A complete shutter-down strike was observed by traders on Tuesday in Faisalabad against the imposition of a 0.6 per cent withholding tax on bank transactions.
Most traders’ associations abstained from business activity and all major bazaars across the city including Jhang Bazaar, Bhowana Bazaar, Aminpur Bazaar, Chiniot Bazaar, Kutchery Bazaar, Rail Bazaar, Karkhana Bazaar and Montgomery Bazaar presented a deserted look.
Traders also staged a sit-in at Clock Tower Chowk in this regard where several leaders of traders’ associations rapped the government for imposing the tax. They said the government had been tyrannizing traders by imposing irrational taxes that would only create frustration.
The speakers said the imposition of the tax amounted to the “financial massacre” of the community as it would stifle business activity. They said the imposition of the tax would increase the incidence of robberies and illegal transfer of funds.
The speakers called on the government to immediately withdraw the “jagga tax.” They said traders would be compelled to take direct action to secure their interests if the tax was not withdrawn.
They boasted that traders had demonstrated their muscle power by observing the complete shutter-down strike.
The speakers said the vast majority of traders and businesspeople had joined hands to demonstrate their power. They said only a few stooges of the government had distanced themselves from the strike.
The speakers said traders would be compelled to launch a nationwide protest campaign against the tax. They said such a movement on their part would destabilise the national economy and cause unemployment to increase exponentially.
The speakers called on the government to take note of the situation and immediately withdraw the tax.
Protests in Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan
Traders’ associations in Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan rejected the government’s decision to impose a 0.6 per cent withholding tax on bank transactions. Demonstrations were held on the Mumtazabad Road and Haram Gate Chowk in Multan on this account.
In Dera Ghazi Khan, traders from the grain market came together at a demonstration in the wake of a call by Anjuman-i-Arthian. The protesters threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement if the government did not review its decision.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2015.
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