KARACHI: An organization of small traders and cottage industries say that the value added tax is a part of the IMF’s ‘anti-people agenda’. They have announced they will be observing a countrywide strike against it on April 14.
It has been announced that the small traders of the whole country would observe a complete shutter-down strike and if the government failed to take heed, the scope of protest would be further widened.
The All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders and Cottage Industries (APOSTCI) announced this strike and are working hard to muster the support of political parties to keep the government bid from imposing this new tax regime.
Pakistan Worker Party and Jamaat-e-Islami have already assured small traders of their full support.
A delegation of small traders led by their central coordinator Mehboob Azam and Mehmood Hamid called on Jamaate- Islami (JI) Karachi amir Muhammad Hussain Mahenti at Idara Noor-e-Haq on Sunday. The Workers Party Pakistan (WPP) has also announced their support for the struggle of small traders against the VAT.
“A military dictator had also tried to enact such black laws, but small traders forced the dictator to back off through their 19-day strike,” said Mehboob Azam and Mehmood Hamid, they added that the government should not to push small traders back up against the wall.
The small traders have been assured by Mahenti that his party will support them. Mahenti said that the VAT was yet another injustice to the people of Pakistan, adding that it would cause price hikes, corruption and bribery to rise to new highs in Pakistan.
“The rulers claim they can generate Rs8000b from the VAT, while $50,000b looted from Pakistan are in foreign banks,” said Mehanti, alluding to the ongoing controversy surrounding President Asif Ali Zardari’s NAB cases and the money allegedly stashed away in Swiss banks by the President.
There would be no need of getting IMF loans, or new tax systems like VAT if Pakistan’s plundered wealth could be brought back, Mehanti said, demanding that the government withdraw it decision to implement the VAT.
WPP Central General Secretary Akhtar Hussain, Vice President Yousuf Masti Khan and Sindh Chapter President Usman Baloch called on APOSTCI Central Coordinator Mehboob Azam and Mehmood Hamid at their office Sunday and announced their support for the strike against the VAT on April 14.