DGTO asked to issue SOPs to hold polls
M Jahangir Hayat
LAHORE: Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) election 2020-21 hangs in balance as local administration Saturday raided PIAF-Founders Alliance Office Opening Ceremony and dispersed the people giving them strict warning.
“How can you hold any function without permission and that too amid COVID -19 pandemic,” assistant commissioner Zeshan Ranjha said, raiding the PIAF office Main Boulevard, Gullberg dispersing the businessmen and their leadership from the place.
A good number of traders, industrialists and their top leadership have gathered at the opening ceremony of the PIAF Founder Alliance Election Officer and majority violated the COVID-19 SOPs. The function is held every year and usually takes many hours to accomplish; however, the alliance shut it in minutes.
As soon as the function was started at 4pm just two speeches were delivered while rest of the leadership was left speechless following the local administration raided the event within the minutes.
Pakistan Federation of Chamber of Commerce and industry president Anjum Nisar, Founders Group leadership including Mian Ashraf and PIAF leadership including Numan Kabir, LCCI president Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, LCCI SVP Ali Hussam Asghar, LCCI SVP Mian Zahid Jawed, LCCI executive members including Mardan Ali Zaidi, Pakistan Traders Alliance leadership markets presidents and general secretaries and industrial association officer bearers were present on the occasion.
Following the raid at the opening ceremony of PIAF Founder Alliance Election Office a heated debate has started where the main question has broken the surface weather or not the LCCI Election will be held during the month of September as the DGTO is adamant to hold the LCCI election while the Punjab Health Ministry and local administration is raiding on the election campaigns.
“If the provincial government is not allowing us holding a smaller function consisting 50 to 100 people how will it be possible to hold such a big election where over 10 to 15 thousands voters will come to use their right of vote,” a senior industrialist raised question on the condition of anonymity while talking to Daily The Business.
“Supposing as per the instructions of the DGTO election are held and the local administration does not allow the people to move or gather at the LCCI due to the fear facto of spread of COVID-19 there will be no reasonable turnout raising many question on the credibility of the election,” another trade leader said adding that the DGTO should take clear-cut position.
” If the DGTO wants us to hold election in September it should communicate the provincial local government of Punjab ensuring no interference of the provincial authorities in the smooth happening of the election or it should call off the election until the reasonable time that is deemed fit for holding the election,” he added.
After the raid was conducted, LCCI president Irfan Iqbal Sheikh talking to media also expressed his surprise as how will they be able to hold election like larger gatherings when smaller and restricted numbers of people are not allowed to assemble.
“How can we hold election? We must be issued SOPs to hold the election. Naturally there will huge assemblies of traders and industrialist if the elections are held,” the LCCI president said.
However, Directorate General of Trade Organisations Director General Riaz Ahmed could not be reached for his version on the issue despite repeated attempts.