Rawalpindi: After rumours that the owner of Gakhar Plaza plans to allot the new plaza shops to erstwhile shopkeepers at the sixth floor upwards, a wave of unrest and anger has swept the affected traders of ill-fated Gakhar Plaza, which was totally gutted on December 20 last year.

They were highly infuriated with the rumours that the owner plans to deprive the shopkeepers of their original place and intends to give shops to them at the sixth floor and upwards, thus keeping all the first five floors to himself to rent them out to new persons. They said that if they were not adjusted at their original places, i.e at the floors where they had their shops, they would not allow that to happen and would go to any extent to stop the cupidity of the owner.

Talking to ‘The News’ members of Gakhar Plaza Traders Action Committee Nadir Khan and Sheikh Rafiq said that soon after the collapse of Gakhar Plaza, the owner had promised around 525 traders that equal number of shops would be allotted to them first, but now when the plan for the new building has been approved Raja Shahid Zafar is deviating from his commitment.

They said that with their hard labour they made the Gakhar Plaza as the hallmark of the city and the most prestigious name that people trusted. If these traders are forced to accept kiosks at the sixth or even upper floors, nothing could be more cruel and unjust.

They angry traders action committee demanded that they should be allotted shops at their original floors before the construction starts. If any attempt is made to cheat the traders they would launch a forceful movement against the owner of the plaza, and take all possible measures to thwart such rank injustice. They even threatened to bring out a ‘Kafan Posh’ rally at the site of Gakhar Plaza for which a date would be announced shortly.

Talking to ‘The News’ Raja Shahid Zafar the owner of the plaza said that Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) has approved the building plan of the new building of Gakhar Plaza and construction work would commence by the end of December. He added that the work of allotment of shops has already begun.

Giving details he said that the new plaza would be a multi-storey building with a basement as parking lot. The allotment of shops to the interested persons has been initiated from 6th-storey. “The affected traders would also be given their due share as per promise,” he added.

He however refuted the claims of Gakhar Plaza affectees and said that the process of allotment of shops has already begun. However, he did not comment whether the shops to the affectees would be allotted at their original floors and whether it would be done before the completion of the new building or not. He said that it depends upon the nature of work and structure of building. He said, “The affected traders would also be given their due share as per promise.”

Source: The News