Syed Murad Ali Shah (right) during his visit to the vendor. Image Credit: Supplied

Karachi: A roadside juice vendor in Karachi had surprise customers on a warm Sunday afternoon: Chief minister of Sindh province and four of the prominent members of the provincial cabinet.

It all happened when Syed Murad Ali Shah, along with his cabinet members were on a visit to Karachi, when he spotted a soft drink vendor on a footpath on the busy Tariq Road area. A display board at the vendor’s makeshit stall caught Ali Shah’s attention. He decided to stop to meet the impoverished seller. The display board had an appeal to top provincial and city authorities including the chief minister. It described the vendor as a poor and blind person who is using a small portion of the footpath space to sell cold drinks to earn a living. It appealed to the police and city administration not to harass him and impede his efforts to run his a makeshift business.

Such roadside vendors in Karachi are considered encroachers by city administration and the police cracks down on them. The chief minister bought soft drinks for himself and the members of his delegation.

After paying for the soft drinks, Ali Shah disclosed his identity to the vendor and asked him as to who in particular was harassing him. The retailer informed Ali Shah that he was being troubled by the area police and local district administration officials.

Ali Shah immediately telephoned Additional Deputy Commissioner-1 of District East of Karachi, Senior Superintendent of Police in District East and Administrator of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and directed them that the aged vendor shouldn’t be bothered again.

He also asked the senior officials to always buy cold drinks from the aged vendor whenever they visited the area.