KARACHI                   -            Hustle and bustle returned to Karachi, the commercial hub of the country, on Monday with most of the shops reopening, exception being malls and eateries, leading to increase in traffic flow and consequent jams due to poor management.

The scenario reminded of the days prior to COVID-19 when there was lot of activity on city’s roads and markets.

This was perhaps a symbol of normalcy for most of the Karachiites, too excited to open their businesses and rush to the markets.

Extremely hot weather, however, took its toll on those coming out of their homes to avail relaxation in the lockdown amidst little hope for any improvement in the weather condition during day time.

“Although it is particularly tough for those fasting to resume their businesses, but the relief was very much needed in view of fast approaching Eid festival,” said Abdul Wahid running a garments store in Bohri Bazaar.

Emphasising that things were turning grimmer and depressing for the small and medium entrepreneurs, he thanked the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for realising gravity of the situation and allowing gradual opening of business activities.

Momina Khan, a lady doing Eid shopping, with all precautionary measures, urged the citizens to realise they were confronted with a challenge, a global pandemic, and ensure strict compliance with the standard operating procedures as announced by the authorities.

“Life has to move on under all conditions, but its sanctity has also to be ensured,” said a middle-aged housewife fully conscious of the ground situation.

Citizens largely appeared to be supportive of the government measures to protect people against the viral infection that has taken on the world without any distinction, acknowledging that it was the collective responsibility of each and every citizen to not only protect themselves but also those around them from a condition that is not benign.

There were also a significant number of people who took strong exception to rampant indiscipline on thoroughfares and complained that the distance they covered in 10 minutes during past 30 days or so was now covered in 45 to 50 minutes.

“This cannot only help us avoid the loss in terms of time, fuel cost but also protect against the mental torture,” said Abdul Haleem who said he got stuck for 50 minutes on New Preedy street, running parallel to Shahab uddin Market and KMC Parking Plaza.

Many regretted absence of traffic police leading to chaotic situation on city roads mentioning that though there were no public buses and wagons but absolute disregard for traffic rules by rickshaw drivers and those of private vehicles was a matter of serious concern.

“Lifting of the lockdown from 8 am to 5 pm is very much needed but each and every stakeholder ought help making it meaningful with absolutely no compromise,” said Alim Ali, associated with a private company.

Mentioning that he even during past 40 days had been attending his duties without any failure reminded that fool proof arrangement by his management ensured his safety and also that of his colleagues.  

“This is our collective responsibility to make optimum of the relaxation with due care that none of us are exposed to any risk of contracting infection,” he said.