Fed up traders vow to keep markets open

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Claiming losses amounting to billions of rupees during the past 10 days, traders in Karachi announced keeping the markets open come what may in the unending violence in the city. All major business centres in the metropolis remained closed on Saturday in response to the mourning call from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Under an immensely uncertain situation and absence of transport, business activities were severely disturbed. At a meeting of All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) and other market associations, the businessmen decided to face the uncertain situation as the government and law enforcement agencies have failed to provide security or a business-friendly environment. Talking with Pakistan Today, AKTI Chairman Ateeq Mir said that during the past 10 days, the markets opened for only two days causing losses of over Rs 24 billion. The closure of business activities for one day results in losses to the tune of Rs 3 billion. “The small traders who have to pay the rent and make payments for other services, now have limited options: either to end their businesses or face the violence, killings, extortions, kidnappings,” he said. Traders of Tariq Road and Zainab Market announced they would keep their outlets opened on Saturday as they can no longer bear more losses. The businessmen claimed that the protest strikes were endangering their livelihoods and they could not take it anymore. In order to make up on some of their losses, the traders also decided to go about the business on Sunday. All petrol pumps and CNG stations in the city were remained close for the whole day. According to petroleum dealers, they also have suffered losses of millions of rupees during the past few days.