Traders look to apex court for opening markets

Urge CJP to instruct provincial govts to allow business activity to resume

Shahram Haq April 20, 2020
LAHORE: After observing a go-slow policy by provincial governments, the traders and retailers are now looking to the Supreme Court of Pakistan for a suo moto notice in favour of opening the markets.

On Saturday, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the developing situation due to the closure of shops; and instruct provincial governments to allow recommencement of business activities.

“We do not want any dispute with the government in these times of crisis as we know it could lead to mass agitation in markets,” said APAT Central General Secretary Naeem Mir.

The frustration, coupled with anger, amongst the traders and retailers is increasing day-by-day over the prolonged lockdown. The certain relaxations in lockdown are further complicating matters. The lockdown in Lahore is partially applicable, numerous retail and wholesale markets are still close but along with that several traders have resumed their business operation covertly. However, police and other law enforcement agencies are forcefully trying to shut down businesses, which are again causing distress among the entire community.

Chainstore Association of Pakistan Chairman Tariq Mehboob - a representative body of tax-paying retailers - said that it seems that both federal and provincial governments are now playing politics in this crucial Covid-19 crisis.

On April 30, the lockdown will complete 45 days, three times more than the quarantine period. “We have responded positively to the governments call of closing down the businesses, but we believe that no more extension of lockdown is suitable else we will have to suffer an economic coronavirus,” Mehboob stated.

According to Mehboob, this is the time government should meet with the stakeholders and develop new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding operations before April 25.

“Government should now phase out a plan (category wise) regarding preventive measures retailers should practice to revive their business.”

“It’s better to renew SOPs else we may have to see another situation where retailers will be unaware and unprepared for any preventive measure.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2020.

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