All the major markets in Lahore including Mall Road, Hall Road, currency market, Urdu Bazar, Akbari Mandi, Shah Alam Market, Anarkali, Neela Gumband, Ferozpur road, Ichhra, Jail road, Shadman, Mozang Chungi, Abid Market, Liberty Market, Defence Y Block, M.M Alam Road, Model Town, Town Ship, Akbar Chowk, Thokar Niaz Baig, Johar Town, Iqbal Town, Chugi Amer Sadhu, Wahdat Road, Multan Road and Shahdra, remained closed on Monday as Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) activists blockaded all the major arteries of the city under its “Plan-C” of protest.
According to a survey conducted by Business Recorder, in the morning traders opened their shops on Mall Road, Hall Road and Beddon Road. They shutdown their businesses after PTI supporters led by PTI MPA Mian Aslam Iqbal and general secretary All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran Naeem Mir arrived on Mall Road and chanted slogans against the government. A heavy presence of police was in force at all major buildings on Mall Road, including Shahdin Plaza, Punjab Assembly, outside Masjid-e-Shuhada, Panorama Shopping Centre and Regal Chowk.
The situation remained peaceful in the city; however some incidents of scuffles between PTI supporters and traders were reported from some markets of the city. At Shah Alam market, some PTI protesters tried to forcibly close down shops. A scuffle broke out between PTI protesters and unidentified men after a party worker allegedly manhandled a passer-by at Bhati Chowk. While at Beddon Road, a man was allegedly beaten up by sticks by a PTI protester.
Talking to Business Recorder, President Mall Road Traders Association Sohail Mahmood Butt and office-bearer of Hall Road Traders Association and PML (N) leader Shabir Labha said that traders of Lahore had rejected the shutter down call of Imran Khan.
Answering a question regarding whether any PTI activist tried to shut down their businesses forcibly, they said that no such incident took place. They closed down their shops with a view to avoiding any untoward incident. Chairman Lahore Sugar Dealer Association Asghar Butt and central leader of All Pakistan Paper Merchant Association Khamis Butt said that Akbari Mandi and Urdu Bazar remained open till 12noon but due to the blockade of roads there was no business activity, which led to closure of shops by traders.
PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood, who was in Lahore for the shutdown call, said that Imran Khan had already said that those who are satisfied with the system can carry on their businesses as usual. Mehmood said PTI workers and supporters were not coercing anyone into shutting down shops. Regarding road blockades, the PTI leader said they had already said that they would block roads, “obviously vehicular traffic would come to a standstill in that case.” He added that his party is conscious of the difficulties being faced by the people of Lahore and said PTI is engaged in the capital (sit-in) for a far bigger, national cause.