Karachi traders pull down shutters against extortion
Earlier on the day, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) withdrew the shutter-down strike call and announced to hold a peaceful protest by hoisting white flags. A meeting of Karachi traders was held in the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in which representatives of small traders had resolved that they would keep the markets closed on Tuesday. However, the leader of Business Group Siraj Kassam Teli had announced that traders would hold a peaceful protest demo on 5th April from 03:00 pm to 07:00 pm at Polo Ground against worsening law and order situation in Karachi. Leaders of the KCCI last week announced that they would go on strike after hundreds of shopkeepers staged a protest demonstration on M. A. Jinnah Road and demanded action against the scourge.
On Tuesday, the situation went tense when traders of KCCI gathered at the Polo Ground, a group of supporters of All Karachi Traders Alliance Association also reached there and tried to interrupt the press briefing of Chairman BMG Siraj Kassam Teli, which led to brawl. Five people received minor injuries in the scuffle.
Talking to newsmen Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) KCCI Teli said that they set up the protest camp to send a strong message to higher authorities about the grave concerns of the trader community, especially about extortion threats. He said traders and shopkeepers are living in perpetual fear as they regularly receive threats from extortionists. He warned that the traders of Karachi would go on strike for infinite period from 12th April 2011, if government failed to meet their demands.
Meanwhile, small shopkeepers and retailers across the city observed strike against extortion ‘by certain elements’. The markets remained shutting in various parts of the city on Tuesday. Traders from Clifton, Defense, Tariq Road, Bahadurabad, Saddar and MA Jinnah Road had shut down their stores in protest to these threats.
Traders from Saddar, Burns Road and other parts of the city also pulled down shutters of their shops on the call of strike today against the threats from Bhatta and extortionist mafia.
Atiq Mir, Chairman of All Karachi Traders Alliance Association (AKTAA) had said that the traders of Karachi would keep their shops closed on 5th April because they were facing lots of problems including killing of traders, extortion, kidnapping and threats.
He said that the government had failed to resolves traders’ problems. He demanded of the government to provide security to traders and take action firm against extortionist mafia.
MQM ultimatum for action against extortionists
Islamabad—Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Tuesday issued two-day ultimatum to the government for taking action against extortionists in Karachi.
Talking to media outside parliament house here, MQM Senators Abdul Haseeb, Ahmed Ali and others said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik has assured to take action against extortionist mafia in the economic hub, adding that their party would announce its future line of action after two-day deadline.
Meanwhile, talking to media, MQM leader Babar Ghauri said that despite assurance from Interior Minister, extortionists were not arrested. He alleged that some police officers were supporting these elements.
He demanded of the government to take immediate action against the extortionists instead of rhetoric statements.