Karachi: Fear of violence keeps city shut
KARACHI: City life remained paralysed on Tuesday amid fears of further violence after the previous day killing of five people and arson attacks on 25 vehicles. Most traders, transporters and fuel stations kept their businesses suspended despite the fact that none of their representative organisations had given a strike or protest call.
As the day began, roads were wearing a deserted look with public transport hardly visible in any part of the city. The situation convinced traders to keep their businesses closed amid fears of any untoward situation after Monday`s events.
“Thirty-four buses were set on fire in just two days — Sunday and Monday,” said Irshad Bukhari of the Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI).
“So after having suffered such a loss, there was no need to issue fresh directives to our members. Most were convinced that there would not be normal operation on Tuesday and they kept the vehicles off the roads.”
Mr Bukhari said a few transporters decided to operate in the afternoon, principally on major roads such as Sharea Faisal, M.A. Jinnah Road and Sharea Pakistan.
But, he added, the closure of fuel stations was also one the reasons for below than normal number of buses on the roads. Dawn
A similar observation was shared with by Abdul Sami Khan of the CNG & Petrol Pumps Owners Association as he said most stations remained closed due to `unknown fear` though there was no call from any side to keep the business closed.
“In Karachi alone there are some 375 fuel stations that included CNG pumps,” he said. “I don`t think that even 30 per cent of these stations functioned normally during the day. Even those in the areas of Clifton and DHA preferred to keep businesses closed amid security concerns.”
He said there was no report of forced closure of fuel stations in any part of the city and members of his association avoided normal operation because of fear and security concerns. Nearly 40 per cent pumps started operating after sunset, he added.
Non-availability of transport and closure of fuel stations since Monday evening left many people stranded at bus stops till early morning.
The late-night announcement by a private schools` association to keep educational institutions closed and its contradiction by the provincial education department giving instructions for normal functioning remained a source of confusion among thousands of students and their parents.
Despite the government directives, a large number of schools remained closed while those which attempted to continue with their academic activities witnessed most students and teachers absent.
Similar was the situation in city markets where shutters remained down and a few which stayed open missed the usual number of buyers.
“We had started coordinating on Monday evening about the Tuesday operation,” said Ateeq Meer, the chairman of the Alliance of Market Associations — a platform for nearly 300 markets and traders` associations in the metropolis.
“But we were very much doubtful about normal operations after the intense wave of violence across the city and our fears met the reality when traders could not dare open up their business.” He said most markets, including those set up in residential and commercial districts, remained closed but a few of them started resuming their business in the evening.
“It was only the fear factor that kept Karachi closed. Businesses are interlinked with each other and when you don`t find transport on roads that ultimately leads to the closure of markets,” Mr Meer said.