LAHORE                  -          The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front (PIAF) has appealed to the government to extend permission to the business community to run their businesses 24/7 till Eid ul Fitar. All shopping malls should be reopened with strict implementation of the government SOPs in their true spirit.

PIAF chairman Mian Nauman Kabir, in a joint statement with senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed Khan and vice chairman Javed Iqbal Siddiqi, asked the government to avoid issuing threatening statements of re-imposing lockdown, as it would create further panic among the business community as well as the general public, who already visit markets in haste owing to time limitation, resulting into more rush. PIAF chairman said that partial implementation of SOPs was just due to the limited market hours and changed routine owing to Ramazan. 

Mian Nauman Kabir also observed that COVID-19 cases’ fatality rate in Pakistan is very low, at about 2% against the global figure, with recovery figure of more than 98% for which the government was appreciated for taking the immediate measure to control the outbreak in the country. At the same time, instead of creating an environment of fear and stress, we must recognize the symptoms and exercise as many precautions as possible, he suggested.

PIAF vice chairman Javed Iqbal Siddiqi pointed out that fatality rate in Pakistan due to COVID-19 was very low as compared to other diseases such as Hepatitis (which claims nearly 150,000 lives on average every year with over 400 people losing life daily), cancer and heart disease, claiming around 200,000 deaths in a year. Quoting the data of WHO and UNICEF, he mentioned that only 30 to 40 percent population has access to clean drinking water in comparison to the world average of around 72 percent.  

Javed Iqbal Siddiqi said that the Eid was an important event for the business community when business liabilities were paid off along with benefits to hundreds of thousands of people attached to different operations of the economic activities; hence, all economic areas should be functioning smoothly.

He observed that COVID-19 was diagnosed in China in Jan 2020 and till now no vaccine was available to treat the patients, and preparing a vaccine might take a year, therefore; it was very important to get adapted to the situation while recognizing all precautionary measures such as washing hands very often, wearing face masks, and avoiding unnecessary contact with everyone, etc instead of shutting the businesses altogether. 

He pleaded that the ease in the lockdown would not only reduce the financial depressions but also progress the economic activities in the country. Therefore, the business community should be allowed to run businesses 24/7 till Eid, he demanded.