LAHORE -  All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, a traders’ body, has called a countrywide traders convention in Karachi on October 28 to condemn the Sindh government’s decision of markets’ forced closure at 7pm.

APAT general secretary Naeem Mir said that the move had never been successful in the past, terming the Singh government plan impracticable and threatened to take recourse to all possible ways of protest against it.

He regretted that contrary to the promise about taking all business-related decisions after consulting the community, the Sindh government has taken the step of closing shops at 7pm unilaterally.

“We have already suffered irreparable loss over the last many years for our failure to develop a national consensus on this critical issue. The provinces and the federal government will be well advised to agree on the most efficient allocation of natural resources. Unless we can agree among ourselves about the proper utilisation of available hydel, coal and gas resources in the larger national interest, we will not be able to overcome the energy shortage which has become an impediment in the revival of our economy,” he said.

“We are standing with the traders of Sindh and if govt attempted to get the markets closed forcibly it would face severe resistance by the traders and we can go on strike if the decision is not withdrawn.”

The shopkeepers have been asked to pull down shutters at 7pm sharp, he said, adding that the people hardly get out of their homes before evening. Therefore, they need at least two hours to carry out their shopping plan. He said that the government should focus on other avenues of energy conservation instead of reducing business hours.

He said that electricity pilferages and line losses should be controlled and constructing new dams was not a bad idea.

Naeem Mir termed the plan discriminatory against retailers of Sindh, saying no such policy was implemented in the past anywhere in the country. Similarly, he said that the decision was never implemented in cantonment areas. He said the Sindh government had not made clear whether the plan would also be enforced on medical stores and children play lands.