FAISALABAD/MULTAN/GUJRANWALA: Traders in Faisalabad observed a shutter-down strike on Monday in the eight Clock Tower Bazaars, which are considered the business hub of the city, against the imposition of sales tax.
Anjuman-i-Tajran supreme council had given a two-day (July 8, 9) strike call against the levy.
However, a few shops remained opened in some bazaars, where police kept patrolling to avoid any damage to the public and private property at the hands of protesting traders.
The police also disrupted a protest camp set up by agitating traders at the Kharkhana Bazaar against the ST imposition. Instead of leaving the place, the protesting traders placed chairs on the road and kept sitting there after the police disallowed the protest camp.
The agitators displayed banners carrying slogans against the sales and other taxes imposed on the traders and other businesses in the recent budget.
Central body reaffirms resolve to observe countrywide strike from 13th
Talking to reporters, the protesters said police had been trying to convince them to remove the protest camp, but when they refused to budge their camp was disrupted on the pretext of “causing traffic problems”.
“We will not call off our protest until acceptance of our demands as the current budget has made it impossible for the businessmen to run their businesses smoothly. They said we had been requesting the government to provide us a level playing field so that we could compete with internationally. However, the government has done otherwise and now Chinese products are sweeping the local markets for being cheaper,” a representative of the traders said.
He deplored that the traders were not taken into confidence before taking decisions on the tax-related issues.
Meanwhile, the police held a ‘flag march’ in the the Clock Tower bazaars to show their preparedness to handle any untoward situation and to protect the citizens’ properties.
Meanwhile, Aslam Bhulli, the patron-in-chief of local chapter of the Anjuman claimed that after a meeting with Federal Board of Revenue (chairman) Mr Shabbar Zaidi, the traders had decided to call-off the strike on Tuesday (today).
MULTAN: Markazi Anjuman Tajiran Pakistan (MATP) on Monday announced that traders would observe a complete shutter-down strike on July 13, if the government failed to implement their 32-point charter of demands.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, MATP central president Khawaja Suleman Siddiqi, accompanied by other office-bearers, said they hoped that foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would play his role to resolve the issues the trading community was facing as he (Mr Qureshi) had promised.
“If our demands are not accepted after one week, we will have no option but to go on a complete strike for an indefinite period. Besides the protest demonstrations, sit-ins will be held and hunger strike camps will be established, while the government will be responsible for all this,” Mr Siddiqi warned.
The MATP leaders said the traders were playing their role for the restoration of economy against all odds, but the government imposed “non-implementable” taxes in the budget that traders rejected.
They said their protest would be peaceful and they would not allow the government to exploit the traders.
They claimed that meetings with the traders’ leaders from other cities, particularly Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujranwala, had already been held and they had unanimously announced to observe complete shutdown on July 13.
They said the traders in their convention held in Multan last week had presented their 32-point ‘charter of demands’ in which suggestions were given to the government regarding the taxes imposed in the budget and a deadline of July 7 was given for their acceptance. However, they deplored, the government did not responded to the traders suggestion.
They said the traders were ready to pay taxes, but government should at least give them three-years time for complete implementation of its measures in this regard.
GUJRANWALA: All Pakistan Marble Traders Association decided on Monday to go on strike on a country-wide strike from today (Tuesday).
The association announced that its representatives from all over the county would stage a protest demonstration on outside the Federal Board of Revenue (FRB) offices today (Tuesday).
The decision was taken at an emergent meeting of the association held here under the chairmanship of Mian Gulzar Ahmad. In their speeches on the occasion, the participants rapped 17 per cent tax on marble traders.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2019