RAHIM YAR KHAN: Traders in different districts of Punjab went on strike against high electricity rates and inflation on Thursday.

In Rahim Yar Khan, the strike call escalated into a brawl as four traders were injured when a conflict broke out between two trader bodies over the issue of the strike.

Zilaee Anjuman Tajraan (ZAT) President Abdul Raouf Mukhtar said that in response to the call from Markazi Anjuman Taajran, the ZAT followed the order in the district. He said that ZAT had no concerns with the dispute among traders, which resulted in an injury to one trader. He declared the strike a success.

On the other hand, City Anjuman Tajran (CAT) President Azman Asghar Chaudhary alleged that ZAT did not truly represent the traders. Hesaid several ZAT leaders did not close their factories on Thursday. When CAT observed that all the flour mills and other factories were operational, and only small traders and shopkeepers were being pressured to strike, they took a different approach. However, a group of 50 to 60 ZAT leaders forcibly attempted to close shops in some markets. He alleged some ZAT leaders themselves caused injuries to a few supporting traders and initiated legal proceedings against CAT leaders.

DERA GHAZI KHAN: In response to the call from the Markazi Anjuman Tajran of the district, various business centers in Dera Ghazi Khan witnessed a shutter-down protest against the increase in electricity prices.

Khwaja Muhammad Shafiq, president Ajmal Baloch, and South Punjab President Chaudhry Tariq Karim supported the protest, demanding reductions in electricity, gas, and petroleum prices, along with the removal of illegal taxes.

A protest rally originated from the Grain market, proceeded to Samina Chowk and Rani Bazaar, with participants burning electricity bills.

MUZAFFARGARH: The shutter-down call of the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran was successful in the Muzaffargarh district under the leadership of Sheikh Amir Saleem, General Secretary of Anjuman Tajran South Punjab.

In a meeting attended by district president Syed Amir Hasan, Malik Javed Akhtar, Mian Shan Sheikh, Malik Ejaz, Ahsan Phalu, Ayub Mithu, Ghulam Mohiuddin Sethi, Haji Waheed, Sheikh Mazhar Ali Muji, Shahid Bala, Rana Talib, Ghaffar Dogar, Malik Manzoor Dogar, and others, slogans were raised against the power companies.

The strike was visible in Kot Addu, Alipur and Jatoi.

OKARA: Bazaars in Okara, Dipalpur, Renala, and other urban centres remained closed in protest against the skyrocketing prices of electricity and petroleum products.

Trader representatives Sheikh Riaz Anwar, Chaudhry Faisal Aziz and Waheed Bhullar stated during a rally that traders would continue the protest.

SAHIWAL: In Sahiwal and Pakpattan, cities and towns protested against inflated electricity bills and the ongoing price hike following the call of Markazi Anjuman Tajrain.

A protest rally was held from Jogi Chowk to Saddar Bazaar.

In Harrapa city, traders and civil society organized a rally where speakers stated that the price hike had severely impacted the poor and middle classes.

The traders organisation in Malkain Hans blocked the Sahiwal-Pakpattan Road for two hours.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2023

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