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Punjab smog: CM takes notice as traders decry 'forced closure' of markets

Punjab smog: CM takes notice as traders decry ‘forced closure’ of markets

طوبیٰ Tooba 8 months ago 0 3

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  • CM Naqvi says no orders for closure of markets given for Nov 10.
  • “Strict action to be taken if police forced [traders] to close markets.”
  • Traders urge chief minister to order lifting lockdown in Lahore.

Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Friday took notice of the incidents of “forced closure” of shops in Lahore in compliance with the orders of lockdown due to the ongoing smog situation, as the traders lamented the police’s misconduct.

The Punjab government on Thursday revised a previously imposed lockdown in multiple districts of the province, including Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Sialkot, and Narowal.

As per the notification, markets in the smog-hit districts were to be allowed to operate on Thursday and Friday, however, shopping malls and markets will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Taking notice of the matter, CM Naqvi said that no orders for the closure of markets and shops had been given for November 10.

“Strict action will be taken if the police forced [traders] to close the markets or shops,” he said

The caretaker chief executive said that the order to close markets due to smog was only for Saturday.

He said rain and the government’s efforts have brought a significant drop in smog levels. He then thanked the trader associations for cooperating with the government.

The traders association leaders complained about the forced closure of a shop in the city’s Shah Alam Market by police and urged the chief minister to order lifting the lockdown in Lahore.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club, All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran (APAT) leader Naeem Mir alleged “police brutality” saying that the cops misbehaved with the traders at the market and threatened them to register an FIR against them.

“We were unable to understand if police are the boss or the chief minister is the chief executive [of the province],” he said.

Munir said that customers from all over Punjab visit the markets on Fridays but today the entire day was wasted in this problem.

He said that it rained so much today that it washed away all the smog and the air quality index (AQI) improved. Now the smart lockdown is no more relevant, he added.

Earlier in the week, an environmental and health emergency had been declared in Lahore, Gujranwala, and Hafizabad divisions for four days due to the prevailing smog conditions.

At this AQI level, the city maintained its position as one of the most polluted cities with citizens experiencing a hazy and smoggy atmosphere throughout the day. The air quality was severely poor, making it nearly impossible to breathe normally outdoors.

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