MULTAN/VEHARI/BAHAWALPUR/ AHMEDPUR EAST/ MAILSI - The traders observed a complete shutter-down strike across South Punjab on the call given by Punjab Anjuman-e-Tajran against loadshedding, price hike and poor law and order situation on Saturday.
A survey of Multan disclosed that almost all major trading centres like Hussain Agahi, Kala Mandi, Haram Gate, Bohar Gate, Delhi Gate and Pak Gate Bazaars, Sarafa Bazaar, Gulshan Market, Shah Rukan-e-Alam Main Market, Loha Market, Ghalla Mandi and some other trading centres remained shut while Gole Bagh, Gardezi Market, Cantonment Bazaar, Masoom Shah Road, Gur Mandi and some other market remained open.
Meanwhile, the traders brought out rallies at Chowk Kumharanwala, chungi No-14, Timber Market, Chowk Shah Abbas, Khanewal Road, Chowk Nawan Shehr, Pul Shawala, Bohar Gate and Chowk Shaheedan. The main rally started from Masjid Wali Muhammad under the leadership of Kh. Shafiq, Syed Jaffar Shah, Tariq Mahmood Malik Akhtar Butt and Sultan Mahmood Malik and terminated at Hussain Agahi Chowk.
Talking to the journalists on this occasion, Kh Muhammad Shafiq said that the traders got registered their protest in a peaceful manner and foiled the designs of saboteurs. He added that the opponents of the strike could not open even their own shops and despite their all out efforts all major trading centres remained shut.
On the other hand, the opponents of the strike claimed that the strike completely failed. Addressing a news conference, senior vice president of All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran South Punjab Kh Suleman Siddiqui and others said that the traders rejected the so called leaders and did not participate in the strike. “Over 80 per cent trading centres, bazaars and markets are open in Multan. It’s a clear evidence of their failure,” he added. He alleged that mobs holding clubs and sticks got the shops shut forcibly. He said that 260 traders bodies were functional in Multan and over 80 per cent rejected the call. He claimed that the traders of all other cities of Punjab also rejected strike call.
In AHMEDPUR EAST, Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran staged a sit-on at Chowk Munir Shaheed against the power loadshedding, price hike and deteriorating law and order situation.
A large number of trader leaders headed by Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran President Mian Younas observed the sit-in for six hours and expressed their resentment on 18 hours power loadshedding. Other office-bearers including
Abdul Lateef Bhatti, Jamal Abdul Nasar, Abdul Ghaffar Gardezi, Abdul Aziz Qureshi, Mohammad Aslam Baba, Naseem Tahir and others criticised the federal government for its failure to supply electricity to the citizens and businessmen. Traders leaders said that due to unscheduled power loadshedding and attachment of Derawar Cholistan area to Dera Nawab Sahib feeder, business activities had badly affected in Sub-division Ahmedpur East. They demanded government and CEO MEPCO to end the unscheduled loadshedding and the restoration of the old status of Dera feeder. Acting PML-N President Ali Hassan Gilani and other leaders visited the camp and assured their full support.
In VEHARI, people observed a complete shutter down strike on the call of Khawaja Muhammad shafiq, President Markezi Anjuman-e-Tajran Punjab. The strike was successful as two trader unions joined hands against outages and coordinated one another regarding strike.
In BUREWALA, Local traders observed a complete shutdown strike against 22-hour loadshedding in the city and rural areas to register their protest. Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran, District Vehari has given complete shutter down strike call in the city against the prolonged outages of power supply and all markets, bazaars, shopping centres, plazas fruit and vegetable market and grain market of the city remained close. Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran Vehari President Muhammad Jameel Bhatti, Anjuman-e-Sanatkaran President Muhammad Saghir Ramay, PML-N City President Ghulam Rasool Zaidi, Grocers Association President Rana Zulfiqar Ahmad, trade bodies members Muhammad Yaseen Bhatti, Pervez Khilji and other set up protest camp on College Road. Speaking on the occasion, traders alleged that the federal government was meting out step-motherly attitude with the people of Punjab. Meanwhile, hide and seek was continued between the protesters and police as the police baton charged some youth at city gate market.
The police lead by DSP Mazhar Ahmad Wattoo and Model Town Police SHO remained alert while special policemen were deployed in front of Mepco complex offices of local politicians to avert any untoward incidents Vehari bazaar, Pakistan People’s Party MNA.
In MAILSI, strike was observed against the worst power loadshedding and price-hike all the markets and shopping centres in and around the city remained shut. The strike remained peaceful as no any unpleasant incident was reported from any area of the tehsil.
In BAHAWALPUR, a complete shutter down strike was observed throughout Bahawalpur on the call of Muttahida Anjuman-e-Tajran on Saturday. Traders took out a rally, burnt tyres and wore black armband against the unscheduled loadshedding.
Muttahida Anjuman-e-Tajran District President Tariq Abbasi said that traders were playing the role of backbone in the national economy. Unscheduled loadshedding has destroyed their business and it has become difficult for them to pay even rent of their shops, kid’s fees and other expenditures,” he pointed out. In spite of 18 to 22 hours of loadshedding, electricity bills broke their back. Government should stop the unscheduled loadshedding and also stop the everyday increase in the electricity unit price. Government should give relief to the traders or that will lead them to civil war.
Hafiz Muhammad Younis, President Muttahida Anjuman-e-Tajran also spoke on the occasion.