KARACHI: Businessmen and traders of the metropolis have accused the government of sheltering the ‘bhatta’ mafia that killed two traders on Wednesday. Traders are threatening a week-long strike if the government fails to control the deteriorating security situation in Karachi’s leading markets.
Traders from all leading markets in old city area gathered on Thursday evening to protest the Wednesday killing of their two colleagues. The protests gathered support from traders who shutdown their shops and participated in the protests.
Just after few hours of protests, bhatta mafia attacked another market with a hand grenade and fired gunshots on shops. Traders say they are convinced that the Thursday hand grenade attack was in reaction to their protests against the killing of their colleagues.
“Bhatta mafia did blatant straight firing and hurled grenades to threaten us even from protesting against their actions,” a trader said on condition of anonymity. “We have now no confidence in the government and we demand army to take control of the area,” he added. Traders from the busiest markets of Karachi city that came under fire in recent attacks believe that bhatta mafia is being operated from the Lyari area that has now spread their influence to other parts of city.
“How we can expect government to do something against mafia when we know they have clear support from the ruling party at central government,” a trader said. Traders protested in front of the Methadar police station against the killing of Muhammad Hanif, a trader who was killed in Wednesday firing.
To induce a sense of security and pacify the traders, the police, in evening, staged a flag march on MA Jinnah road – a main road that links old city markets to city centre and other parts of city.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.
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