Encroachment drives: Haripur’s traders demand removal of additional assistant commissioner

Say they will go on strike if Irshad Khan is not transferred immediately.

Our Correspondent July 21, 2014

HARIPUR: Traders have threatened to go on strike if Additional Assistant Commissioner Irshad Khan is not immediately transferred from Haripur.

During a meeting of the All Traders Association (ATA) on Monday, traders condemned the attitude of the additional assistant commissioner, describing it as “humiliating and detrimental to business activity in the city”.

According to the merchants, during the last anti-encroachment operation conducted in different markets, Khan confiscated iron and wood used to extend their shops — extensions which they made with the approval of the tehsil’s municipal administration.

“It was not encroachment,” claimed Younas Dosh, an ATA office bearer. “Khan was behaving like a Mughal emperor; not a government official.”

Dosh accused Khan of misbehaving with traders and depriving street vendors of their property (carts) — all in the name of the anti-encroachment drive.

Other speakers at the meeting said taking action against traders during Ramazan because of baseless allegations is part of a conspiracy to pit traders and the local administration against each other and disturb the city’s peace.

They warned of agitation if the Hazara Commissioner failed to transfer Khan. If the additional assistant commissioner stays in Haripur, the tussle between the administration and the merchants will deepen, they said.

ATA president Raja Hafeez, former president Abdul Saboor Qureshi, Haji Sher Afzal and Asif Taj were among those who spoke to the participants at the meeting.

Additional Assistant Commissioner Irshad Khan told The Express Tribune that he was doing his duty as per the directives of the provincial government. Those making allegations against him were in fact bent on sabotaging the anti-encroachment drive, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.