BAHAWALNAGAR-The trading community, flanked by civil society and local transporters, on Tuesday observed shutter-down strike and staged a sit-in against the arbitrary and unreasonable increase in rent of shops owned by the Tehsil Municipal Committee Bahawalnagar. They blasted the TMC chairman Rana Atif Rauf for unilaterally hiking rent of the TMC-owned shops by 25 percent.

In this connection, Anjuman-e-Tajran took out a protest rally from Minchinabad Chowk which, besides traders, was attended by lawyers and civil society members. The rally participants were carrying placards inscribed with slogans against the arbitrary increase in rent of the shops and unilateral decision of the TMC Chairman and his MPA father. The protesting traders reached the TMC office and blocked its main gate by staging a sit-in there.

The protesters chanted slogans against MC chairman Rana Atif Rauf and his father MPA Rana Abdul Rauf. They declared the hike in rent as unjustified, demanding withdrawal of the decision. They termed the rent increase economic murder of the traders, pledging that they would continue their protest until the decision is annulled.

Speaking on the occasion, Anjuman-e-Tajran office-bearers including Sohail Khan, Sheikh Anwar and Rana Guddu rejected the increase in rent of shops by TMC chairman as unjustified. They informed that they had several meetings with the TMC chairman and his father MPA Rana Abdul Rauf in which they demanded 10 percent increase in the rent. They claimed that both, the MPA and TMC chairman, had agreed with the traders but later they reneged on their promise and imposed 25 percent increase in rent.

The AT office-bearers demanded Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif take notice of the authorities' highhandedness and ensure justice to the traders.