KARACHI: On Tuesday, traders around the country said they would restart April 15 operations, Geo News reported.
Later, the Karachi traders withheld their demand for business to be opened today for two days after the commissioner’s assurance, while the Punjab business community urged the government to allow activities for a limited period of time.
In his address to the nation yesterday, Prime Minister Imran Khan extended the lockdown until 30 April.
The Premier said some industries like construction will be permitted to operate from Wednesday (morning). The Karachi business community said they would resume operations from April 15 and the traders will obey preventive steps.
Addressing a press conference, a representative of the Karachi’s trader community said: “We cannot afford the imposed restrictions anymore.”
“The businessmen have paid their employees a month’s salary but will we unable to do so if the lockdown extends,” he said. “We will give our shops keys to [the officials at] the Chief Minister House and will protest outside the provincial chief’s office,” he added.
Balochistan’s business group, voicing the traders in Sindh, also said they would resume operations from April 15. They said the traders no longer can bear the constraints on lockdowns. The exercises would be carried out and precautionary steps would be taken, adding that the provincial government had been informed about the resumption of operations.
In addition, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa traders said they couldn’t bear the lockdown any longer, and they’d open shops from April 15. Ilyas Bilour, President of the United Business Party, said the lockout forced small scale traders into starvation.
He regretted that the closing of business centers had badly impacted labourers. Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said a few hours after the announcement that the provincial government would not allow the traders to resume operations.
“We have drafted SOPs [for the business community] and will issue them [in the coming days],” he said.
“Small scale traders will be given a subsidy in taxes,” he said, adding that action will be taken against violators of lockdown restrictions. “Even the federal government has not allowed the reopening of markets,” he added.