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Closing of markets for PSL annoys traders

February 05, 2020

LAHORE:Closing of the markets, businesses and other offices in the Gaddafi Stadium area to hold the 15 matches of Pakistan Super League (PSL) will cost almost Rs10 billion loss to the national exchequer.

The government forcefully closed all the business activities, markets and offices in Gulberg, Ferozpur Road and other adjacent areas of Gaddafi Stadium during the cricket matches since the resumption of the international cricket in Pakistan which is annoying the business community which is already affected with economic slowdown in the country.

The traders of Liberty and other markets in the Gulberg area, Hafeez Center and Ferozepur Road believed that almost Rs4 billion transactions loss suffered by them daily due to closure of the markets for cricket match. Thus, the government per day loss on these transactions is almost Rs680 million on the 17 percent of GST tax rate. Now for the first time all PSL matches will be held in Pakistan while Lahore will host 15 matches in Gaddafi Stadium. This means that if all business activities in the adjacent areas of Gaddafi Stadium remain closed for the 15 days then it will cause Rs60 billion transactions loss to the business and over Rs10 billion loss to the national exchequer.

Interestingly, the franchisers are also voicing against such strong security protocols and suggesting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to relax the general public to maximise the crowd, or otherwise people will avoid watching match in stadium. They also pointed out that stadium was not filled in the recent Pakistan-Bangladesh T20 matches. Further, if the general public will face difficulties in commuting then they will not come to watch the matches.

On the other hand, the Liberty Market traders declared that they would not allow the parking of cricket matches in the Liberty Market parking. Further, they also announced keeping open the shops. Similarly, Hafeez Center traders also announced opening of their shops during the PSL matches.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh also hailed from Liberty Market said that liberty and Gulberg area traders decided that they would not close the markets for cricket matches anymore. ‘We support the government and welcome the return of cricket in Pakistan, but matches at the cost of businesses are not acceptable”, he said adding that now the law and order has improved with the efforts of the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) so such strict security should not be needed.

Giving alternate solutions for it, he suggested that the government should construct a hotel within the boundary of Gaddafi Stadium to resolve the issue of traffic mess, players’ security arrangements once and for all. Further, if the hotel is not possible there then shift the stadium out of the city, he suggested. On the traffic and business closure, he suggested the government move the teams on helicopters so no traffic mess will emerge. He was of the view that disturbing the whole city and citizens for holding a cricket match was not a wise act, instead of making other arrangements in which everything move smoothly along with cricket matches.

Hafeez Center Traders Association Chairman Malik Kaleem said that closing of shops, centre, offices and banks for holding a match is now unbearable. ‘We have decided not to close the shops and Hafeez Center for the PSL matches while the government should make its arrangements”, he said adding that the government should not close the businesses for PSL matches instead allow the business as routine and designate Hali Road, FCC parking and football stadium for Gaddafi Parking. This will give a more positive image of the country and good law and order in Pakistan.

He said that in the past, international players visited the shopping centres, markets of Lahore for shopping besides eating out at the eateries. The government should make such arrangements and allow the international players to move freely. Further, besieging the public by closing roads and businesses for a cricket match will give wrong impression instead of giving free environment to the public to watch the match, park their cars in nearby, go for dinner at the eateries and do shopping in the nearby areas after matches.

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