Azadi march: A sense of déjà vu for Blue Area traders

Businessmen say even a few days’ closure causes losses worth billions.

APP August 06, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Traders in Islamabad and Rawalpindi are worried about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI)’s ‘Azadi March’ on August 14 and its call to remain in the capital till its as-yet undisclosed demands are met.

“This is not good news for businessmen of the twin-cities in particular and for the whole country in general as the march will disturb the business environment,” said Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Dr Shumail Daud on Monday.

He said protests not only affect business but also create problems for commuters, daily wagers and transporters. “The country is already faced with multiple challenges. Marches like this can further aggravate the situation,” said the RCCI chief.

He urged the warring politicians to sort out their issues through negotiations and not making the working man suffer. Former Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ijaz Abbassi also said that the PTI-led march will hamper the city’s business environment. “PTI must ensure that its protest does not affect the economy.”

He said democracy is not about protests only. “A workable environment to do business is also a democratic right of the people,” he remarked.

Sajid Khan, a shopkeeper in the Aabpara Market, said, “There is some kind of demonstration every other day. Shopkeepers can’t afford this as they are already facing losses due to load-shedding.”

Traders say they suffered losses worth Rs7billion when Tahirul Qadri staged a sit-in on Jinnah Avenue in January 2013. Over 2,500 stores, offices, restaurants and moneychangers in Blue Area remained closed for several days owing to the protest.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th,2014.


Usman | 9 years ago | Reply

@ahmad: To be honest, the losses suffered by the economy due to mismanagement, nepotism, corruption and incompetence eclipse any loss the business community may suffer for a few weeks of protest. The PM just shut down the entire country for 10 days as if we have oil wells springing out to bring us wealth. He's running the country on the model of Gulf states. For a country that has suffered 60 years of injustice, a few days of protest for something as important at electorcal reforms is worth the effort. No change without pain.

ahmad | 9 years ago | Reply To be honest, the business community is seriously sick of the instability caused by Qadri and IK. After years we were looking forward to some good business growth but all of it has now stopped due to the demonstrations by these two. Please understand that the last thing any businessman want is instability. look how the stock market is starting to crash, how property rates are being affected and how industry expansion has suddenly slumbered. i am afraid that these **inqalabs** will cause Chinese to withdraw their $35 billion investment from important projects such as rail networks, Dams,Coal power Plants, Nuclear power plants, motorways etc and we will once again miss the golden opportunity to thrust Pakistan forward. I request IK and Qadri please not to obstruct the momentum in business activity that has been generated by the coming of PML-N government.Please!
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