PESHAWAR           -          The business community on Tuesday demanded an end to lockdown, revi­sion in rent of corporation properties, opening of wedding halls, banquet halls under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and avoid harass­ment in the name of SOPs violation.

The demands were raised before Commissioner Peshawar Amjad Ali Khan during a meeting held here at Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

The Commissioner said that busi­ness community was the backbone of the county’s economy and the govern­ment was taking measures to facilitate them. He made it clear that the admin­istration is trying to avoid any such step affecting the business and trade activities. However, he said it was es­sential to fully implement the SOPs to contain spread of novel coronavirus.

On the occasion former FPCCI pres­ident, Ghazanfar Bilour said that the business community was ready to co­operate with the local administration in enforcement of the SOPs to stop spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the raids conducted by the local administration along with police on shops and markets were unacceptable, he said.

He also asked the provincial gov­ernment to take back the unprece­dented increase in rents of corpora­tion properties.

The SCCI leader Shuakat Ali demand­ed complete end to lockdown and to al­low businesses seven days a week.

He said the unprecedented 200 per cent increase in corporation proper­ties rent by the government was un­justifiable and unfair. The traders were ready to cooperate with local administration to implement SOPs, but the administration should main­tain dignity during raids on their shops, he added.

The SCCI former office-bearer Ziaul Haq Sarhadi hailed the opening of Torkham and Ghulam Khan borders for trade, adding the government step would give a boost to mutual trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and Central Asian republics.

Commissioner Peshawar Amjad Khan said the business community was playing a pivotal role in the eco­nomic development of the country, so the government was also committed to facilitate them. He said the provin­cial government was taking preven­tive and precautionary steps to control spread of Covid-19 in light of the deci­sions taken during the National Coor­dination Committee (NCC), chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said that decision regarding opening of wedding halls and ban­quet halls would be taken after the end of smart lockdown.

He assured the traders to take up is­sue regarding increase in rents of cor­poration properties with deputy com­missioner Peshawar. He said it was quite difficult to implement the SOPs on private educational institutions