KARACHI – A complete shutter-down strike was observed in Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh on Saturday, as traders protested against the extortion mafia.

Entire business community, industrialists, transporters and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) supported the extortion-stricken traders to make the strike a success and a ‘strong warning’ to the elements trying to jeopardise business activities in the economic and commercial hub of the country.

More than 300 markets, main business houses and commercial centres across the city remained closed. Even the tea stalls and paan kiosks in the residential areas were shut.

All public transport, buses and mini buses remained off the road and main thoroughfares of the city presented a deserted look in the morning. Intercity bus service also remained suspended. Attendance in the government offices remained thin and people faced difficulties in reaching their work places.

Though, 170 CNG stations in the city remained closed under the gas load management, but closure of petrol pumps further trimmed down the number of private vehicles on the roads, while rickshaw and taxi drivers charged exorbitant fares to the needy commuters.

Matriculation examinations scheduled for Saturday were also postponed and a new schedule would be announced later. The Federal Urdu University and Dow University also cancelled examinations.

The agitated crowd tried to block railway crossing at the Sharah-e-Faisal, but heavy contingent of police rushed to the spot and brought situation under control.

Some miscreants torched a bus at Gharibabad underpass while tyres were also set ablaze at Liaquatabad Road.

Administration had made strict security arrangements and heavy contingent of police and law enforcers were deployed at main roads and at sensitive installations. However, some public transport buses were seen plying on limited routes and petrol pumps started fuel supply in the evening.

No causality, however, has so far been reported from any quarter till filling of this report.