KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President Karachi Chamber Siraj Kassam Teli has categorically stated that the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry will never support nor assist any individual, small trader, shopkeeper or association who are involved in facilitating the activities of Bhatta Mafia.
He said that any small trader, who has been arrested by Rangers on charge of ‘Facilitator’ to Bhatta Mafia and has admitted the same, will have to face the consequences. “KCCI will not support such small traders or associations.
However, we will only request Rangers to share information about the whereabouts and give access to the family members of such persons on humanitarian grounds”, he added while speaking at the First Meeting of KCCI’s Special Committee for Small Traders which was held under the Chairmanship of Abdul Majeed Memon.
The meeting was also attended by President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Senior Vice President KCCI Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, Chairman Law & Order Sub-Committee Mansoor Ahmed Kadwani, Deputy Chairman Special Committee for Small Traders Talat Mehmood, PCLC Chief Hafeez Aziz, Managing Committee members, large number of small traders and representatives of associations of all major commercial markets of the city.
Siraj Teli stated that it has been observed that small traders refrain from lodging their complaints and usually approach KCCI and Law Enforcing Agencies after paying the extortion money. “You (Small Traders/ Associations) must immediately report Bhatta threats to KCCI so that its Sub-Committee on Law & Order could promptly take up and pursue such cases with Police and Rangers in order to strictly deal with the culprits, responsible for threatening the business community”, he added.
He pointed out that because of fears of backlash, Small Traders are hesitant to report any incident pertaining to demand for Bhatta, which must not happen and they must fearlessly come forward and report the incident to KCCI, CPLC, PCLC, Police and Rangers as the situation in Karachi in terms of law and order is much better now as compared to what it had been in the past when small traders, shopkeepers and even the Industrialists had no other option and even during those days, some of our members had the courage to report such incidents and take a strong stand against the mafia.
He said that any small trader/ businessman or associations, who have been acting as facilitator to Bhatta Mafia due to any kind of helplessness or fear, must immediately stop all such activities and admit the same in front of KCCI, Police and Rangers, besides make a commitment of not to repeat these mistakes. “We will review all such cases and see how we can help. Instead of reporting the incident to KCCI after paying Bhatta, people should immediately seek our assistance before paying and we will help them and support them. If timely contacted, we will make sure that protection is provided to them and no injustice is done with any small trader/ businessman who was not facilitating the Bhatta Mafia but was being victimized”, he added.
While referring to the recent arrests of three shopkeepers on charge of acting as facilitators, he advised representatives of all markets’ associations to nominate their representatives for a meeting with Rangers authorities in the next 3 to 5 days so that Bhatta issues could directly be brought to the notice of Rangers by the sufferers including small traders and associations themselves whereas a clear strategy on how to deal with the situation could be devised and mutually agreed upon at the proposed meeting.
Siraj Teli said that KCCI has been vocally raising voice to resolve issues being faced by small traders on top priority basis and will continue to do so in this particular situation as well in which shopkeepers were not only receiving Bhatta chits but were also being detained by Rangers on charge of facilitating the Bhatta Mafia. “We will fully support anyone who has been receiving threats from Bhatta mafia but will not support anyone in case they are involved in facilitating criminals”, he added. On the occasion, Rangers Complaint Cell District South and PCLC contact numbers were also shared with the meeting participants so that they could immediately lodge their complaints.