Traders vow to defy fresh business restrictions

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PESHAWAR: The traders here have demanded of the government to review the notification calling for closure of shops by 6pm otherwise they will start protest demonstrations and defy the fresh restrictions by opening their shops.

In a joint meeting here on Sunday, an 11-member committee of Peshawar United Traders Alliance urged the provincial government to withdraw the notification about ban on business activities after 6pm.

The committee members, including Malik Mehr Elahi, Mohammad Afzal Ashraf, Sharafat Ali Mubarak, Mujeebur Rehman, Shahid Khan, Ghulam Bilal, Khalid Ayub and others, stressed the need for solution to the issues at the earliest.

They said they had fulfilled their commitment with the provincial government by keeping shops closed for two days a week, but the officials further increased the restrictions.

They said that closure of shops by 6pm had not been discussed in the meeting with the finance minister and other officials, but the decision was taken unilaterally.

“We are ready to keep shops closed for two days, but the fresh restrictions are not acceptable,” said the traders’ representatives.

They said that the minister had assured them of relief in the shape of allowing uninterrupted business activities during Ramazan under the standard operating procedures.

They said that in accordance with the negotiations the traders should be allowed to continue their business without any time limit for the whole week.

The businessmen asked the government to formulate a mechanism for providing interest-free loans to the small traders.

The NCOC, they said, should also take on board the representatives of traders so that future decisions about restrictions would be taken in consultation with stakeholders.

The traders’ leaders said the two-day shutdown and reduced working hours were causing rush in the markets, making it difficult for them to ensure safe environment.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2021