KCCI announces strike against extortion, AKTI rejects | Pakistan Today

KCCI announces strike against extortion, AKTI rejects

KARACHI – Karachi traders announced a strike on April 5 against increasing incidents of extortion in the city, as both the federal and the provincial government failed to control criminal activities.
Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) announced a strike after the attack on two auto parts traders by extortionists on Tuesday. KCCI President Muhammad Saeed Shafiq told Pakistan Today that in the face of the government’s failure to curb extortion, the chamber finally decided to call for a strike.
He said the KCCI, in a meeting, had requested Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza to provide security to the traders but no action was taken by the officials, rather incidents of extortion had increased ever since. The impact of the committee formed by the government under the Federal Investigation Agency was also zero despite 50 to 60 complaints registered by the traders, hence KCCI was forced to announce a strike, he added.
“We may call off the strike if the government promises to take practical steps to stop extortion and other criminal activities in the city’s markets,” he said, adding that if the authorities concerned failed to do so in the next few days, the KCCI in collaboration with traders would shutdown the markets on April 5. Shafiq said despite regular complaints to the police, traders had been receiving regular threats from extortionists and because he failed to meet their demands, unidentified attackers had shot and injured Spare Parts Market President Salim Memon.
He criticised the government for its failure to maintain peace in Karachi and said it was time the government resolved the problems of the business community. He said, “Beside government’s negligence, the police have also failed to arrest criminals who are roaming free and hurling threats of more physical and financial losses to the traders.”
The All-Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) Chairman Atiq Mir rejected the strike call saying neither his organisation was taken on board by the KCCI nor the traders were ready to close their shops as it would ultimately harm them.
He said, the KCCI had hastily announced the strike, it should rather have tried to negotiate with the government to resolve the problem. He said a one-day closure of business meant a loss of at least Rs 2 billion and the real victims of such a strike were the 2 to 2.5 million unskilled daily-wage workers. He said the markets in the city would remain open on April 5.

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