KARACHI: Deteriorating law and order on Saturday in the aftermath of an operation by law enforcement agencies against protesters in the federal capital hurt commercial and trading activities in the metropolis.
Sit-ins in key industrial areas also affected factory output and the movement of goods.
A number of workers in Karachi failed to reach industrial units, especially in the second shift, after angry protesters blocked thoroughfares.
Site Association of Industry President Jawed Bilwani said all industrial units were open in the morning, but the output remained limited due to the thin attendance of workers.
Business leaders estimate a loss of up to Rs4bn
As a result, production in the industrial area plummeted by at least 50 per cent, he said, adding that export shipments and supplies to up-country were also suspended. The movement of production materials from one industrial area to another also suffered due to road closures.
Korangi Association of Trade and Industry President Tariq Malik said almost half of 4,500 units did not operate fully due to the workers’ poor attendance.
“Industrial units will not be able to operate on Monday in case tension persists,” he said, claiming that exporters managed to ship their products.
Landhi Association of Trade and Industry President Islamuddin Zafar said the morning shift operated at full capacity due to 80-90pc attendance of staffers.
F.B. Area Association of Trade and Industry former president Masroor Ahmed Alvi said the morning shift registered 70pc production. But thin public transport and road closures kept the production in the second shift limited to 40pc.
All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir said all city markets were open by noon. But the situation became worse after the start of the operation in Islamabad as protesters resorted to road closures and sit-ins.
Protesters also came into the markets and created panic among traders, he said. Up to 80pc markets closed down by 3pm as workers started leaving for home, he added.
“The estimated loss caused by one day of suspended trade activities is Rs3.5-4 billion,” he said, putting the onus of the market shutdown on the government.
He said that although law enforcement agencies did not stop people from holding sit-ins and rallies, they tried to avert a complete showdown to some extent.
A trader from Boulton Market said shops opened around 11am but closed down by noon. The market in the Garden area also closed down by 3pm when some people forced shopkeepers to put up the shutters.
The president of the Meethadar Garment Market Association and the Sindh Tajir Ittehad, Jameel Ahmed Paracha, put the loss estimate at Rs3bn owing to only 20pc trading activity in the city.