PESHAWAR  - Traders of Kharkhano Market have voiced concern over crackdown on their shops by a team of Customs Department and warned of launching protest movement and observing shutter down strike if the confiscated goods along with cash were not returned to them.

While speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Monday, President Tajir Insaf Peshawar Shahid Khan said that a team of Customs Intelligence and Investigation in support of police conducted a raid on Haroon Market in Kharkhano Market without any intimation and seized cloth from 10 shops and also took away huge cash from the shop.

Flanked by Haroon Market President Mujeebullah, Palace Market President Inayatullah, trader Shakor Khan, leaders of Tajir Insaf Peshawar Iftikhar Hussain and Tariq Jalil, he justified that the Bara markets were established in various cities across the country but now a conspiracy was being hatched to damage their businesses, he lamented.

Shahid Khan said that they had held meeting with the district police officials, but traders did not get positive response. He warned that if Customs department did not return back the confiscated cloth and cash, they would take legal action against them. He also threatened a protest campaign against the Customs department across the district.

Mujeeb said that there was no justification of crackdown on shops in Kharkhano Market. He lamented that business activities were already affected due to ongoing work of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project in Peshawar coupled with excessive loadshedding and poor law and order situation in the province. He added that such government steps would further push their businesses to standstill.

Iftikhar Hussain said that law should be equal for everyone. He alleged that the Customs department officials are involved in taking bribes from smugglers on various points in the city. He said that instead of conducting raids on shops, the Customs department should take action against their officials to eradicate the menace of smuggling in the province.

Shahid Khan said that the superior court had asked the government to eradicate menace of smuggling on borders, but they are conducting raids on the shops and markets in Karkhano area, which is not a solution to end smuggling.