Traders observe nationwide strike against taxes

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Staff Report

Islamabad

Traders across the country observed a countrywide complete shutter down strike on Saturday in protest against the taxes imposed by the federal government in budget 2019-20.

The call for the shutter-down strike was given by various traders’ bodies around the country, who want the government to revoke documentation requirements introduced to better assess their tax liability and roll back taxes.

In Islamabad, business activities remained fully or partially suspended in areas including Aapbara, G-10, F-11 Markaz, Farooqia Market, Melody Market, Jinnah Super and Sitara Market.

Traders in Rawalpindi have also supported the strike as have businessmen in Lahore and other major cities of Punjab.

In Lahore, a shutter-down strike was being observed in areas including Hall Road, Mall Road, Liberty Market, Bedian Road, Ferozepur Road, Sarafa Bazaar and Jail Road.

However, a section of traders have opted out of the protest and their businesses remained operational in areas including Anarkali, Badami Bagh, Montgomery Road and McLeod Road.

Similarly, the Pakistan Flour Mills Association called for the strike to be postponed till July 17.

Among other cities of Punjab, businesses closed down in Gujarat, Faisalabad, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Chakwal, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Harappa, Chichawatni, Mian Chunnu, Vehari, Shorkot and Rajanpur.

However, traders in Mianwali, Nurpur Thal, Tonsa Shareef and Khanqah Dogran conducted business as usual.

In Karachi, the strike call was supported by the All Karachi Traders Union, Karachi Electronic Dealers Association, All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, Anjuman-e-Tajiran, Tariq Road-Bahadurabad Traders Alliance and entities representing over 450 markets.

On the other hand, the Karachi Tajir Action Committee (KTAC) has expressed displeasure over the strike call, saying that the government had accepted 10 out of their 11 demands.

Other than Peshawar, business centres remained closed across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in cities including Shangla, Kohistan, Battagram, Torghar, Swabi, Mardan, Nowshera, Swat, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber, Bannu and Lower Dir.

Traders in Balochistan, including Quetta, also supported the strike call and activities remained affected in important business centres including Mini Market, Nawa Kali, Saryab Road, Joint Road and Bacha Khan Chowk.

Business activities were also suspended in Hub, Chaman, Gwadar, Sibbi, Kalat, Kachlak, Ziarat and Qila Abdullah.

All Pakistan Traders Association president Ajmal Baloch said that Federal Board of Revenue and government only hold talks with chambers and avoids smaller traders.

He said 4.1 million registered traders have been ignored by government. He said, “Today’s shutter-down is not only being observed by traders, in fact, it also channels the voice of consumers.”