Top representatives of industrial associations in Karachi asked the government on Thursday to immediately stop the violence in the city or call the army to control the situation.
Furious over the perceived non-action of the government against the ‘bhatta’ mafia or extortionists, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Vice President Khalid Tawab said the situation over the last one week has convinced them that things can only improve once the army takes control of the city. “The situation is out of the control of civilian hands,” he said.
He said that the major wholesales markets of city that supply goods to all parts of country are closed in protest against the killing of innocent traders by bhatta mafia.
Bin Qasim Association of Trade and Industry Founder President and Patron in-chief Mian Muhammad Ahmed said, “Considering the present security condition, I would say the government has been too late in deciding to call the army. It should have been called much earlier because the situation in the city is unbearable for businessmen.”
Another industrialist from Port Qasim industrial area said that the situation in city started deteriorating after ten days of Ramazan, when almost all the political parties and extortionists boosted their activities in Port Qasim Industrial area to harass industrialists.
He added that all the major political and religious parties are equally involved in extortion. These parties have increased their activities manifold in this Ramazan and blatantly demand Rs50,000 to Rs500,000 from each factory in the Port Qasim Indusrtrial Area. “The police and Rangers have failed to protect citizens’ property and life in general and businesspersons in particular, which is why people are now demanding the army to come in and handle the situation in city,” he said.
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Saeed Shafiq said that government should now take action rather than perform lip service.
”We have asked Interior Minister Sindh Manzoor Wasan to bring constitutional changes into law so that criminals can be convicted. Meanwhile, the government can bring the army in the city to protect civilians who are being killed by the dozen every day,” he said.
“Today these criminals are attacking their opponents with rockets. I mean where we are heading to?” he asked.
Federal B Area of Trade and Industry (FBATI) Chairman Muhammad Irfan commented that industrialists are demanding the army to take over Karachi because all other government agencies have failed in controlling the security conditions of the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.