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Traders seek army deployment as demand of lockdown withdrawal intensifies

Business

May 28, 2020

KARACHI: Economically-strained traders on Wednesday sought deployment of army personnel in markets to enforce discipline for averting the virus outbreak, while calling for an immediate withdrawal of lockdown for all businesses to avoid chaos.

Veteran businessman Siraj Kassam Teli said if the lockdown is not suspended immediately, many businesses, which remain completely suspended for last more than two months, would shut down forever that would lead to creating a chaotic situation.

“People would find no other option but to come out on streets to protest due to rising unemployment and poverty,” Teli, chairman of Businessmen Group said in a statement. “Excluding export-oriented industries and industries engaged in the production of essential food items, the rest of other local industries and also the restaurants in which hundreds and thousands of workers are employed, remain closed and the relevant businessmen are finding it impossible to sustain all these employees and are looking forward to close down their businesses forever which, if happens, would prove to be more dangerous than the coronavirus pandemic.”

Teli said the government has to act sensibly and pay attention to the pressing issue by giving a go-ahead to army’s deployment.

The government was urged to completely wind up the lockdown so that all types of businesses and industries could restart their operations with full swing. It was advised to deploy troops from the army whose presence and patrolling at various commercial markets would ensure strict adherence to the standard operating procedures devised to contain further spread of coronavirus pandemic. Downturn in commercial and trade activity following lockdown upended the economy’s vital small and medium enterprises sector – which contributes 40 percent to the country’s GDP, 25 percent in its export earnings, and 80 percent in non-agricultural employment.

Teli said the economy is already in deep crises and it cannot afford further damages.

“It is really critical to restart all businesses with normal timings and get back to routine life in presence of the virus,” he said. “On one hand, we have to contain coronavirus pandemic but on the other, we also have to save the already ailing economy. The disciplined troops from armed forces must be given the task to ensure across the board implementation of SOPs, which has to be done on top priority in order to save the economy from plunging into further crises.”

Teli, who’s been president Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry said reopening of businesses under army’s supervision would help in protecting the businesses from complete collapse and save the masses from unemployment, poverty and starvation.

Teli said number of people affected by coronavirus continues to rise all over the country as the public and also the members of the business community have been largely ignoring the SOPs due to lack of discipline. “Pakistan army is well-known for its discipline all around the world hence, it is high time that the army must come forward to rescue the country, teach discipline to the masses and get the SOPs enforced all the time,” he said. “The coronavirus pandemic is not going anywhere and we have to live with it and continue our businesses in a disciplined manner. We cannot live in the lockdown forever so we have to exhibit the Discipline which is the first step on the road to success.”