KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) wound up its strike well before the half-way mark on Sunday, allowing public transport and commercial activities to resume in Karachi and other parts of the province in the afternoon.
The party had issued the strike call against the 'anti-urban' budget presented by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.
On Saturday evening, the party appealed to traders, industrialists and transporters to support the call by shutting down their businesses. However, later at night, the party appealed to traders, industrialists, shopkeepers and transporters to resume their businesses at 1pm the next day. MQM chief Altaf Hussain also asked workers and supporters to cut short the strike to pay respect to the preparations of the upcoming month of Ramazan.
In the afternoon, businesses and transport resumed activities after a half-day strike. Shops, CNG stations, petrol pumps and Sunday bazaars also opened. An extra contingent of law enforcers including police and Rangers were deployed across the city to avoid any untoward incident.
A partial strike was observed in parts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Jamshoro and Tando Allahyar on Sunday on MQM's call. Unlike Karachi, markets remain open in the rest of the Sindh on Sundays and the strike affected commercial activity in those areas. However, the markets began to reopen by around 2pm following the appeal from the MQM.
"MQM's strike is meaningless. The budget is only for the sake of discussion. Every year 90 per cent of the development budget goes into corruption," said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's provincial leader Arif Alvi at a news conference in Tando Muhammad Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2015.
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