PAT-led rally disturbs businesses on The Mall

  • Naeem Mir says state institutions fail to provide protection to business, industry

LAHORE: The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)-led protest rally disturbed the routine trade and business activities in the capital city especially on The Mall and its adjoining areas.

All main shopping centres including the Panorama Centre, Sadiq Plaza, Naqi Market, Hall Road and even Anarkali were badly hit by the rally. The Mall which usually has high business activities and heavy rush of shoppers presented deserted look on Wednesday.

Heavy police deployment, barriers and barricades were seen on The Mall. Only a few shops were open at the Hall Road but they too had no customers. The district administration through the police forcibly closed all shops on The Mall, but few shops remained open on The Beadon Road.

But traders there said there was no business due to protest. Haji Muhammad Amin, who runs a mobile shop, said that everyday protests, rallies and strikes have badly affected his business. “We are sitting idle since morning. No customer is coming. We are suffering huge loss due to protests on The Mall,” he said.

“The protesters should take pity on us and shift their venue to some other place,” he said. Muhammad Akram, who works as labourer on The Mall, said, “There was no business on The Mall and that’s why I remained unable to earn my bread and butter today.”

Expressing resentment over the Lahore High Court full bench decision which allowed some opposition parties to hold protest on The Mall, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran central secretary general Naeem Mir said that why the court gives such rulings, which it is unable to get implemented.

He said that the court was committing contempt of its own decisions. “Today’s court decision has spread severe resentment among the traders of The Mall, refusing to provide them protection and forcing them to shift or close their businesses,” he said.

He said that the Lahore High Court had imposed ban in 2011 on all kinds of protest and rallies on The Mall on the petition of the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran and the Mall Road Traders Association. On a petition against government’s failure to stop protests and rallies on The Mall, the court also issued notices to the Punjab government, asking it to ensure implementation of the order and allocate alternate locations for such activities.

On the court order, the Punjab government declared The Mall as A red zone from Mian Mir Bridge to PMG crossing. “We are waiting for the implementation of this detailed decision but failed to get justice, as protest rallies were never stopped, constantly disturbing businesses on The Mall and nearby markets.”

Naeem Mir said that in view of Article 18 of the Constitution, every citizen has the right for the smooth running of business and state was responsible of providing safety to the businessmen. He said that the state institutions, including the courts, have failed to provide protection to the business and industry.

“Our judiciary is old and obsolete, he said, adding that the courts even passed decision under the doctrine of necessity. “Judges’ speeches are rhetorical and loud but their verdicts are dumb, losing trust of the citizen on judiciary,” he said.

He said that the traders played historic role for the restoration of judges but unfortunately the judiciary was restored but justice system was yet to be revived. “I wish to tear apart the LHC ruling and bury it in the court building but as a responsible citizen we will not lose patience and continue to give respect to the institution,” he said.