ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Traders across the country are staging a two-day strike against the government’s tax reforms including condition to provide computerised national identity cards.
Many shops and markets in different cities remained closed on Tuesday. The Markazi Anjuman-i-Tajiran had announced a shutter down strike throughout the country on October 29 and October 30.
The traders have been protesting the condition to provide computerised national identity cards on transactions up to Rs50,000, withholding tax on income, revised sales tax on used mobile phones. The Pakistan Chamber of Commerce has approved of the strike.
Markazi Tanzeem-e-Tajiran Pakistan President Mohammad Kashif Chaudhry also confirmed their participation in the strike at a separate press conference.
All major businesses were shut down throughout the country. Lahore’s wholesale markets in Shah Alam and Akbari Mandi, electronic and mobile markets on Mall Road and Hafiz Centre, along with Anarkali Bazaar and Urdu Bazaar remained close.
Traders of Quetta, too, closed down their shops in support of the strike. All small and big businesses were shut down throughout out the city.
The traders demanded that a tax of 0.25% should be charged on their profits. They also said that a system of charging fixed tax should be brought for supermarts and traders should not be made the withholding agent.
The traders association in Balochistan warned that if their demands were not met, then they will be forced to take more serious measures.
Earlier on Monday, all Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran secretary general Naeem Mir said that they will not be lured by FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi. “We will not hold talks with the government unless the FBR chairman ensures us in writing,” he said.
He said that they cannot be intimidated by arrests. “Traders do not want to observe the strike, but we are being forced to observe it,” he said. Anjuman-e-Tajran Mall Road president Sohail Mahmood said that frequent protests on The Mall Road have destroyed their business. “Fazalur Rehman is being stopped due to Section 144, but the protests on the Mall Road are not stopped despite imposition of Section 144,” he said.
He said that the government should resolve the problems of traders instead of making fun of them. Addressing a joint press conference in Karachi, the Electronics Dealers Association president said that city’s 600 markets would observe a complete shutdown on October 29 and 30.
Small traders said that the strike
was also observed in July, but the government did not pay attention to them. “We might observe a strike for an indefinite period if the government did not take action on our strikes,” he said.