The business community of the federal capital expressed deep concern on Sunday over the continuing closure of their shops due to the sit-ins organised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). They have decided to move the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the district administration for allowing the sit ins to be held.
Also on Sunday, hundreds of traders held a protest demonstration outside the National Press Club (NPC) against the district administration. Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the government, they said that it was unfair to traders, who are already facing multiple problems.
“For last four days our shops have been shut due to the protest,” said Aabpara Market Welfare Association President Ajmal Baloch.
He said that the market was most affected due to the marches and claimed traders had suffered losses to the tune of Rs2 billion. “Over 700 shops have been close for the last four days. Who will compensate us for the loss?” Baloch questioned.
Butchers Welfare Association President Khurshid Qureshi, who has three shops in the area, endorsed Baloch.
“Traders always get the hit when political parties take the city hostage,” he said.
Blue Area Traders Association President Sheikh Sohail said commerce in the capital was affected due to marches and held the government responsible for giving the permissions to hold sit-ins. He said that last year, traders in Blue Area suffered Rs7 billion in losses due to protest-related closures, adding that this year, he expects losses to be even higher.
Over 2,500 businesses including banks, restaurants, money changers, and multinational companies are based in Blue Area. “The government should compensate us for the losses as it allowed the protesters to enter the capital in the first place,” he said.
Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Acting President Malik Shahid Saleem said that due to the marches, business in Islamabad’s twin was badly affected.
In a statement issued by RCCI, the Saleem said that for the last four days, billion of rupees in losses were borne by traders in the city.
He demanded that the government resolve protest-market closure issues.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.
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