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October 18, 2019

Traders’ factions unite for strike on 29th-30th

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October 18, 2019

LAHORE: All factions of trader organisations have got united and announced a two-day shutter-down strike on Oct 29-30 following the “disappointing attitude of the government officials including those from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to address their demands about imposition of new taxes and laws through the Finance Act 2019-20”.

Traders representatives have announced there will be no more talks with the government unless it withdraws the condition of collecting copy of consumer’s computerised national identity card (CNIC) if shopping is worth Rs50,000 and above and its submission to the FBR for record.

The strike call was given by All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) and Pakistan Traders Alliance (PTA) at two separate press conferences here on Thursday. The two bodies showed their full power and unity by calling a large number of trader leaders from over 50 markets to announce the shutter-down strike for October 29-30 (Tuesday, Wednesday).

Previously, a small faction of traders believed that the government and FBR should be given some time to address their grievances. However, despite two-month long talks with different FBR and other government officials as well as the elected representatives and ministers, the issues remained unresolved. APAT Naeem Mir Group Secretary General Malik Kaleem, along with President Waqar Mian, and representatives Mian Khalil, Chaudhry Amjad, Malik Khalid, Imran Bashir, said all rounds of talks with the officials remained inconclusive as the FBR was not in a mood to address their issues. The APAT had also held a “long march” on Oct 9 on Islamabad from across Pakistan, but the government did not pay any heed to their demands.

Malik Kaleem said APAT Central Secretary General Naeem Mir was in Karachi these days to make arrangements for the strike in the financial capital of Pakistan. He said the strike call could only be taken back if the government accepted their demands. He said traders had no political agenda, and they were only pressing for their just demands.

Meanwhile, PTA President Muhammad Ali Mian, along with Ashraf Bhatti, Khalid Pervaiz, Mujhaid Maqsood Butt, Mehboob Ali Sirki, Abdul Razzaq Babar, Haji Haneef, Asim Magoon, Khwaja Ijaz and others, said traders had presented a charter of demands to the FBR, but it was ignored. He said the condition of collecting the CNIC copy from customers was suspended for only two months. He alleged that the government was non-serious about economic revival and welfare of the general public. He also made it clear that there was no political agenda behind their strike call and they wanted only welfare of traders and revival of the economic activities. He said he was ready for talks with serious government officials to resolve the issue.

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