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April 18, 2021

Karachi traders revolt against govt’s market closure policy

Top Story

April 18, 2021

KARACHI: All commercial areas in the city will remain open today, All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir announced on Saturday as he reacted to the Sindh government's new policy for commercial activities amidst a nationwide 'third wave' of the coronavirus epidemic.

"Changing the market closure days repeatedly is creating too much confusion," he said, addressing the provincial government.

The Sindh government had a day earlier notified that markets will only be allowed to operate from sehri (dawn) to 6pm.

Commercial areas were further told to remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays — as compared to Fridays and Sundays previously.

On Saturday, Mir demanded that markets should in fact be allowed to operate late in the night during Ramadan.

"Traders have spent billions on purchasing goods [in anticipation of demand] before Eid. Limiting market hours will only create problems for the common citizens," he said.

Similarly, the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiraan rejected the government's decision to shut markets and commercial activities two days every week.

"Traders are being targeted under a conspiracy as the federal and provincial governments tussle over politics," it said.

"On the pretext of following the NCOC's orders, the Sindh government is sanctioning the economic murder of [the province's] traders," the union said.

"Instead of shuttering businesses, the government should prioritize vaccinating the population.

"The Sindh chief minister should immediately order opening of markets for six days every week," the union said. "Business hours should be extended to 10pm, and to 2am after the 15th roza."

A representative of the various electronics dealers in the city expressed similar views while announcing that markets would remain open today. "We will begin implementing the Government of Sindh's new SOPs from next week. Markets were to be closed only on Fridays and Sundays according to the old SOPs," Mohammad Rizwan, president of the Karachi Electronic Dealers Association, said.

"After the 15th of Ramadan, the Sindh government should let us open markets from noon to midnight and enforce market closure on only one day a week," he further demanded.

Meanwhile, the city's wholesale markets will remain closed today owing to their strike, the chairman of the Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association has announced.

The association has demanded that the city's additional commissioner accept their demands, warning that the supply of wholesale goods to nearly 30 million people has been suspended for three days now.