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Keep markets open till midnight to check crowding, suggests PTI


May 17, 2020

Demanding to extend the trading hours at markets till midnight, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Karachi leaders said on Saturday that huge crowds were gathering in markets because of limited working hours four days a week.

The Sindh government should devise separate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each department, said PTI Karachi President Khurrum Sher Zaman, addressing a press conference.

“Due to the lockdown and poor policies of the Sindh government, everyone, mainly the working class, has been badly affected,” said Zaman, who is also an MPA.

He asked the Sindh government to allow the opening of shopping malls under separate SOPs. “Similarly, transport needs to be restored immediately. The livelihood of millions of people is linked to transport,” he said.

He said the provincial government was at the forefront of legislation while lagging behind in implementation. He asked the government to answer in the Sindh Assembly why the health department was signing contracts with private hospitals.

“Are Sindh's government hospitals closed? Why will the Sindh government give Rs175,000 per patient daily to private hospitals?” he asked.

Zaman claimed that the entire Sindh cabinet was based on well-wishers and relatives, who were committing corruption. He advised Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to remove incompetent ministers from his cabinet and bring positive changes in it.

Positive results were being given by conducting fake tests of coronavirus in the province, he said. “The Sindh government has intentionally been spreading fear and panic among the people."

MPA Zaman said the federal government was giving money to Sindh in the name of the National Financial Commission. “After the passage of the 18th amendment, health is now a provincial subject,” he said.

The PTI leader also said that the steps taken by the federal government for the prevention of the coronavirus were being welcomed not only nationwide but all over the world. Under the Ehsaas emergency cash programme, the prime minister had taken care of the poor and needy people affected due to the lockdown.

“The country needs to declare a national emergency and take action on a war footing,” he said. “But sadly, the Sindh government, including Pakistan Peoples Party supremo Bilawal Zardari, has been doing politics even in these circumstances.”

PTI Karachi Senior Vice President Mahmood Maulvi, General Secretary Saeed Afridi, Karachi Spokesperson Jamal Siddiqui and Adviser to President PTI Karachi Imran Siddiqui were also present at the press conference.

JI’s stance

Other political parties have also been demanding of the Sindh government to extend the market timings in order to prevent crowding.

In a statement issued on Friday, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman called for the government to allow the markets to open for more hours, or else the people would continue thronging to the commercial centres in large numbers at a time.

He also condemned the government’s decision to impose fines up to Rs1 million on shopkeepers violating the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He said federal ministers should by fined instead for allowing people to enter the country from abroad without being screened who eventually spread the epidemic in the country.

The JI city chief said it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that the people followed SOPs at the markets. He also demanded that the government extend the timings of markets due to Eid.

According to the JI city chief, traders were already facing financial troubles as they had resumed their businesses after 60 days. He said it was natural for the customers to flock to the shops in large numbers when the timings of the shops had been so shortened.

He demanded that the government increase the time of shopping and said it was the responsibility of the administration to ensure that the SOPs were followed.

Commenting on the traffic jams in the city during the day hours, he said the traffic police were not available to control the vehicular traffic.