KARACHI : Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his meeting with small traders associations announced to open shops and markets, except plaza and shopping malls, from today (Monday) morning under an SOP he shared with them.
“Now, the business activities would operate from 6am to 4 pm and there will be grace period of an hour to close the shops and return to their home – because the lock down will start from 5 pm sharp.”
This he said while addressing the smalls traders who met him here at Auditorium of Sindh Assembly Building. The meeting was attended by The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Imtiaz Shaikh, Nasir Shah, Ikram Dharejo, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IG Sindh Mushtaq Maher, Home Secretary Usman Chachar, Adl IG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon, Qasim Siraj Teli, and leaders of different organizations of the traders.
The chief minister announced that community markets/retail outlets, stand-alone/neighbourhood shops, excluding shops situated in Malls and Plazas) will resume their business activities from 6 am to 4pm, from Monday to Thursday.
He said that he was well aware that the small traders were passing through a very serious situation because their businesses have been closed down due to coronavirus epidemic. “I know your [traders] position, but I had one option either to save life of our people or allow the business activities thriving at the cost of our lives,” he said and added he chose to save life of the people at the cost of business activities. He went on saying that the lockdown has produced good results which was also acknowledged by the traders community.
Murad Shah said that it was not his unilateral decision to impose lockdown but the decision was taken with collective wisdom. “The Prime Minister had chaired a meeting to discuss the post May 9 situation (when lockdown was ending) so that lock down could be eased off,” he said and added the prime minister’s meeting was attended by all the chief ministers and prime minister of AJK and chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan in which he had opposed two proposals: opening of public transports, including train, and air traffic and [proposal] to allow business activities from 8 pm to 12 am. “I am grateful to the federal government that they accepted his request and announced opening of business activities, except shopping Malls, Plazas, hotels and restaurants,” from Fagir- 6 am to 5 pm, he said.
“Now a political criticism has been unleashed against me just to give an impression that it is only the Sindh government which has closed down the business activities in province,” he said and added “they are not only criticizing him but actually in naivety they are raising the finger of acquisition against their government in the center”. The chief minister said that he was grateful to the trader’s community who strengthened his government hands in implementing the lock down.
“You have kept your business activities closed for two months – therefore you have been affected badly but we have to find out new way of life of living with Shop to be opened: The chief minister said that construction industries and community markets/ retail outlets, shops in rural areas, neighbourhood shops located in residential localities will be operate from 6am to 4pm. He added that Saturday and Sunday would be observed as a `safe day’ with all sectors/retail closed other than essential sectors or those with a continuous process.
Sectors to remain closed: The chief minister said that the sectors that would continue to remain closed were all industries/business not cleared for opening till May 9, shopping malls, plazas, educational institutions, offices that were not cleared for opening till May 9, restaurants, hotels, marquee, marriage halls, cinemas and places of large gatherings, public processions, gatherings, congregations of all nature and organized sports events and concerts.
Barber shops, beauty parlors, hair cutting salons/Spas, game centers, video games, Dabbu Carrum, pools, game shops, gyms, Café, sit-in eatery, social clubs and parks will remain also remain closed.
The traders appreciated the chief minister and received the announced with claps and cheers. The chief minister told the small traders that he was talking to the federal government so that he could advance them small loans for payment of salaries to their employees and meet their other expenditures. “We are working a plan to steer the business community out of the crisis,” he assured them.
Home Secretary: The home secretary read out the SOP in the meeting so that every trader must understand under which discipline he has to work.
Qasim Siraj Teli: The leader of KCCI, Qasim Siraj Teli addressing the traders said that they have heard the SOP as announced by the Home Secretary Usman Chacahr. He added that if any of the traders have objection on any clause of the SOP he must point it out right here and right now. “Once the SOP is implemented, everyone will be bound to abide by it, and in case of violation of the SOP by any trader, the administration will be authorized to take action accordingly and the KCCI will not support the delinquent,” he said.
He said that we have to learn how to live with the virus until and unless its vaccine is invented, therefore “we must appreciate the chief minister for the actions he taken to save the lives of the people in the province,” he said and added had he not imposed lockdown the situation would have been different here,” he said and the traders present in the auditorium clapped to appreciate the chief minister and his team.