MULTAN

The operation against fireworks traders has finally begun as police rounded up 14 ‘death merchants’ and registered cases against them on Tuesday. Police sources said that the arrested accused included both manufacturers and traders of fireworks.A high official of the district administration had hurled a warning a few days back that the city could face another tragedy if a ruthless operation was not launched against fireworks traders. At least eight persons including women and children were killed while 12 others injured when a massive cache of fireworks exploded in Gur Mandi area of walled city on August 4 last year. Although the government and district administration announced strict steps against the fireworks trade, nothing solid was done. Sources claim that the traders have set up underground godowns of fireworks in Kabootar Mandi, Hannu Ka Chajja and Kup Bazaar areas of Multan as well as Railway Bazaar of Shujabad.Sources in the district administration claimed that whenever any operation was launched against fireworks merchants, they removed the cache of explosives to other places on the tip-off some ‘Unidentified Informers.Police sources said that the raids were conducted in Gur Mandi, Kala Mandi, Kup Bazaar and Lohari Gate areas and the accused were caught red-handed along with fireworks. “All the arrested accused are booked under Explosive Act 4/6A,” sources further revealed. Sources said that the campaign against the manufacturers and traders of fireworks was being stepped up and all out measures would be adopted to uproot this business.