Traders seek assistance as extortion complaints float

Say law enforcement agencies need to address these incidents

Our Correspondent December 30, 2017

KARACHI: After a gap of over three years, traders are once again saying that extortionists have expanded their influence in Karachi, especially in the old city areas.

More than 50 representatives from different markets of Karachi sought the help of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in urging law enforcing agencies (LEAs), particularly Pakistan Rangers Sindh, to deal with the situation.

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Leading traders expressed deep concern over the re-emergence of extortionists (bhatta mafia), upsurge in robberies and lock-breaking incidents in recent weeks, according to a KCCI press release.

Exchanging views with KCCI representatives, small traders said that some shopkeepers have recently been detained by Rangers on charges of acting as 'facilitators' which, they claimed, was not factual in many cases.

"There is a dire need to define the exact definition of 'facilitator' so that shopkeepers and small traders could be careful in their daily business dealings and immediately get in touch with LEAs in case they find anything wrong," the release added.

Small traders and shopkeepers pointed out that the situation in almost all the markets of the city, particularly the old city areas, has continued to worsen day-by-day with shopkeepers constantly receiving extortion notes. They requested the KCCI to provide a helping hand to tense shopkeepers and small traders.

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After listening to the grievances, KCCI representatives assured support and cooperation.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2017.

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