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Traders accuse district admin of highhandedness

PESHAWAR: The trader community has flayed the Peshawar district administration for alleged highhandedness, the imposition of heavy fines, undue arrests, sealing of bazaars and markets on the pretext of coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) violations.

They voiced the anger during a meeting chaired by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Sherbaz Bilour here at the Chamber’s House on Wednesday.

Mansoor Elahi, Junaid Altaf, senior vice president and vice president of the SCCI, president Anjuman-e-Tajiraan Peshawar Muhammad Afzal, Khalid Ayub, Habibullah Zahid, Shahid Khan, Naseer Khan, Mujeebur Rehman, Ameen Hussain Babar, Zafar Khattak, Khalid Gul Mohmand, Bilal Ghulam Javed, Abidullah Yousafzai, Saddar Gul, Ihsanullah Mohmand, Ishtiaq Muhammad, Akhtar Ali, Saddar Hussain and others were in attendance.

The participants expressed anguish over the district administration officials for sealing shops, markets, making unnecessary arrests and harassing traders and the imposition of heavy fines on the pretext of violating Covid-19 SOPs.

The traders said they were not against coronavirus SOPs and ready to cooperate with the government to implement the relevant laws but the district administration was not acting properly while taking actions in bazaars and shopping markets.

They said the trader community was playing a pivotal role in economic development.

The speakers said the government and officials concerned should avoid enforcing laws through the business community and instead of taking steps to create awareness among the general masses about coronavirus SOPs.

It asked the government to avoid punishing shopkeepers for not wearing facemask of customers, stressing the need for launching a special campaign to create awareness among the general public regarding coronavirus SOPs.

The participants asked the government to materialize its promises made with the business community, hit by the coronavirus, instead of multiplying their miseries by implementing unilateral policies. Muhammad Afzal said the business community had extended full cooperation to the government in implementing the Covid-19 SOPs in the past and ready to continue that support.

However, he made it clear that they would compromise the respect of the trader community.

He stressed that the dignity of taxpayers must be ensured during raids by district administration officials on shops and markets because they have played an important role in the economic development of the county by paying various taxes.

SCCI President Sherbaz Bilour assured the participants that the trader community recommendations for the coronavirus SOPs enforcement would be shared with the government and the relevant departments.

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