PESHAWAR: Traders here have expressed their reservations about the decision to close down their shops by 6pm daily as part of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for containing Covid-19 and demanded of the provincial government to allow the business activities from 8pm to midnight.

Representatives of the traders in a joint meeting with Mujeebur Rehman in the chair here on Thursday discussed the fresh schedule of lockdown and said the restrictions would cause big financial losses to the business community.

The participants said the government should either announce complete lockdown for a specified period to overcome the pandemic or decide the schedule in consultation with the traders.

They said that most of the customers visited the bazaars after evening and the restrictions would also add to their problems.

“We will definitely obey the decision of the National Command and Operation Centre, but it will badly affect our business while the government is not ready to compensate us,” the traders said.

They warned that in case their demands were not accepted they would soon announce their next line of action.

Meanwhile, a noted businessman and former senator of Awami National Party Ilyas Ahmad Bilour in a statement here also expressed his concern over the closure of business activities by 6pm and asked the government to allow businesses to operate till midnight.

Mr Bilour said the traders had suffered owing to what he called anti-business policies imposed by the government under the pretext of Covid restrictions. He said if the government wanted to limit business timings till 6pm the traders should be allowed to open shops and markets after the Iftar break from 8pm to midnight.

The former senator said the notification about opening of shopping malls during Sehr timing was ridiculous because the people would not be able to visit bazaars for shopping after Sehri.He demanded the government to relax the restrictions and allow business activities on Saturdays and Sundays.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

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