Withdraw or else: Traders protest 0.3% withholding tax

Shutterdown strikes observed throughout Sindh

Businesses all over the province observed a shutter-down strike in protest of the imposition of the 0.3 per cent withholding tax on bank transactions. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

SUKKUR/ HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: Traders across the province observed shutter-down strikes on Wednesday to protest the 0.3 per cent withholding tax being levied on bank transactions.

In Hyderabad, all markets in the city remained shut from morning till 3pm, on the call of the Anjuman-e-Tajran Pakistan, who are leading the country-wide protest. The Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and hundreds of smaller trade organisations backed the call.

Major markets in Karachi including Jodia Bazaar, Boulton Market, Liaquatabad, Haidri, Saddar Mobile Market, Electronics Market and Jamia Cloth Market remained closed.

The Karachi Tajir Ittehad chairperson, Atiq Mir, while speaking to The Express Tribune, termed the strike the 'most successful strike' of the city to date. "The best thing about today's strike is that there wasn't any split among the cartels," he said, adding that they were all united for their cause.

He warned that if the government did not take back the tax, they would hold another major strike.

In Sukkur, a complete shutter-down strike was observed, with traders staging rallies and demonstrations against the imposition of the tax. Hundreds of traders carrying placards and banners, led by the vice-president of the Anjuman Tajiran, Sindh chapter, Jawed Memon, took to the streets from Sarrafa Bazaar and shouted slogans against the government.

Memon strongly criticised the government for imposing the withholding tax on bank transactions. He said we are already paying Rs600 per Rs100,000 on bank transactions and the imposition of this tax is seen as a 'Jaga Tax'. He threatened to continue the protest until the government withdraws the tax and warned of the indefinite closure of markets if the government failed to do so.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2015.


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