Business community on Friday gave an ultimatum to the government to resolve the city’s deteriorating security situation while accusing the coalition partners in Sindh provincial government for being directly responsible for the poor law and order.
A closed-door meeting of the members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) decided to observe a one-day strike on Nov 8 if their demands are not met, and the strike could also be extended for an unlimited time if need be as no one feels safe in the workplace or at home due to the high crime rate, which also has dire consequences for the entire economy.
This is the first time during the present government’s term that a demand has been raised for involving the army in controlling the law and order situation in the city reflecting the business community’s lack of faith in the civil administration.
The meeting has also demanded the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to come to Karachi and hold a meeting with business community to discuss solutions for the present scenario. It was also strongly demanded that the entire police force, which is engaged in the security of government officials, be withdrawn and replaced by private guards. The police force should in fact be beefed up to meet the challenge.
Briefing the media after the meeting FPCCI Acting President Haroon Rashid warned that the business community has the right to take its own course of action to safeguard their interests and the country as a whole in case the government fails to consider their demands.
He regretted that all coalition partners in the provincial government have militant wings which are freely operating and have full patronage of political forces. Presently kidnapping for ransom, target killing, bhatta and perchi system for extortion from business community are at rampant and lives of citizens are not save at home or at workplace.
S M Muneer, business leader and former president FPCCI, said the entire business community has lost faith in civil administration which is not in a position to take independent decisions for controlling law and order situation. He further said that if army operation could be carried out in South Waziristan and Sawat why not use that option for Karachi as 67 per cent of revenue is generated from this city. It is a proven fact, he said, that situation has been created by local elements and there was no foreign hand involved in destroying harmony and safety of citizens.
The industry which had already been facing power and gas shortages has been given another crippling blow, he said, because tankers who supply water to industry have gone on strike because the government closed most of the hydrants in the city.
Without water the industry could not fulfill export orders and this will further affect exports which are already falling, he added. He said there was a demand that Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf should come to Karachi along with his cabinet for a month and monitor the law and order situation.
Muneer disclosed that after Eid a large delegation of around 150 to 200 business and industry leaders will meet Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad and apprise him of the situation and will try to find out an amicable solution.