Traders in Punjab defy lockdown, open markets
Traders in various Punjab cities, including Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Multan and Hafizabad have opened markets and resumed business activities defying the nine-day lockdown announced by the provincial government just a day earlier, 24NewsHD TV channel reported.
As a result, the TV channel reported, Rawalpindi’s Raja Bazaar has been flooded with Eid shoppers. In Lahore’s Azam Cloth Market, traders exchanged hot words with the administration early Tuesday and police when the law-enforcers tried to get the shops closed in accordance with the lockdown decision of the Punjab government till 5 August.
It is pertinent to note that in view of the coronavirus spread fears on Eidul Azha, the Punjab government has announced to impose lockdown in the province till August 5 which became effective from Monday midnight. According to the government’s decision, while markets will remain closed pharmacies and food outlets home-delivery services would remain open.
Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said the Punjab government took the lockdown decision in the wake of the current statistics according to which no death has been reported in the last 24 hours in the province.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corona was held at the Chief Minister's House under the chair of Provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat in which Senior Member Board of Revenue, Secretary Specialized Health, Secretary Primary Health, CCPO and heads of relevant departments participated.
In Kahror Pakka, markets have been opened by the business community of the city in violation of the lockdown decision and argued they want to earn money during the Eid shopping season. South Punjab Anjuman-e-Tajiran Vice-chairman Ubaid ur Rehman reached the main bazaar in Kahror Pakka and announced that traders will not close their markets.
In Burewala, traders termed closure of markets on the occasion of Eid their “economic murder”.
In Multan, the business community is divided as All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran Chairman announced to open shops but the All Pakistan Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajiran decided to keep the shops closed.
Trader leader Sheikh Akram Hakeem said that they want the government to allow the opening of shops by the government otherwise traders will open the shops in consultation with the business community.
It is pertinent to note that South Punjab’s largest electronics market named “Hussain Agahi Bazaar” is completely closed. The Bazaar has about 1600 electronics shops.
In Gujrat, the police party had to retreat from the main bazaar when traders came out of their shops and resisted the policemen who were trying to close the shops. Police looked “helpless” and left the police van in the wake of Gujarat business community’s anger in the main bazaar, the 24NewsHD’s correspondent in Gujrat reported.
Traders in Gujrat said, “The PTI government has made the lives of poor men miserable while businessmen are also starving.” However, Gujarat police have forcibly closed some shops in the market and arrested a few shopkeepers.
The situation in Okara is not different from other parts of the province. In Okara city, traders have managed to resume their business activities as per usual defying the provincial lockdown.