MINGORA/ PESHAWAR: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers Of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) voiced its opposition to the proposed extension of the Customs Act, 1969 to Malakand Division and Kohistan.
Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, FPCCI Vice President Riaz Khattak and other traders from Malakand Division discussed the government’s notification to extend the legislation to their region. They urged the federal government to stop the extension or else businessmen will go into protest.
“The business community strongly opposes the customs act,” Khattak said. “It will negatively impact the economy.”
They added the region’s economy has been hampered by instability and natural disasters. “The customs act will further aggravate the situation,” said Shahidur Rahman, a trader from Malakand. “The government had an agreement with the people of Malakand that no taxes will be collected from them.”
Up in arms
Shutter-down strikes were observed in Dir, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Chitral and Batkhela over the decision to extend the customs act in Malakand Division.
A protest was observed in Mingora and was called by Swat Traders Federation.
A large number of shops and markets were closed. Commercial activities screeched to a halt as countless traders participated in the demonstrations.
Protesters wore black bands on their arms, hoisted black flags, held placards and shouted slogans against the federal and provincial governments. What began as a small protest on Nishat Chowk, Mingora eventually turned into a rally attended by many businessmen and traders.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2016.
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