By Rafiq Vayani
KARACHI: In response to suggestions given by Chairman BMG Siraj Kassam Teli for reopening all local industries and restaurants, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah called a meeting on Thursday and assured to review all the suggestions and accordingly take steps so that local industries, businesses, restaurants and saloons etc. could restart their operations.
The assurance was given by Chief Minister Sindh during a meeting with a business delegation led by Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli which comprised of President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President KCCI Arshad Islam, Mian Zahid Hussain of FPCCI, Vice President FPCCI Khurram Ijaz, Chairman Restaurants Association Ather Chawla, representative from Saloons Saeeda Mehmood Mandviwala and others while the Chief Minister was accompanied by Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala, Minister for Information Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Minister for Labor Saeed Ghani, Minister for Excise Mukesh Kumar Chawla and Minister for Industries Ikramullah Dharejo.
While briefing the Chief Minister, Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli urged the Sindh government to completely wind-up the lockdown so that all types of businesses and industries could restart their operations with full swing. He also advised to deploy troops from the army whose presence and patrolling at various commercial markets would ensure strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) devised to contain further spread of coronavirus pandemic.
He was of the opinion that the Pakistan’s economy was already in deep crises and the country cannot afford further damages hence, it was really critical to restart all businesses with normal timings and get back to routine life in presence of the virus. “On one hand, we have to contain coronavirus pandemic but on the other, we also have to save the already ailing economy”, he said, adding that reopening of businesses at the earliest would help in protecting the businesses from complete collapse and save the masses from unemployment, poverty and starvation.
Chairman BMG said that Sindh government strived really hard to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and they deserve to be appreciated but unfortunately, the number of people affected by coronavirus continues to rise all over the country as the public and also the members of the business community have been largely ignoring the SOPs due to lack of discipline. “Coronavirus pandemic is not going anywhere and we have to live with it and continue our businesses in a disciplined manner. We cannot live in the lockdown forever so we have to exhibit the Discipline which is the first step on the road to success.”
He cautioned that if the lockdown is not suspended immediately, many businesses, which remain completely suspended since last more than two months, would shut down forever that would lead to creating a chaotic situation as the people would find no other option but to come out on streets to protest due to rising unemployment and poverty. “Excluding export oriented industries and industries engaged in the production of essential food items, the rest of other local industries and also the restaurants in which hundreds and thousands of workers are employed, remain closed and the relevant businessmen are finding it impossible to sustain all these employees and are looking forward to close down their businesses forever which, if happens, would prove to be more dangerous than the coronavirus pandemic as in such a situation, people would come out on streets to protest and may even create law and order situation so the government will have to act sensibly and pay attention to this pressing issue by giving go ahead to army’s deployment”, he added.
Chief Minister once gain assured to look into the possibility of providing maximum relief to the business community and take all their recommendations into consideration.