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Karachi traders reject Sindh govt’s latest coronavirus measures

Karachi traders reject Sindh govt’s latest coronavirus measures

KARACHI: The Karachi Electronics Dealers Association on Tuesday rejected Sindh government’s latest coronavirus measures to contain the outbreak.

The provincial government has restricted markets and business centre opening hours to 6:00am to 6:00pm on weekdays and ordered it to remain shut on weekends.

However, the association’s president, Muhammad Rizwan Irfan, pointed out that opening up shops at 6:00am would not be feasible for the owners and asked the government to change the timing to 10:00am to 8:00pm instead.

Stressing that the business community was cooperating with the authorities, Irfan said the new timings will do more than the previous lockdown. He said the government should fulfil its responsibility but not take away the trader’s right to employment.

The association’s sentiments were echoed by Anjuman-e-Tajran [traders organisaton] Sindh which refused to comply with the new restrictions.

“Small scale businesses are already suffering from the aftermath of the previous lockdown. The new measures will bring them more misery,” said the organisation’s senior vice-president Jawaid Qureshi.

“Who is going to visit the markets at 6:00 am? Besides, closing our shops at 6:00 pm means the market will get over-crowded in the evening. How will this prevent people from contracting the virus?” Qureshi questioned.

President of Bolton Market Association Rafiq Jadoon also urged the government should reconsider its decision. “The suggested business hours are disappointing. It is not appropriate to shut down the entire city,” Jadoon said.

Karim Centre’s secretary-general Aslam Qureshi said that there are 10 garment markets in Saddar, Karachi which provide employment to thousands of people in the city.

“The new lockdown measures will reduce our income by 35%. Besides, two weekly offs will further damage our business activities,” Aslam Qureshi said.

Akin to other traders, Aslam Qureshi said that businesses are already suffering because there has already been a 50% reduction in income due to the pandemic. “We request the government to consider our plight. The situation will become clear to them in a few days,” he said.