KARACHI: Traders and the Sindh government came face to face over the decision to resume businesses in the metropolitan city after the business community on Monday announced to open shops six days a week and for longer than the stipulated time.
In response, the provincial government has said that an immediate action will be taken against those violating government orders in terms of defying the issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were imposed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
‘Govt opens sealed Zainab Market and Gulplaza today’
The Deputy Commissioner South district has given permission to resume the business activities in the sealed markets of Saddar, including Zainab Market and Gulplaza, that were closed over the shopkeepers’ failure to adhere to safety protocols to guard against the spread of the coronavirus last week.
In addition, the deputy commissioner de-sealed in his presence after a raid by district administration authorities was conducted in the city’s Saddar area days before.
The development came as the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued orders regarding reopening of shopping malls across the country.
During the suo moto hearing today on the coronavirus issue, Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed remarked that if the shops are shut down then shopkeepers will ‘die of hunger rather than the coronavirus’.
The past week has witnessed a flurry of shoppers throwing caution to the wind and rushing to acquire much sought-after goods with Eid fast approaching.
Neither shopkeepers nor customers were seen taking necessary precautions such as wearing masks and using sanitisers frequently. Today, in view of these violations, the city’s police sealed all major markets, much to the chagrin of shopkeepers who had been looking forward to selling their wares after a two-month hiatus.
The traders have protested heavily against the shutting down of shops and raised slogans against the district administration.
Videos that have gone viral on social media clearly show no social distancing protocol being practiced, even during the protest.