KARCHI – The International Council of SMEs (ICSMEs) has advised the Union of Small & Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) to seek protection from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) against the kidnapping, extortion and victimisation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by gangsters in industrial areas.

While gangsters and extortionists have been on the loose in the city, particularly in industrial areas, business activities of hawkers, vendors, shopkeepers, manufacturers and merchants have been adversely impacted. Lately, criminal activities have seen an alarmingly surge and continue without any stout resistance by law-enforcement agencies.

“The ICSMEs has expressed deep concern over the security situation and has advised the UNISAME to take up the matter with the HRCP,” UNISAME chief Zulfikar Thaver said in a statement issued on Monday. “The business community expects that by the virtue of the HRCP bill, victimisation of entrepreneurs would be controlled and protection to it would enable traders to carry out their activities in a better environment,” added Thaver as he hailed the steps taken by President Asif Ali Zardari in this respect.

He said it was unfortunate that despite several appeals by different commerce chambers and trade associations, the government has not taken serious measures to control the situation. “The UNISAME invited immediate attention of the HRCP to the situation and impressed upon the government to deal with it sternly. The union also urged the HRCP to take up the issue with the interior minister,” added the statement.