Rs1.5 crore being extorted daily from roadside Khi stalls

KARACHI: In Karachi, during the month of Ramazan, the flow of traffic is impeded by an upsurge in the number of roadside stalls and encroachments. More than 1 lakh stalls hinder the movement of people and goods across the port city.
According to details, the number of stalls increases particularly in the month of Ramazan due to an increase in the sale of fruits. Interestingly, for one to place his stall in the public without inviting the wrath of authorities, they have to pay protection or bribe every day. 
The amount collected from every stall owner is Rs 150. Thus, the total amount collected from stalls and encroachments across the city amounts to Rs 1.5 crore per day.
These stalls hamper the movement of people and are a major cause of traffic jams in areas such as Clifton, Bahadurabad, North Nazimabad, Liaqatabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Tariq Road.
According to the stall owners interviewed, the bribe goes to the police and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. The one who collects money from the stall owners is called a beater. Every area has its own beater, who is responsible for the collection of bribe from stall owners and encroachers of his area and passing the money on to higher officials.
It is not true that people are unaware about this network of bribery and extortion. Government officials and police are privy to this practice as they are themselves involved in this. If any honest official tries to initiate an inquiry or take action regarding this matter, certain elements within the authorities obstruct the process by launching an inquiry against the said official.
Talking to media, a customer said that both KMC and police are involved in collecting bribes which is why these stall owners sell their products at such a high rate. It is pertinent to mention that the existence of extortionists and extortion networks is common knowledge in Karachi. 
However, the perpetrators of these acts have always been thought to belong to the militant wing of political parties. The fact that it isn t just street criminals involved in these acts, but government and law enforcement officials are also engaged in the collection of bribes and extortion money from the common man is something that is alarming and calls for immediate attention. - NNI