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July 29, 2020

Lahore traders’ attempt to open shops foiled

Top Story

July 29, 2020

LAHORE: Hide-and-seek between traders and administration including police continued the whole day for opening and closing markets and shops, following the smart lockdown imposed by the Punjab government for nine days that started from Tuesday.

Trade leaders attempted to instigate the small traders and shopkeepers for opening shops and markets and incited them to agitate against the police and administration while keeping their own shops closed.

A number of attempts for opening of markets and shops were made in Azam Cloth Market, Shah Alam Market, Rangmehal Anarkali, Mall Road, Hall Road and Ichra where trade leaders attempted to open the shops. However, all their attempts were foiled by the administration with the support of police.

Police also made footages of opened shops through mobile phones and the shopkeepers closed their shops after seeing that the police were making their footages.

The trade leaders held media talks and press conferences at their respective markets where they said they will again open theirshops on Wednesday (today), terming the government’s decision of lockdown wrong and failure. They said the whole country including Islamabad opened on Tuesday while only markets and bazaars of Punjab were kept closed which is discrimination against the traders of Punjab.

The elected representatives of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) including president Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hassam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Javeed addressing a press conference said the government made a crucial decision without consulting with the traders and stakeholders which resulted in uncertainty in markets. They said if the decision was made after taking the stakeholders in confidence, such uncertain situation could not occur. They asked the government to consider the small traders and daily wagers by allowing them to open their markets and shops for last two days before the Eid. They said the traders purchased stocks which only be sold on Eid and if it will not be sold on Eid, they face huge loss. They said daily trade volume of Lahore is Rs 4 billion which increased to Rs 12 billion ahead of Eid so the government should allow the traders to open their shops on July 29 and 30.

Secretary General Naeem Mir instigated the traders to challenge the writ of the government by opening their shops. He said trade leaders are behind them and they traders should open their shops without any fear. He said traders rejected the government’s decision. He said police were deployed to forcefully close their shops. He demanded the government allow the traders to open their shops and markets. He asked if Covid-19 was only in Punjab while markets and businesses in Sindh and other provinces and Islamabad are open. He said instead of closing markets and applying lockdown like Punjab, Sindh increased the business hours.

Ashraf Bhatti, traders’ leader in Anarkali, said traders opened the shutters and challenged the government’s wrong decisions. He said the government made many wrong U-turns and urged it to take a good U-turn. He said they will not sit until the government withdraws the decision of imposing lockdown.

CCPO Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed said Lahore police urged the traders not to open markets and shops and respect the government’s decision.

MULTAN: All small and big markets remained closed in connection with 9 days lockdown announced by the government to avoid spread of COVID-19 in Multan and the South Punjab cities on Tuesday.

On the other hand, traders rejected sudden lockdown schedule and termed it a economic murder of the traders. The traders protested against the government’s announcement and said it would increase their financial loss.

The people from different walks of life strongly reacted over the sudden lockdown announcement. They said that they were unable to store food and other articles. The families moving in small closed markets were of the view that they were facing problems in shopping.

Meanwhile, a complete lockdown was observed in Multan city busiest areas, including Bosan Road, Gardezi Market, Gulgasht, Shalimar, Goal Bagh, Chungi No 9, Kutchehry Road, Chowk Ghanta Ghar, Hussain Agahi, Chowk Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Circular Road, Pak Gate, Delhi Gate, Bohar Gate, Nawan Shehr, Dera Adda, Gujjar Khada, Cantonment and other areas. While reacting over the lockdown, All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran chairman Khawaja Muhammad Shafiq denounced the lockdown announcement.

BAHAWALPUR: Traders in Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar districts Tuesday ignored the Punjab government nine-day lockdown regulation and kept open their business points.

In Bahawalpur City Circular Road traders partially observed the lockdown, however traders who closed their shops staged protest demonstration against the Punjab government for announcing the nine-day lockdown. In Bahawalnagar district traders continued their normal business activities regardless of 9-day lockdown announcement.

FAISALABAD: Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali on Tuesday visited the adjoining bazaars of Chowk Clock Tower to review the implementation on the lockdown. The DC said that the lockdown would be implemented as per the instructions of the government. He said that businessmen should cooperate in this regard.

He also met the traders present on the spot and stressed on the need to implement the government’s decision of the lockdown.

KABIRWALA: Traders of Kabirwala and Mianchannu on Tuesday rejected the government’s move to impose smart lockdown till August 5 to control the spread of coronavirus. The traders rejected the government’s move and announced that they would not pull their shutters down and they were ready to face any consequences.

Thousands of shopkeepers in Kabirwala gathered when the AC and the ASP reached the main bazaar to impose lockdown. Deputy Commissioner Agha Zaheer Abbas Sherazi along with DPO Ali Waseem visited Kabirwala and Mianchannu and talked with the members of trade unions but they strongly rejected the government orders to close their shops. The DC warned the shopkeepers to close their shops immediately. He said that any violation would be dealt with iron hand.

To it, Sheikh Rashid, president of trade union Kabirwala, said that instead of providing relief to the traders, the government had further created confusion among them through its ambiguous decisions. Meanwhile, partial lockdown was observed in Jahanian and Khanewal cities.

OKARA: Traders have rejected the government’s decision to close all shops and markets immediately due to corona threat.

The traders said that the government announced holidays just three days before the Eidul Azha, which was injustice with them. They lamented that the decision would spoil them financial completely.

They said that they were ready to follow the corona SOPs as given by the government. They demanded the government review the decision.

HAFIZABAD: Traders and shopkeepers on Tuesday staged a demonstration in front of press club against the lockdown of the government before the Eidul Azha.

The protest was led by the Markazi Traders Ittehad Council. The protesting traders said that they would not accept the lockdown in any situation as it was equal to their economic murder. Meanwhile, some shopkeepers opened their shops. Later, the administration officers closed these shops.

TOBA TEK SINGH: Traders rejected the government’s decision to close shops and markets as bazaars and shopping centres remained open at Gojra, Kamalia, Pirmahal and at Toba. Police, however, remained busy use force to close the shops. Later, the police arrested a number of shopkeepers and forcibly got closed their shops.

BUREWALA: Traders and shopkeepers on Tuesday protested against the government’s smart lockdown decision before the Eid.

The Vehari traders observed the protest partially in the district and took out a rally which was led by Anjuman-e-Tajran district president Muhammad Jamil Bhatti.

GUJRANWALA: Different trade unions on Tuesday staged a demonstration against the government’s decision to close the markets before Eidul Fitr due to coronavirus.

In the meantime, police and district administration officers rushed to the spot and control the situation. The traders said that they were already facing critical financial situation due to long lockdown during the last few months and now they were not in position to face any further loss.

They announced that they would not accept this government’s decision and all the markets would remain open. Meanwhile, a partial lockdown was observed in the city markets as most of the shopkeepers remained present in front of their shops and remained busy attending the customers.