LAHORE: The Punjab Marriage Halls Association (PMHA) and Punjab Caterers Association (PCA) have refused to shut down after the government had announced the closure of wedding halls from November 20 till January 31.
The announcement was made in a joint press conference held at the Lahore Press Club by All Pakistan Marriage Halls Association (APMHA) President Mian Khalid Idrees Bhatti, APMHA Senior Vice President Malik Aqeel Sarwar, APMHA General Secretary Rao Tariq Islam amongst other notables.
Bhatti lashed at the government asking, “Was there no danger in the recent demonstrations in Hafizabad where the prime minister addressed crowds? What about the threat of the spread of coronavirus in opposition rallies, religious gatherings, railway stations, airports and transport, etc.? ”
The association complained that their members’ business had been disrupted during the holy months of Muharram and Safar and now that their work had resumed, the government had shut them down.
Officials of the association called on the prime minister, the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) and chief of army staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa to protect their businesses.
“We demand that the order be withdrawn as it is a question of our livelihoods,” they said, claiming “we have already been allowed to arrange functions only under strict SOPs, none of which have been violated in any marriage hall in Punjab.”
“If the government does not accept our demands, we, including our employees, will block the roads. In any case, we will not allow wedding halls to be closed from November 20,” it was said.
The association also expressed distrust in the qualifications of Federal Minister Asad Omar and demanded his removal.
On the other hand, the Punjab government has decided to formulate alternative proposals for opening marriage halls; the government will present its recommendations at the next National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting in this regard.