Lahore - The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) Central General Secretary Naeem Mir has announced that traders of The Mall will keep their shops open on the day of sit-in of Pakistan Awami Tehrik scheduled for Friday (today).

He was addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club here on Thursday, along with other trade bodies’ leaders, including Anarkali Bazaar President Ashraf Bhatti, Lahore Traders Alliance president Agha Adnan, Anjuman-e-Tajiran Mall Road President Sohail Butt, Rana Idrees, Hafeez Sandhu, Malik Tahir and all presidents of the surrounding markets of the Mall

Blaming the administration for completely failing to implement writ of the government, Mir requested Dr Tahirul Qadri to change his venue for the sit-in.

He said the government had converted Mall into a banquet hall and everyone could easily close this important commercial road, whenever it wishes and the government did nothing despite the fact that all kinds of protests and processions had been banned by the honourable court. He asked the government to get the order of Justice Mansoor Ali Shah implemented in letter and spirit because Eid shopping was in full swing, while Qadri was coming to Pakistan to destroy the business of traders.

“If traders are forced to close shops by the PTA, they will resist the move and keep their businesses open at any cost,” he said categorically. He added that businesses on The Mall Road came to a standstill due to protests, while the DCO and CCPO failed to deliver on the occasion.

“The whole district administration, including police officers should resign, if they cannot get the court orders implemented,” he demanded. He informed the media that district administration had intimated traders of Mall Road to close their shops on Friday.

He criticised the release of such letter by the government itself, reiterating that traders would not close their shops. He said that APAT delegation had also held meetings with the leadership of Pakistan Awami Tehrik and requested them to change their place of sit-in like Nasir Bagh, but they did not respond positively.

“It is unfortunate that the government has miserably failed in implementing order of the court,” he said, and added, “The traders are worried about the uncertainty regarding their businesses on The Mall, because they are not sure when the sit-in will end. They think the protest may prolong for one week or beyond.

The office-bearers of all trade bodies appealed to Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take action against this gross violation of the court orders.