling over into...
27 Jul 2021

ECP vacancies

FEARS of yet another deadlock between the PTI government and the opposition on the selection of successors for...
26 Jul 2021

Senior citizens’ law

FOR all the cultural emphasis on respect and consideration for our elders, the state itself extends little by way of...
26 Jul 2021

Grim Covid realities

YET another grim milestone was reached last week when we became the 30th country in the world to mark a million...
Islamophobia envoy
Updated 26 Jul 2021

Islamophobia envoy

By calling for the appointment of a special envoy to counter Islamophobia, US lawmaker Ilhan Omar has raised a pertinent issue.