The traders’ community on Wednesday expressed serious concerns over the protest by opposition parties on busy thoroughfare, The Mall, saying that it had badly hampered business activities and deprived thousands of shopkeepers from their daily earnings.
Trader leaders including Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF), Hall Road Traders Association and trade unions of Beadon Road, Lawrance Road and other adjoining markets told APP here that Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)-led political parties' protest produced nothing but brought the metropolis life to standstill.
At this point in time, the country could not afford such negative and anti-business activities since it was already facing numerous challenges on economic and other fronts, they added.
Lahore Chamber's President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil stated that Pakistan was facing serious economic challenges which demanded a consolidated action plan to get rid of the issues hampering the economic growth but some politicians were bringing more destruction to it through protests.
LCCI office-bearers were of the view that political stability was the key factor for economic growth.
They said anti-Pakistan elements were busy in conspiracies against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and it was need of the hour that politicians and business leadership should act as defense force for the country.
PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice Chairman Tanveer Ahmed Sufi and Vice Chairman Khawaja Shahzeb Akram were of the view that political uncertainty and irresponsibility was badly damaging the prospects of growth despite the fact that Pakistan had all resources for grooming.
They said economy had already faced loss of hundreds of billions of rupees in last couple of years and now the country did not have much to lose on economic front.
They said that the leadership of all political parties should join hands for strengthening the economy instead of creating chaos through protests and sit-ins. They said that the political leaders should settle issues in Parliament, which was a democratic way and the just forum for this purpose instead of disturbing business activities and public life through holding sit-ins and rallies.
Hall Road Traders Association and other trade unions' leaders mentioned that protest had not only aggravate the traffic situation on city roads but also badly hit the businesses hard in the markets on The Mall and on adjoining roads including Hall Road, Beadon Road, Abbot Road, Egerton Road, Mcloed Road, Lawrence Road and others.
Generally, they added, markets on The Mall, Hall Road and Beadon Road were a trading hub ranging from electrical home appliances to mobile, computer and other hardware for buyers/shopkeepers from across Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The blockage of main artery of the metropolitan city had a destructive impact on these businesses.
Apart from trade activities, the opposition parties' protest also badly affected the work in the public and private offices/departments alongside The Mall and adjoining roads, they mentioned.
The traders' leaders expressed the hope that protesting political parties would not test the temperament of business community through protests and sit-ins at the busiest trade hubs.