SHABQADAR/ ABBOTTABAD/ PESHAWAR: A complete shutter-down protest was observed in markets across the province on Saturday, with representative bodies of traders in the provincial capital warning of extending protest if government does not withdraws proposed tax structure.
All the commercial markets were shut, while public transport also remained off the roads causing hardships for people. Moreover, the bread-makers body, Naanbai Association, declared a strike closing down tandoors and earthen ovens demanding an increase in naan prices and to show solidarity with the traders.
In many areas even the grocery stores, milk shops and vegetable vendors had closed down businesses for a day.
Markazi Tanzeem-e-Tajran gave the strike call which was supported by traders’ bodies across the province while representative associations of transporters, hotels and restaurants, nanbai also joined the protest.
Business centers remained closed in Hazara, Mardan, Kohat, Malakand, D I Khan and Peshawar division, while isolated rallies were also held in various sections of the province.
Political leaders including ANP Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, former provincial health minister Zahir Shah, PML-N leader Haji Afzal and JUI-F Mullana Amanullah Haqqani and office bearers of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed solidarity with the traders.
Moreover, a complete shutter down strike was observed today in lower Mohmand Ekka Ghund, Tehsil Shabqadar Tangi and Charsadda. All business centers remain closed from early mornings till the evening. The business men staged protest rallies against a hike in prices and imposition of GST which will indirectly affect the small traders, the protestor claimed.
People were left searching for groceries and daily use items due to the complete shutter down strike. Even naan shops and eateries were closed and travellers failed to get food from the market.
Traders’ partial strike costs economy up to Rs25b
Leaders of traders in Shabqadar, Haji Syed Raheem Shah, Noor Ahmad, Shakir Khan, and Haji Arabistan Ekka Ghund and others have said that the present government has failed to deliver to poor masses, businesses and present budget has brought inflation which badly affected the poor man’s purchasing power and have affected the businesses in the country.
Abbottabad, Havelian closed
There was complete shutter down in Abbottabad and Havelian on the call of All Pakistan Traders Federation on Saturday except few small shops in the surrounding areas of Abbottabad.
However it was complete strike in the city where all vegetable vendors, meat and mutton sellers, restaurants, nanbais, milk sellers, pharmacies and even pushcart vendors were closed for business.
A peaceful protest meeting was held at Abbottabad addressed by the traders president Naeem Awan while at Havelian, Khursheed Azam, president all traders association Havelian led a protest rally which after passing through the main bazaar ended with a protest meeting addressed by the different speakers who all had termed the imposition of new taxes as Economic Murder” of the poor peoples who are running pillar to post to earn bread and butter for their kith and kin.
Misguided by opposition
K -P Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai has blamed the traders associations for having been lured by the opposition and termed the shutter down protest an agitation without any reason.
“We formed a committee on the directions of the chief minister which observed that most of the issues pertaining to the traders are federal related, so we have coordinated with the federation and soon we will find a way-out for their issues,” the provincial information minister stated.
He clarified that the govt was open for talks.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2019.
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