Rawalpindi -  Traders of Raja Bazaar on Monday has given a seven-day deadline to Punjab Food Authority (PFA) to stop raiding the traders selling loose spices and to quash a case registered with police against five traders on charges of confronting the officials of food authority. Addressing a press conference at Rawalpindi Press Conference (RPC) on Wednesday, Malik Shahid Ghafoor Paracha, the Chairman Markazmi Anjuman Tajran, said PFA officials are not only launching raids on shops of traders to bar them from selling loose pulses, spices and other edibles but also pressurizing them to pack the edibles in 1 kg and 500 grams to provide them to the consumers.

He said it was not possible for whole sale dealers to obey the orders of PFA as they could bear huge loss. He said the PFA officials were involved in misbehaving and insulting the traders which was not acceptable at any cost. He said the PFA had gotten a case registered against five traders including president Ganjmandi Traders Association without any reason. He asked the PFA to quash case against traders or else traders would expand their protest demonstration. Shahid Ghafoor Paracha said, “The Prime Minister and Chief Minister Punjab should intervene into the matter to remove the reservations of traders or else we will observe a complete strike across the country against PFA’s actions”.

During the presser, Malik Shahid Ghafoor Paracha was also accompanied by Raja Jamil, Ganjmandi Traders Union President, Sharjeel Mir, Sohail Akhter and other traders elected representatives.

Earlier, the traders took out a protest rally from Fawara Chowk to RPC, where they also demonstrated against raids and humiliation by PFA. The traders chanted slogans against PFA and demanded CM to stop the authority to victimize the traders. It may be noted that PFA had banned sale of loose edibles in 2017 and instructed the traders to obey the expiry of the deadline. A few days ago the PFA team arrived at Ganjmandi, Ansari Market, Dalgiran Bazaar, Naswari Bazaar, Sori Gali, Wheat Mandi, Ratta Road and Sooter Mandi to check the sale of loose items and tried to seal some shops but the traders resisted. During this, a brief brawl occurred between the PFA team and the local traders.

The protestors burnt old tyres and chanted slogans against the PFA teams. A huge traffic jam occurred due to the protest demonstration.  Some policemen tried to make videos of the verbal arguments between female staff of PFA and the local shopkeepers and the shopkeepers stopped the policemen. The PFA team alleged that the shopkeepers misbehaved with female staff of PFA. The PFA insisted to lodge police cases against the shopkeepers but Rawalpindi Traders Association leaders Shahid Ghafoor Paracha and Sharjeel Mir attempted to diffuse the situation but PFA team refused to listen to them and misbehaved with them.  Later on, police came into action and the Station House Officer (SHO) Police Station Ganjmandi Raja Aizaz contacted the elected representatives of traders and held a meeting with them.