A three-day fruit boycott drive kicked off in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi, urging public not to buy fruits on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The drive appears to be yielding early results. Fruit sales in the mega city dipped as citizens’ boycott campaign on social media is meeting success”, reported local daily newspaper The Express Tribune and BBC Urdu.
Karachi residents observed a three-day strike against fruit vendors for overcharging during Ramadan. The effect of the campaign, which began on social media, was quite evident on its first day on Friday, reported several media outlets.
The Old Sabzi Mandi (Vegetable Market) on University Road is usually a crowded market and sees a lot of clogged traffic because of parked cars left behind by customers visiting to buy fresh fruit and vegetables after work, but on Friday afternoon, the market was largely empty.
“I’ve only had a few customers since morning,” Abdullah Jan, a fruit vendor said. “All I have been doing today is keeping flies off my fruits with my handkerchief.”
Jan was unaware that there was consumer strike because he said he had not had the opportunity to watch TV for the last few days.
Tariq Mirza, who was returning from a nearby mosque after Friday prayer, conceded that prices were lower now, saying earlier a dozen bananas were being sold for Rs160 but on Friday they cost Rs100.
Mirza said he believed such strikes could help but maintained that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that vendors sold fruit in compliance with the price list.
Fruit vendor Gul Muhammad explained that vendors were only selling at increased prices because they were being charged higher at the wholesale level.
“Everything is overpriced in this country. The public should protest against everything then,” he said.
The situation was similar in various markets throughout the city – only a few people, who may be unaware of the strike, were seen purchasing fruit from vendors.
— Farid Razzaqi (@FaridRazaqi) June 2, 2017
The boycott launched by social activist Farid Razzaqi has however met with mixed reactions from the public. Some ardently support it.
According to Dunya News, a local TV channel, “Successful #fruitboycott campaign reduces sale by 50pc on day one.” BBC Urdu reported similar trend.
BE2C2 reports the sudden price drop in the metropolis may be a temporary relief, if past trend is an indicator. Purchasing power of affluent Karachiites can absorb the price “shock and awe,” said Anjum who lives in Dastgir Colony – a view held by many BE2C2 rep spoke with in the metropolis of 20 million.