A complete shutdown was observed on Monday in Chishtian against a fire incident in Central New Bazaar which reduced more than 15 shops to ashes, causing a loss of million rupees to shopkeepers on Eid Day.

According to details, the fire erupted at Central Bazaar, apparently due to short circuit, engulfed more than 15 shops and reduced goods worth millions of rupees to ashes within a short time. According to eyewitnesses, they were returning from Eid prayers at Eidgah Chishtian when they saw 'sky rising flames' at central bazaar. They rushed to the spot and saw the 'horrible fire engulfed at least 15 closed shops. The irony of fate can be gauged that Chishtian's fire-brigade was out of order and fire-fighters were called in from other adjacent cities like Bahawalnagar, Hasilpur, Haroonabad, Fortabbas, Arifwala and Sahiwal which took enough time to reach the scene. However, Rescue 1122 fire-fighters succeeded in controlling the fire five hours long struggle. On information, Bahawalnagar DCO Malik Ashraf Awan rushed to the spot. However on his arrival people turned violent and expressed their strong resentment against the sorry state of affairs of the Chishtian TMA and unavailability of fire brigade.

At which the DCO assured the angry people of remedial steps at earliest. He also assured the people that he would submit request to the government for compensation to the affected traders. DPO Athar Ismail and MPA Zahid Akram were also present there.

Later a relief camp was set up at Sir Syed High School wherein politicians, traders and people made generous contribution for compensation to the affected traders. Meanwhile a complete shutdown was observed on the call of Anjuman-e-Tajiran to express solidarity with affected traders.

Withdrawal of hike in GST: The Surgical Instruments Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SIMAP) has urged the government to withdraw the recent increase in the sales tax ratio on raw surgical materials. Talking to the newsmen here the other day, SIMAP Chairman Muhammad Bilal Tanveer said that the surgical instruments' vendors, manufacturers and exporters were worried due to the hike in the GST rate, saying that this increase was leaving bad impact on the surgical instruments' exports. He regretted that double checking of surgical export shipments by Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) at Sialkot and Karachi were causing undue delay in timely dispatch of export shipments to different foreign destinations. The SIMAP Chairman also urged the government to ensure early payment of EDF claims to Sialkot-based surgical exporters, and introduce the "One Window Operation" for tax collection.