PESHAWAR - Owners and representatives of the Wedding Halls’ Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have demanded of the government to allow reopening of wedding halls under the Standard Op­erating Procedures (SOPs).

Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, Pres­ident of the Wedding Halls’ Association (WHA) Khalid Ayub said that the live­lihood of hundreds of workers was as­sociated with the sector but it depends on functions in the halls.

He said that there were 120 registered and 170 unregistered wedding halls in the provincial metropolis Peshawar, and there are about 600 marriage halls across the province, which were closed for the last four months due to corona pandemic. Flanked by Arbab Farooq, Rahat Akbar and others, the association president said that as long as the lock­down had been imposed by the govern­ment the wedding halls were complete­ly shut down, resulting losses of Rs2.5 billion in the head of expenditures.

“As per our capacity, we could give salaries to our workers for the last four months despite the closure of wedding halls but now it is getting out of our ca­pacity to provide even a single penny to our workers due to the financial crisis”, he explained.

He also said that not only waiters, cooks, watchmen and slaughterers were earning from the wedding halls but also the rice sellers were associat­ed with the business, whereas millions of rupees in the head of electricity and gas bills were due against them.

The lockdown was relaxed and open­ing of markets was allowed but there is still no relaxation for the wedding halls.

Khalid Ayub assured that the wed­ding halls will strictly follow the SOPs issued by the government. “If any wed­ding hall is found violating the SOPs, it should sealed,” he asserted.

The wedding hall owners appealed to the government to review its decision and allow reopening of wedding halls.

They, however, warned if the govern­ment fails to consider their demand then they would be compelled to march to­wards the provincial assembly building and also besiege the CM House till the acceptance of their genuine demands.