The three major and most popular recreational places on the Mall including the Lahore Zoological Garden, Lahore Museum and Bagh-e-Jinnah remained closed because of the anti-government Ehtesab rally by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s chairman Imran Khan.
Tight security measures taken by the administration to avoid any untoward incident on this occasion resulted in halting of almost all sort of traffic from Governor’s House to Post Master General (PMG) Building. The sources in the zoo claimed that it had suffered over Rs 600,000 due to the protest rally of the PTI.
It may be added that the zoo and such other places are one of the biggest attraction sites for the visitors during the Saturday holiday. Moreover, most of the people prefer to visit parks because of the fresh air and cheap way of spending their time.
Zoo, Bagh-e-Jinnah and museum are also famous picnic spots in the provincial metropolis which also had to face either no visitor or negligible visit during the rallies and sit-ins staged by various marches and rallies. Traders of different shopping outlets across the Mall Road were the other main sufferers of Ehteshab rally on Saturday and similar events in the past.
The Secretary General of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran Naeem Mir also expressed his dismay over the PTI’s protest rally, saying that the provincial government has failed to restrict them from doing protest at the Mall despite serious security threats were prevailing.
Moreover, he reiterated to the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to restrict such elements for holding protest on the Mall at the Faisal Chowk which is causes the millions of rupees of loss to the trader community on it.
He told this reporter that there are over almost over 30,000 shopkeepers are running their businesses on the Mall and they got upset when protestors occupy the Mall which causes colossal business loss besides creating a severe traffic mess.
Recently, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) did their protest at Faisal Chowk and the trader community incurred over 70 million of rupee despite the ban and section 144 is imposed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) whereas the provincial government and Punjab police should play their significant role to strictly implement the Lahore High Court’s order on the Mall, he said.
It is always noted that the Lahore’s main road, the Mall, has become the most suitable place for protesters including the political and religious parties, students, government employees, labourers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) activists where people from all over the province prefer to stage sit-ins and protest demonstrations in the metropolis to get noticed. Such demonstrations are causing huge losses to businesses community, local traders on the Mall said.
The Mall Road traders have also appealed to the media houses through the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) not to cover the event. They said the Lahore High Court has already restricted protests and rallies on the Mall.
They also criticized the government for its failure to enforce the Court’s orders. They appealed the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court to direct the provincial and city governments to implement court orders in letter and in spirit.