KARACHI, Aug 23: The city experienced a second shutdown in less than two weeks as traders, transporters and fuel station owners kept their businesses closed on Tuesday after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement announced that the party would observe a ‘day of mourning’ to condemn the recent killings.
However, unlike past shutdowns, the daylong closure did not witness any major incident of violence or arson attack. The five bodies found in different areas were not linked with the closure, according to police.
Only on Aug 13, a ‘shutter-down strike’ called mainly by nationalist parties against the restoration of the local body system of 2001 had paralysed the city life.
During the day, roads remained deserted in the absence of public transport and due to the closure of fuel stations and markets, but commercial activities resumed just before sunset when traders announced that they would keep their businesses open till Sehri to facilitate Eid shopping.
“We kept our business closed in fact for both reasons —security and to condemn the recent wave of violence,” said Siddiq Memon, the president of the Karachi Traders Action Committee.
“All the markets across the city remained closed the whole day. A few resumed activities an hour before sunset, which were joined by all major commercial centres in every district of the city.”
Karachi Transport Ittehad president Irshad Bokhari said transporters kept their vehicles off the streets till Iftar. “There was no advice from our end but when transporters witnessed that the situation turned normal, they brought buses on the roads after sunset,” he added.
The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association, which had announced that they would keep businesses closed after the MQM shutdown call, also came up with similar views.
“A few CNG stations resumed their activities just before sunset. Most petrol pumps and CNG stations, however, have resumed their operations after sunset,” said a senior association member.
Earlier during the day, attendance at schools, colleges and major universities remained thin as most parents preferred not to send their wards to the educational institutions due to security reasons.
While the Sindh education department had announced that public and private schools as well as colleges in the city would stay open, a couple of private schools’ associations, including the All-Private Schools Management Association, had announced that private schools in the city would remain closed on Tuesday.