Traders demonstrate outside SBP and demand that LCs be opened for clearing containers.
KARACHI: Traders of Karachi came out on the streets and protested outside the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday against the non-clearance of containers and embargo on letters of credit (LCs) due to a lack of foreign exchange in the country.
On the appeal of Karachi Timber Merchants Group (KTMG) against the non-acceptance of remittance documents and LCs by banks, a shutter-down strike was conducted in which all shops in the city timber market has remained closed.
Chairman of All City Traders Union (ACTU) and All Pakistan Timber Traders Association (APTA) Sharjeel Gopalani said that 700 containers of wood are waiting for clearance at the port for 45 days.
“Another 2,000 containers are on the sea route and are about to reach Pakistan,” added Gopalani.
During the shutter-down strike, traders protested in a form of a rally in which the participants chanted the slogans “save timber trade” and “give dollars”.
Moreover, the protesters also closed the branches of various banks established in the market. As a result of the protest, traffic remained disrupted in the area.
The traders also protested outside the Karachi Chamber against the chamber officials. Upon reaching the SBP, the traders staged a sit-in outside the bank against its actions which resulted in a traffic jam at the I.I Chundrigar Road.
During the protest, Gopalani stated that the central bank has sent a message saying that it does not come under the government and has nothing to give to the protestors, and asked them to leave.
On the other hand, a rally of the Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association also reached the SBP. During the rally, traders of pulses and grains chanted slogans.
The participants demanded the release of 6,000 containers stopped at the ports and stated that they will stop imports once these containers are released.
Chairman Wholesale Grocers Association Abdul Rauf Ibrahim said in his address to the rally that the State Bank should explain the “essential items” in its issued circular, adding that if the containers are not released, a new crisis of pulses will arise in the country.
Ibrahim furthered that goods worth more than one and a half billion rupees are present at the port and demanded that the containers should be released. He added the import should be stopped once the containers are released.