KARACHI - All major commercial and trade centres in Karachi remained closed on Saturday causing a loss of nearly Rs4 billion to the state exchequer.

Public transport remained off the road. People leaving for offices looked helpless as rickshaw and taxi drivers resorted to over-charging in absence of buses. Roads wore a deserted look as filling stations also stopped functioning.

It was the fourth shutdown that affected trade activities in the financial hub of the country bringing commercial activities to a complete halt.

An industrialist estimated that a single day’s (revenue) loss to the national kitty was around Rs4 billion, keeping in view the share of Karachi in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). He added that it was very difficult for Pakistani exporters to deliver on time due to strikes and closure of business activities.

Trade activities resume: Following a complete suspension of commercial and private activities on the MQM’s call for observing Saturday as “the day of mourning” against the killing of its sympathisers, Altaf Hussain, in the evening, asked traders to resume their work.

In a statement issued from MQM’s London office, Hussain thanked the citizens for recording a peaceful protest on the MQM’s appeal. “The purpose of the call has been served. So, I would like tradesmen as well as transporters to restart their activities as usual.” It may be mentioned here that the MQM Coordination Committee, late on Friday, announced to observe a peaceful mourning day on Saturday after four of its sympathisers got killed in Banaras area.

The committee had appealed to traders and transporters to support the MQM’s call given over the loss of precious lives.

Business activities resumed in Karachi at 4:00pm, but public and private transport thinned out.