HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: Amid pressure from other parties, the nationalists decided to turn their strike against the Local Government Ordinance into a day of mourning for the 289 people killed in a fire at a garment factory in Baldia Town.
Appeals from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami National Party started coming in close to midnight to call off the strike and observe three days of mourning instead.
Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Muhammad Hussain Mehanti and PTI Sindh President Nadir Akmal Khan Leghari said that it was important to show solidarity with the families of the victims.
Pakistan is in a state of mourning and we need to prove that the country can come together in such testing times, said ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.
The Sindh United Party chief and chairperson of Sindh Bachao Committee, Jalal Mahmood Shah, who had earlier warned the government that “they would not back down”, said that the strike will now be observed as a day of mourning.
The party’s counterpart in Hyderabad also made it clear in the afternoon that they would go ahead with the strike come what may. The SUP’s senior vice president, Shah Muhammad Shah, had alleged that some elements were intimidating traders into observing the strike, by threatening their businesses and was offering them protection if they joined the call.
Earlier, the Sindh Bar Council vice chairperson, Ghulam Muhammad Abbasi, announced that lawyers across the province will boycott all court proceedings.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid had decided not to be part of the strike from the beginning. “We have no concerns with the strike,” said the party’s Sindh secretary general and advisor to the chief minister, Haleem Adil Shaikh. He clarified that his party also had reservations over the ordinance but will resolve them with the government later.
Transport and traders
The Karachi Transport Ittehad vice president, Tawab Khan, told The Express Tribune that buses and other vehicles will operate today.
Karachi Traders Alliance Chairperson Atiq Mir said that the traders plan to open their businesses today but are dependent on the law and order situation in the city.
With regard to the strike, businessmen in Hyderabad earlier said that they will keep working if they are provided security as they cannot afford financial setbacks.
With additional information from PPI
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.