LAHORE - The traders and shopkeepers are increasingly shifting their businesses from The Mall to some peaceful and trouble-free areas in the City as frequent strikes, rallies and violent protests coupled with terrorist attacks have dampened business activities at the historic road. The Mall, once considered the hub of cultural and business activities in the City with heavy rush of shoppers everywhere and all the time, is presenting deserted look these days. Heavy police deployment, barriers and barricades at the road and its complete closure during everyday protests, rallies and shut down strikes have badly affected the business. More than 100 shops are on sale in the Panorama shopping center while 20 shops have been put on sale in the Naqi Market as the shopkeepers have shifted their businesses to peaceful areas in other parts of the City, Raja Hamid Riaz, President Mall Road Traders Association said, when contacted. He said the business activities had come to a halt at The Mall as shutter down strikes, violent protests and rallies have become order of the day at this road. Frequent strikes, rallies and protests have destroyed business at The Mall. A good number of leading shopkeepers have shifted to Liberty Market and Gulberg areas. While rest of them are likely to follow the same in the days to come as business is no more here, Raja Hamid Riaz said. He also informed that the traders of The Mall fired more than 6,000 workers in the recent past to curtail their expenditures as the strikes and protests halted business activities. The Mall becomes no-go-area for shoppers whenever an bomb blast takes place in its adjoining areas. The customers avoid visiting The Mall after such incidents, Raja maintained. He said the lawyers movement that lasted for more than two years hit the business activities hard at The Mall. Every Thursday, the police used to block the road for the lawyers protest rally from GPO Chowk to Faisal Chowk and this practice continued for no less than two years. The police used to block entry of all kinds of traffic at The Mall by putting barricades barriers on both sides to avoid any untoward happening during the lawyers protest rally. Later these protests had gone violent, creating more trouble for the businessmen. The basic thing that need a customer is peaceful atmosphere. During violent protests, rallies and traffic blockade nobody visit the shopping mall, Rizwan Ahmed, a shopkeeper at the Saadiq Plaza said. Not enough, after the lawyers movement the top political parties jumped into the struggle for the restoration of judiciary that also triggered strong protests at the Mall. The shutter down strikes that were announced by the political parties against former President Pervez Musharraf also hit the businesses hard. Meanwhile, the strong protests gained momentum after the President Asif Ali Zardari had imposed Governors rule in the Punjab province, this time the Mall road was also a favourite spot. Thousands of PNL-N workers occupied The Mall road to stage protests demonstration against the Governors Rule and these protests lasted for more than a month, putting the businessmen in sever trouble. Panorama Center, Sadiq Plaza, Naqi Market, Hall Road, Anarkali and other shopping centers situated at The Mall were worst hit by these protests. The bomb blasts at the GPO Chowk, FIA Building, Navy War College, Rescue 15 building that took place during the last two years also badly affected the business activities at the road. We had to close down shops for a week or so after every bomb blast as the terrified customers avoided visiting The Mall, Kamran Ali, a shopkeeper commented. Under such circumstances, the disappointed businessmen of the road have been left with no other option but to shift their businesses to peaceful and trouble-free areas of the City, he added. The traders of The Mall have demanded the Punjab government to provide them peaceful atmosphere and ban all kinds of protests and rallies at the road. They also suggested that the government should announce that all kinds of protests, rallies and processions should be carried out at a specific location to avoid economic collapse at The Mall.