On the last day of Eid shopping on Saturday, shoppers and visitors thronged different markets of Karachi while the vehicular traffic situation remained choked in different parts of the city.
Shopping centres and all the other businesses across Sindh had been allowed to remain open on Friday and Saturday. The provincial government had allowed them to operate from 6am to 6pm on the two days. The traders, however, criticised the decision and demanded more time to operate.
The government had announced public holidays on account of Eidul Fitr from May 10 to 15, with strict Covid-19 restrictions to remain in place from May 8 to 16, including suspension of inter-city transport and closure of tourist spots, to stem the spread of the coronavirus during the holidays.
On Saturday the Saddar market was choked with traffic until 6pm while people visited different shops and markets. Vehicles on the Zaibunnisa Street were stuck in a gridlock for a long time due to shoppers in cars and on foot.
Traffic at Lucky Star, the old city area and around the provincial assembly was moving at a snail’s pace. A massive rush of shoppers and vehicular traffic was also observed around Saddar’s mobile and electronics markets.
In different markets and shopping centres of Saddar, shoppers were seen entering in the form of queues and exiting in a similar fashion. Inside the city’s mega malls, wearing masks was mandatory and other Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) were also complied with.
At other markets, however, the SOPs were ignored completely. Shopkeepers and shoppers at the Zainab Market, in Hyderi and Liaquatabad, and in Karimabad’s Meena Bazaar were not even wearing masks.
Many shopping centres in the city opened at around 6am on Saturday. Thousands of buyers reached early in the morning because the malls were supposed to be closed by 6pm.
In the commercial areas of Bahadurabad and Tariq Road, severe traffic jams occurred and shoppers as well as shopkeepers were observed to be without masks, while markets were crammed full of people, who were walking shoulder to shoulder.
According to the traffic awareness and social media unit of the DIG traffic, due to a large number of visitors, traffic movement was extremely slow at Gul Plaza, MA Jinnah Road, Jama Cloth, Denso Hall, Empress Market, Bolton Market, Tariq Road, Jauhar Morr, Hyderi and in other areas.