HAFIZABAD/SARGODHA/TOBA TEK SINGH/MANDI BAHAUDDIN/SAHIWAL

Complete shutter-down strike was observed here on Wednesday to protest against the imposition of withholding tax on bank transactions, and the protesters threatened long march on Islamabad if the decision is not withdrawn.

In Hafizabad, Pindi Bhattian, Sukheke Mandi, Jalalpur Bhattian and Kaleke Mandi, even grain markets, fruit and vegetable markets, medical stores, clinics also observed complete strike causing multiple problems for the consumers particularly the patients.

The traders led by Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Amjad and Secretary General Humayun Shahzad gathered in Vanike Chowk and raised slogans against anti-traders policy of the government and called upon the government to withdraw the withholding tax.

In Sargodha, almost 300 traders’ organisations observed unanimously complete shutter-down strike against the withholding tax on bank transaction across the district on the appeal of Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran Sargodha. All the main bazaars markets and trading centres including University Road, Katachery Bazaar, Amin Bazaar, Liaquat Bazaar, Trust Plaza, computer and mobile phone market, Muslim Bazaar, Karkhana Bazaar and Faisal bazaar were kept closed.

Meanwhile, a large of traders took out a rally from Shaheen Chowk to Katachery Bazaar Chowk which ended after marching all the bazaars and main roads of the city. The rally was led by President Khawaja Ahmed Hanif, the secretary general and others. The participants of the rally chanted slogans and demanded of the government to return back the withholding tax decision.

In Toba Tek Singh, the shutter-down call was given by Anjuman Tajiran to protest against the withholding tax on banking transactions. Partial strike was also observed by the local transporters. Anjuman Tajiran Secretary General Mohsin Idrees announced that traders and shopkeepers will continue protest till the withdrawal of the tax. At Pirmahal, the traders took out a rally and at Gojra and Kamalia markets and bazars remained closed.

Likewise, the traders in Mandi Bahauddin also protested against the imposition of withholding tax. Shopping centres of big tycoons were seen closed whereas shops of small businessmen remained open. When a well dressed tycoon sitting in front of closed shop was asked as to why traders were reluctant to pay the tax, he said that traders would recover it from customers that would ultimately and indirectly result in burdening the poor.

The shopkeepers of Chichawatni observed complete strike against withholding tax as all the bazaars and markets remained closed. Activities remained closed in the vegetables, grain and fruit markets.

Speakers said that if the govt did not take the withholding tax back, the merchants will carry on protest till the acceptance of their their demands and threatened to take out long march towards Islamabad.

AHMADPUR EAST/MULTAN

Complete strike was observed in city Ahmedpur East on the call of Markazi Anuman-e-Tajran. All trading and shopping centres remained closed.

The traders of Multan observed partial strike on the call of All Pakistan Anjuman-i-Tajiran (APAT) Khalid Pervaiz Group against the imposition of withholding tax on banking transactions of over Rs50,000 for non-filers of income tax returns as some markets remained closed while many others were open here on Wednesday.

Major markets like Grain Market, Suraj Mian’s Bazars Gulgasht, Gardezi Market, Loha Market ,Medicine market, fruit and vegetable market, Timber market, Gur Mandi, Auto plaza, Sadar Bazar, Kalay Mandi remained partially closed. However shops of eatables, vegetables, tea stalls, hotels remained open. Pro-Muslim League traders also kept their shops open.

Traders also organised a rally at Chowk Bohar gate and burnt the tyres under the leadership of Kh Suleman Siddiqui. All Pakistan Markazi Anjuman Tajiran (Khalid Pervez Group) leaders Suleman Siddiquim, Qaumi Tajir Ittehad leaders M Akhtar Butt, Arif Fasih-ullah, Ch. M Hanif Idrees Buttr and Malik Nazir Awan said that traders would continue their protest if the withholding tax was not withdrawn.