Traders announce nationwide shutter-down strike from July 13

Traders have shut down markets and shops in several cities to protest against rise in sales tax


KARACHI: Traders are protesting against the government in several cities of the country for a hike in sales tax in the federal budget, while the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) has announced a nationwide shutter-down strike from July 13.

A strike was underway in Gujranwala by the Anjuman-e-Tajran Cloth Board, while the association's president has announced that they would keep all shops and markets closed on Tuesday as well. Markets and shops would remain closed in Saeed Nagri Bazaar, Urdu Bazaar, Thakur Singh Bazaar, and Sarafa Bazaar for two days. The association's president has threatened that the strike may continue indefinitely if the additional taxes are not withdrawn.

A similar strike against rise in taxes was ongoing in Faisalabad as well, with markets including Ghalla Mandi and Chowk Ghanta Ghar completely closed.

Traders and businessmen have called a strike against imposition of 17 percent sales tax in the tribal districts as well, with as many as 35 steel mills reportedly shut down in the tribal regions. The president of the FATA Steel Mills Association has threatened to protest outside the provincial assembly if the tax is not withdrawn.

The marble industry was also affected in Mardan, with factory owners and labourers staging a protest rally from the industrial estate to the Comissioner's office against the government for the rise in sales tax. Protesters said that the government was not willing to budge despite the fact that marble factories in the province had been closed for the past nine days.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) has announced a shutter-down strike across the country from July 13. The president of the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran Ittehad said that the strike would be called against "the anti-trader policies announced by the government in the budget".