Traders fear extortionists will re-emerge

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Despite the government s clampdown on terrorists, traders believe that the move would yield no significant results to stem the long-standing unrest and protect the instable and frightened businessmen in the city. Talking to Business Recorder, they said the extortionists were continuing to threaten them for money during Ramazan, although the government s search operation against the target killers and extortionists was under way. We traders see the government s action against the outlaws as a temporary move to establish peace in the city, and fear that the businessmen community would be in worse condition than ever before to face rise in extortions in the next few months, they sais expressing concerns. The country s major wholesales markets of the old city area faced a number of forced closures during August for politically motivated strikes, besides killings of traders by outlaws for refusing extortions. Traders also observed a shuttered-down strike, staged sit-in and took out protest rallies to condemn the rising trend of lawlessness in the metropolis during the last month, which witnessed widespread killings on the ethnic basis. Businessmen community reckon billions of rupees losses they had suffered from vandalism, strikes and violence. They said that target killings had also panicked the traders and kept the buyers away from markets. Markets closures, particularly the wholesales ones, severely disturbed the supply of grain food, sugar, wheat, medicines, gold and jewellery, wood, steel, plastic and hardware, ceramics and paints, fans, power generators, and other items of daily use to upcountry and local markets, according traders. Traders also demanded deployment of Pakistan Army to take control of the city and launch an operation against militants and extortionists so that their trade and businesses could securely continue and they would enjoy protection. There is also a chance that traders would go for a series of strikes until the menace of target killings and extortions could reach an ultimate end, traders said, adding they would soon hold a meeting to draw future line of action in this connection. Sales went up to about 70 percent in the last week of Ramazan after the government undertook the search operation in different volatile areas of the metropolis, encouraging the buyers to do Eid shopping, but demands of extortionists were still on the rise, said chairman of All Karachi Tajir Ittehad, Muhammad Atiq. He said that the government s move had brought the target killings to an end, hoping that the city would have permanent peace to grow like other parts of the world. He said the respite in target killings had spurred trade activities in the last week of Ramazan. There should be strictest possible crackdown against target killers, extortionists and vandals to ensure stability to the country s economy and produce better economic opportunities to the people, Atiq demanded.

Courtesy : Business Recorder

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