Traders to go on countrywide strike tomorrow


–APAT official says traders will not negotiate with govt until ‘unfairer taxes are withdrawn’

LAHORE: The traders’ community will observe the countrywide shutter down strike on Saturday from Karachi to Khyber and Kashmir to Gwadar in protest against unfair taxes imposed by the federal government in the federal budget for the current financial year.

This was announced by All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) Central General Secretary Naeem Mir while addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Friday.

Leaders of different markets — Amjad Ch, Waqar Ahmed Mian, Haji Hanif, Malik Amanat, Sohail Mehmood Butt Imran Bashir, Sheikh Irfan Iqbal, Mian Tahir Subhani, Malik Farooq Hafiz, Agha Zulfiqar, Syed Azmat Shah and Malik Kaleem– were present at the meeting.

He said that the traders would not negotiate with the government until the withdrawal of the “unfair taxes”. He lamented that the government was trying to divide the business community instead of resolving their issues.

He claimed that Qaumi Tajir Ittehad, Lahore Businessmen Front of LCCI, All Pakistan Truck Trawler Owners Association, Jewelers Association, Auto Dealers Association and all other trade bodies of the city are also going to join this countrywide shutter down strike.

He said the decision of shutter down is not in the hand of APAT rather it will be decided now by over 3 million traders across the country from Karachi to Peshawar. It would be the country’s biggest shutter down strike, he added.

The accountability of the traders to resolve internal affairs of the business community will be ensured by the traders themselves to continue the unity among them, he added. We will ensure complete shutter down on Saturday, he said.

He said that imposition of unjustified 17 per cent sales tax, turn over tax and CNIC-based invoicing system had made it impossible for the community to run the businesses.

He warned the government of strike for an indefinite period if the said taxes and conditions were not withdrawn by July 13.

He said that FBR [Federal Board of Revenue] was not ready to listen to the traders due to which trading community was worried while people were also facing huge inflation.

He demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan in consultation with traders should announce forthwith amendments in the budget, otherwise traders would go for complete shutter down for an extended period.

Lahore Businessmen Front chairman Amjad Ch, on this occasion, said that businessmen reject this budget made by bureaucracy on the instructions of International Monetary Fund.

Other traders were of the view that without bringing any reforms in FBR, the government has handed over budget matters to the IMF.

They said that an increase in dollar price has brought a new wave of inflation in the country, while the imposition of new taxes in the budget has also created concerns in the business community.

They appealed to traders to observe shutter down on Saturday not only for the “protection of their business interests but also to save the national economy”.

They said that the FBR chairman had been advising people on how to avoid tax payment and now he wanted to bring people into tax net within days, which is not possible.