Karachi Tajir Action Committee on Tuesday demanded the Sindh and federal governments consult them before making any decision regarding restrictions.
The business leaders, in a press conference, have also demanded the Sindh government allow businesses to remain open till 8pm and let them close for one day instead of the two lockdown days being observed right now. They also asked the government to withdraw the powers given to the magistrate to seal markets and impose fines on businesses.
The committee said that the federal and Sindh governments should not make decisions without consulting businessmen. They also said that their demands should be accepted within 72 hours or else they will announce a new plan of action.
Businessman Atiq Mir remarked that it was only the MQM that asked them about the difficulties they were facing.
“Sindh Government and NCOC are ignoring us, in Sindh the education minister is making decisions related to businesses,” said Mir. He warned that if businesses in Karachi are not allowed to open past 6pm then they will protest.
Meanwhile, businessman Sharjeel Goplani alleged that the district administration took Rs1 million as a bribe from the mobile market and also took valuable mobile phones from them. He added that businessmen were demanding the governor’s rule in the province.
The committee also demanded that special incentives should be given to businessmen in the upcoming budget.
COVID-19 lockdown extended in Sindh
Last month, the Sindh government had tightened curbs once more in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the province.
According to the home department, a rise in positivity was observed throughout the province, especially in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur.
“The Task Force discussed various ways and means to contain the disease. It was reiterated that compliance of the SOPs (standard operating procedures) for COVID-19 continues to remain a cornerstone measure for control of disease spread,” said the statement.
“The Task Force also decided to issue strict warnings and advice for the public to strictly follow SOPs on COVID control with a warning that if the cases rise, the closure of many activities may have to be undertaken, especially in areas with high positivity,” it added.
The following changes were announced following the meeting:
- Business hours will now be from 5am to 6pm, except for essential services.
- Bakeries and milk shops are allowed to operate till midnight.
- Pharmacies inside shopping malls will close at 6pm, along with other shops.
- Fridays and Sundays to be off days for businesses, except for Hyderabad, where Fridays and Saturdays will be the designated off days.
- All outdoor and indoor dining is henceforth barred; takeaway, drive through and delivery services to continue.
- Public transport — inter-city, intra-city and inter-provincial — allowed with 50% occupancy, strict observance of SOPs.
Places/activities still closed
- Marriage halls, business centres, expo halls.
- Contact sports, indoor gyms, sports facilities, sporting tournaments — indoor and outdoor.
- Theme parks, amusement parks, arcades for video games, carrom/dabbu playing areas.
- Tourist spots such as Keenjhar Lake and Lab-e-Mehran, picnic spots, all beaches, and recreational parks.
- Beauty parlours.
- Cinemas and theatres.
- All types of indoor and outdoor religious, cultural, musical social gatherings.
Special focus areas
Special focus areas identified by the forum were Karachi (District East and South), Hyderabad (Qasimabad, Latifabad, and Taluka Hyderabad City) and Sukkur.
Commissioners in these areas were tasked with identifying hotspots and take the following measures:
- Stop unnecessary movement while ensuring access to essential services.
- Stricter measures to ensure SOP compliance.
- Public awareness through local leaders, influential persons.