–Early closure of tobacco shops, snooker clubs irks both the shopkeepers and residents of the city division
LAHORE: The superintendent of police (SP) city division has adopted a unique way to control the crime rate, which has irked both the residents and shopkeepers of the area equally, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As per the details, all the police stations located in the city division are pressurising the tobacco shop owners to close their shops before 11 pm as the police believe that it would be helpful in controlling the crime rate in the area. A hefty amount of fine would be imposed in case of non-compliance.
The city division is one of the most important divisions of Lahore that includes areas of Shahdara, Ravi Road, Badami Bagh, Karim Park, Bund Road and some localities of the walled city, to name a few, and it has been a routine of the people, hailing from these areas, to sit outside the tobacco shops till late night and socialise.
Hafiz Muhammad Amir, who runs a famous tobacco corner in the Karim Park area, told this scribe that people living in the surroundings of his shop used to spend two to three hours in the form of groups till late night to discuss various socio-political issues as it had been the lifestyle of the area’s residents for decades, but now he had to close his shop much earlier as the policemen force him to do so.
“It is a very vibrant area where people do not sleep early and spend some time late at night in the tobacco shops for leisure. They are fond of politics and are seen discussing national issues,” Amir said, whose shop falls in the jurisdiction of the Shafiqabad Police Station.
It is not the first time that the shopkeepers are being forced to close their shops early as in the past the government also issued such directives to save electricity in the name of load shedding when the energy shortfall was at its peak and the government was dealing with the power crisis, but that directive was meant for the whole city and now the early closure orders are being implemented only in selected areas falling in the city division.
When contacted, City Division SP Ali Raza told Pakistan Today that he was only implementing the orders of the government regarding early closure of tobacco shops in his division to control the crime rate and its implementation was also ensured in letter and spirit, therefore, he said, the crime rate had decreased drastically in his division.
“The righteous have nothing to do at tobacco shops till late night and only miscreants sit there at that hour,” the SP said.