Karachi traders demand strict security in Muharram

Karachi: Recalling the disaster suffered by local traders of M. A. Jinnah Road on December 28, 2009 after a deadly blast near the main Ashura procession of Muharram-ul-Haram, President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), A. Abdullah Zaki urged the interior ministries of federal and provincial governments and the heads of law enforcing agencies to take stringent security measures for ensuring peace and security in Karachi city during Muharram.

In a statement issued on Monday, President KCCI said that the government must take extraordinary measures by intensifying the snap checking & patrolling, effective monitoring of Karachi city’s entry and exit points, deployment of additional police force and Rangers, installation and repair of CCTV cameras and other security steps so that all Muharram’s processions and other religious activities conclude peacefully in a secure atmosphere.

“We simply cannot afford any further losses of lives and properties in Karachi. It took years of untiring efforts to completely recover and rebuilt the arson-hit shops and markets which were looted and put on fire by the angry mobs in broad daylight on December 28, 2009″, KCCI Chief mentioned.

President KCCI said that the Karachi Chamber was the first to respond to the miseries faced by local traders who lost almost everything in the worst-ever disaster of 2009. Chairman of Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli immediately responded to the situation and advised the then office bearers of KCCI to put everything aside and focus only on providing relief to the affected business community.

Consequently, Karachi Affected Market Relief Committee (KAMRC), which was established under the supervision of Former President KCCI, Zubair Motiwala, approached the government for assistance. It was due to the untiring efforts of the Karachi Chamber and KAMRC that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, immediate relief and compensations were given to the affected shopkeepers along with the commitment that all arson-hit shops and markets will be reconstructed in various phases. “I must say that the entire process for compensating these shopkeepers and reconstructing the shops/ markets was efficiently and transparently done by KAMRC in association with Sindh government and the City District Government Karachi to the highest satisfaction of the business community, which certainly is a major achievement of KCCI”, he added.

Abdullah further suggested that the business community must be taken on board and briefed thoroughly about the security plans devised for various routes of Muharram processions so that the shopkeepers/ traders could adhere to the security plan and schedule their daily business activities accordingly. He further advised the police and rangers to be polite with shopkeepers when requesting them to shut down their businesses so they could seal these shops during 9th and 10th Muharram-ul-Haram.

The Karachi Chamber has been receiving complaints about the rude behaviour of Police and Rangers officials every year in the month of Muharram as shopkeepers were usually ordered to immediately shut down their businesses without any prior notice. The officers of law enforcing agencies must keep it in mind that they are here to serve, not to suppress the businessmen who are already perturbed due to lawlessness, street crimes, extortionists, abrupt shut downs and strikes yet they strive hard to contribute their share to the national exchequer”, Abdullah added.