LAHORE: Traders on Sunday asked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to take notice of inappropriate use of army troops for forcibly closing down the businesses of small traders by the government and announced that they would hold a protest demonstration in front of the NCOC headquarters in Islamabad after Eid.
“This is for Gen Qamar Javaid Bajwa (COAS). The army was called by the government under Article 245 to ensure implementation of the Covid-19 SOPs. But it was being used by the government to get the businesses of small shopkeepers forcibly closed which is a wrong act on the part of government,” All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran General Secretary Naeem Mir said in his video message.
He said the Pakistan Army was the most prestigious and disciplined institution that receives respect from the people in general and the traders in particular. Moreover, the people giving respect follow instructions of army and implement its orders whenever the government calls them for any issue under the Article 245 of the Constitution.
“The traders especially the retailers/shopkeepers have expressed concerns over use of such a prestigious institution by the government for closing down their businesses on the pretext of Covid-19 SOPs and NCOC guidelines. If the army is used for ensuring wearing of masks by the people, controlling rush of people and getting the traders vaccinated, the traders would have appreciated it. But using army for closing down businesses is not good for its respect and prestige,” Mir deplored.
The APAT general secretary sarcastically congratulated the government for forcibly closing shops, businesses of small traders and shopkeepers and depriving them of their earning ahead of Eid for which they wait the whole year. “We congratulate the PTI government for snatching earnings of small traders, destructing their business, weakening them economically and suppressing them. You deserve medal for doing so,” he taunted.
He vowed to launch a movement against the government by keeping their shops open instead of observing shutter-down strike. The traders will have to change your strategy. You must prepare yourself for a major sit-in and encircling of the NCOC headquarters in Islamabad soon after Eid. “And we will not end our protest till resignation of NCOC chief Asad Umer,” he warned.
Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2021