ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad Caterers Association (ICA) has demanded from the federal and Islamabad district administration to allow marquees and marriage halls to operate with due precautionary measures immediately.

Chairman of the ICA Mukhtar Abbas, President Salman Ashraf and General Secretary Bakhtawar Butt in a meeting with media representatives expressed their concern over the on-going closure of marquees and wedding halls in the wake of coronavirus and demanded from the government that like other businesses they should also be allowed to work with precautionary measures.

They informed that the Islamabad Caterers Association is a representative organization of more than 100 marriage halls and marquees of the federal capital, which employs thousands of people. They said that the association had earlier been in touch with the government on tax and CDA issues and now it is trying to play its role in present pandemic. Association’s office holders said that the marquees and marriage halls employ a large number of permanent as well as the daily wagers but the on-going closure is forcing the owners of marquees to disengage their services as they donot have to pay them from their own pocket.

“We stand with the government and the people in this difficult time and have been paying salaries to our employees for the last three months despite complete lockdown, but now the losses are beyond our capacity,” Chairman ICA Mukhtar Abbas while sharing his views said.

He demanded that the government should give them conditional permission so that at least they can meet their expenses. He said that at present there are at least 20,000 people working in the marquees and marriage halls of Islamabad in addition to a large number of people who provide various services i.e. butchers, hall decorators, photographers etc. Bakhtawar Butt, the General Secretary of the association has said that if the government will allow them to open marquees, the ICA will take responsibility for the full implementation of government’s SOPs. He said that we are ready to arrange functions with scattered setting arrangements, table serving, using of clean cutlery and centrifuge gates at the entrances of the halls.

Mukhtar Abbas further demanded that the government should give their business a status of industry as they are not only providing the best services but also providing training to thousands of young boys and girls every year after which they are getting decent jobs and earning respectable livelihood.