Business and industrial activities in the financial hub of the country hit a low on Saturday owing to the strike call of various political parties against the restoration of the local bodies system in Sindh.
Most industrial workers could not reach their factories due to the absence of public transport. In many cases, industrialists opted to stay at home because of the fragile law and order situation.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Abdul Wahab Lakhani, chairman of the SITE Association of Industry, the oldest industrial zone of Karachi with over 4,000 industries, said that the attendance of factory workers remained thin on Saturday because of inadequate public transport. “Saturday is half day in our industrial zone. Even then the production was low compared to our regular Saturdays.”
Nisar Shekhani, former chairman of the SITE Association of Trade and Industry, said that almost all industries in the SITE industrial zone remained closed on Saturday.
All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir said that all major markets of the city were closed on Saturday in view of political uncertainty.
Representatives of various trade associations told The Express Tribune that almost all political parties threatened them directly or indirectly on a strike day.
“If we do not obey their orders and close our shops, they come and forcefully do so,” the representative of a trade association said. “So we think it is better to obey their orders in the first place.”
One person was killed and 11 injured on Friday night after miscreants torched a public bus in Keamari. Six vehicles were torched in different parts of the city on Friday night.
Since most residents of the city use public transport, its absence is always the main reason for the low attendance in offices and business centres on strike days. Owing to the deteriorating law and order situation, people with private vehicles also hesitate to go to offices. This is based on the sharp rise in the car-torching incidents in recent weeks.
A banker, who lives in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and works on II Chundrigar Road, said that he preferred to stay at home on Saturday because of non-stop aerial firing in his area on Friday night.
“Everybody knows that anything can happen anytime in today’s Karachi. My residential area is one of the politically uncertain areas. I do not want to take the unnecessary risk of going to work on a strike day,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.