QUETTA: Traders in Balochistan have rejected the two-week extension in the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan and decided to open their businesses in the province.
Speaking at a press conference after holding talks with the government, Abdul Rahim Kakar, president of the Anjuman Tajiran Balochistan, said that his organisation had decided to fully support the lockdown imposed by the provincial government till April 21.
He, however, said that in the first phase dry-fruit market, shops of dates, agriculture products and tailors and restaurants would open in Quetta from Wednesday. The restaurants would only sell food in parcel, he added.
Flanked by Syed Qayyum Agha, Hazrat Ali and other leaders, Mr Kakar said the traders had supported the lockdown till April 7, which was extended by the provincial government till April 14.
“We have already suffered huge financial losses due to the lockdown, but we cannot tolerate further losses,” he said and added that they had informed the provincial government regarding their reservations over the extension in lockdown.
He said a government delegation comprising Asghar Khan Achakzai, Saleem Khosa, the commissioner Quetta and a security official appreciated traders’ concerns.
“We have decided to reopen some businesses in the province keeping in mind public needs. The government has announced to give interest-free loans to traders and the ration for 10 days to labourers,” he said.
In replying to a question about extension in the lockdown till April 30, he said the traders had already rejected it. “We are bound to accept the lockdown till April 21 in Balochistan,” Mr Kakar said.
The Balochistan government has established 90 Rapid Response Teams in an effort to defeat coronavirus. Official sources said that these teams have been set up on a directive of the provincial government in collaboration with the health department and district administration, Quetta.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2020