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shutter down strike

Traders all over Pakistan observe shutter-down strike against inflation/taxes!

KARACHI: Traders all over Pakistan are observing shutter-down strike today against hike in sales tax, inflation, augmentation of prices of commodities, utilities and condition of furnishing NIC for transactions. 

A number of traders’ organisations had called for the strike resisting government’s attempt to document commercial activities in order to expand tax net. 

In the Port City, 100 markets answered to the call including those in Clifton, Defense, Saddar  (where Plaza auto-parts market and Akbar Road known for motorcycle shops are also situated), Tariq Road,  Sarrafa Bazar etc. 

Similarly in Lahore too traders had conveyed a message to the PTI government by keeping all the major business centers closed including Mall Road, Anarkali, Shah Alam Market, Bernadette Road, Rehman Galliyan, Railway Road, Akbar Mandi etc.

Like Karachi and Lahore a complete shutter-down was also observed in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Main trading venues of different cities including Ghalla Mandi in Multan are not doing any business today.

In KPK too traders of Shangla, Kohistan, Battagram and Torghar observed complete shutter-down strike against taxes. Malakand and Hazara division’s traders too kept their shutters down. In Balochistan too the traders responded to the strike call by keeping their businesses closed particularly in Quetta. 

It is difficult to gauge as to how many traders’ organisations, out of hundreds  all over Pakistan, had called for the strike. Nevertheless, key chambers of commerce and industry all over Pakistan have not supported the call. 

Many believe today’s strike is an attempt to force government take its (IMF dictated) decisions back regarding augmentation of taxes, broadening of tax net and documentation of deals.  Cynics go haywire wondering how long the poor and lower middle class populace will survive when the so called difficult decisions are making the survival impossible. For instance due to taxes and free fall of rupee their money had decreased by 50 per cent while they have to pay more for food, essential commodities and transport. 

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.