PML-N FORCED businesses to observe Shutterdown


    Shops closed ‘forcibly’ Nawaz League’s ‘great expectations fade away’

    Amjad Mahmood | Metropolitan > Lahore | From the Newspaper

    1st April, 2012

    LAHORE, March 31: The Pakistan Muslim League-N took out a rally while traders observed a shutter-down strike amid allegations of forced closure of businesses here on Saturday to protest prolonged and unscheduled electricity loadshedding.

    Although a better show as compared with the one staged by the Tehrik-i-Insaaf on Friday, the PML-N could not attract a large number of protesters. Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Shahbaz Sharif, led the rally as the chief minister left for London on a two-day private visit early in the morning while the PML-N chief, despite being present in the provincial metropolis, also did not turn up.

    An official said as per party policy Nawaz Sharif would not involve himself in the issue as Shahbaz had been tasked to grill the PPP-led federal government on energy crisis.

    The rally started from Muslim Masjid at Lohari Gate and terminated at Bhati Chowk where Hamza delivered a surprisingly brief speech spanning just a few minutes comprising PPP bashing and promises of making ‘the corrupt’ run away as well as putting an end to loadshedding within months after coming into power.

    A heavy police contingent was deployed along both sides of the route of the rally to prevent any untoward incident as media men claimed that many of the participants were government functionaries.

    Another highlight of the procession was a live lion (election symbol of the PML-N) tied to the rooftop of a jeep.

    Asked if the protest would ensure provision of power supply, a participant named Mian Aslam said the event at least afforded him an opportunity to vent out his anger at the social crisis he was facing, besides the inconvenience of power shutdown and

    declining businesses as a result.

    By social crisis he meant water supply cut off, loss of studies of his school-going children and the looming danger of dengue through mosquito bites when ceiling fans come to a halt during outages in evenings and early mornings.

    Meanwhile, most of the city markets remained closed although the Qaumi Tajir Ittehad and Anjuman Tajiran, two major trader associations, had distanced themselves from the strike call.

    There were reports that some people riding wagons hoisting PML-N flags forced the traders to shut down their businesses in Gulberg and adjoining areas while some Hafiz Centre, cell phones and computers market, shopkeepers alleged that police

    forewarned them of “damage to their shops by miscreants” if they dared to open them.

    Shops along The Mall were closed after clashes between two trader groups.

    One of the groups led by Naeem Mir alleged that Liaquat Jutt, a parking stand contractor, used filthy language through a loudspeaker against the traders opening their businesses “inviting” his thrashing.

    Then supporters of both the groups in favour and against the strike scuffled until the police intervened.

    In the ensuing dialogue, the traders were allowed to open their shops at their “free will” but almost all of them opted for the otherwise to avert any eventuality wondering what harm they could face when the road did not fall on the route of the rally

    while there was also section-144 imposed on it.

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