PESHAWAR: The traders of the provincial capital on Friday announced compliance with the government’s May 8-16 lockdown decision to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The announcement came as the people thronged markets in the capital for last-minute Eid shopping a day before the closure of businesses.

The traffic was bumper to bumper on major roads.

The government had announced that all businesses and markets would remain closed from May 8 through May 16, while the inter- and intra-city public transport except private vehicles would remain off the road during that lockdown.

However, the home and tribal affairs department notified that the inter-city public transport would operate on May 8 and 9 with 50 per cent capacity to benefit the people wanting to return to native towns to celebrate Eid with families.

The TransPeshawar operating the Bus Rapid Transport in Peshawar also announced that the bus service would remain suspended from May 7 to May 16.

Traffic jams witnessed; traders announce they will observe lockdown

The trader associations held a joint meeting and decided that they would abide by the decisions of the government and district administration for coronavirus prevention and control.

A meeting of trader associations was held here with Malik Meher Ilahi in the chair.

The participants discussed the problems caused by the lockdown for traders.

Mr Ilahi said the restrictions forced the people to throng markets for Eid shopping.

Meanwhile, the 11-member committee of the United Traders Alliance met here and complained that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan did not keep his promise made to it.

The participants included Haji Mohammad Afzal, Sharafat Ali Mubarak, Shahid Khan, Mujeeb Rehman, Khalid Ayub, Habibullah Zahid, Haji Abdul Naseer, Khalid Gul Mohmand and Ghulam Bilal Javed.

They said the chief minister had assured traders during a recent meeting that the government won’t force them into lockdown but failed to act accordingly.

The traders announced that they would boycott all future meetings with provincial ministers.

They claimed that they were peaceful people and won’t challenge the writ of the government.

The traders said that the government had left no stone unturned for their ‘economic murder’ but even then, they accepted the lockdown decision wholeheartedly to help control the spread of coronavirus so that they wouldn’t be blamed for the spread of the disease.

They alleged that the government had spread the disease by reducing business hours and limiting workdays.

The traders said that instead of improving the country’s economy, the government had committed their economic murder and increased unemployment and inflation.

They insisted that besides the business community, the daily-wage employees and workers also suffered as the government didn’t even think where they would earn a livelihood for families during the nine-day lockdown.

They said the traders would devise a plan to launch a protest movement to claim rights after Eid holidays.

The traders announced that after Eid festival was over, all trade associations of the province would launch the ‘trader-save-economy-save-country movement’ against the anti-business decisions of the government.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021

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