KARACHI: Agitated with frequent breakdown of law and order, targeted killings and recurrent halt in business activities, leader of a traders body said government's continued ignorance towards genuine plights of traders will result in serious ramifications for economy and draw inevitable strong reaction from traders and citizens.
"On a strike-day, Karachi suffers a loss of approximately Rs 3.15 billion that is unavoidable and government needs to adopt drastic steps on immediate basis to heal the loss," said Chairman All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) Atiq Mir.
AKTI on Tuesday gave a strike call against continued abductions and killings of businessmen, extortion and other crimes in the city's markets, supported by Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Sunni Tehreek, transporters and other organizations.
Talking to PPI, he said traders had repeatedly been demanding protection from extortionists, but to no avail. Suspension and postings of police officers doesn't make a difference, a strong will is required at government's end to take indiscriminate action against criminals and implement its own directives at first.
Mir said Inspector General Police Sindh now may not be a relevant person with complete authority; higher authorities of the government are responsible and entitled to take indiscriminate, not politically-motivated, action against extortionists and criminals.
"In last three months, around 20 traders have been gunned down while more than 15 have been abducted for payment of ransom. In all such grim circumstances, where the law enforcement agencies do exists," he asked.
He lamented that government commitment was now just restricted to statements, with no practical implementation. He threatened traders will go on indefinite strike if adequate protection was not provided to them in next 72 hours.
Chairman Karachi Transport Ittehad Irshad Hussain Bukhari, when contacted, said holding of strikes had become a routine in Karachi. Now there is no distinction between a 'mourning day' and 'strike day' as in both conditions city remains shut and citizens suffer.
He said how transporters could dare to ply their vehicles on roads when a major political party of Karachi supported the strike call.
He said ruling leaders were not realizing the serious economical loses suffering the country due to frequent strikes in Karachi, which is the economic hub. KTI Chairman recalled that some 30 public transport buses were torched in a strike in March and added that such violence could never stop until 'fight for power' between different political forces was ended.