LAHORE - The traders in provincial capital have decided to observe shutter down strike against unwarranted taxation in federal budget, causing unrest among the whole business community as well as the general public.

The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran president Khalid Perviaz, while talking to The Nation, confirmed that city’s all markets, bazaars, trade centres and business houses will remain shut on Tuesday (today) to lodge protest against the ‘unjust’ taxation by the government. “All major markets boards have unanimously decided to close their shops and no dealing will be made with any bank,” Khalid Pervaiz added.

Apat central general secretary Naeem Mir said that the traders of Faisalabad have also decided to go on shutter down strike in Faisalabad on July 7 (Tuesday). He said that all trade bodies including APAT and Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have unanimously decided to shut the markets, bazaars and all businesses in the city on Tuesday against the uncalled for taxation particularly the unjust tax on banking transaction. Rest of districts will make the plan of shut down after Faisalabad strike, he added.

He said that the government must drop the decision and in case the tax is not withdrawn, there will be a complete shutter-down strike in the Punjab on Tuesday, July 7, he warned. He, critising Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, said that withholding tax deduction is a serious blow to entire business activities and depositors are facing difficulties.

He said that from July 1 the tax has been implemented and under this every transaction of Rs 100,000, banks deduct Rs600. Because of this, the traders are making payments in hard cash.

He said that if tax on all bank transactions is imposed forcefully, it would not only hamper the trade and economic activities but would also tarnish the image of the government. He said that imposition of this tax would force business community to conduct its monetary transactions in cash that would promote the undocumented economy.

APAT general secretary Naeem Mir demanded the federal government to refrain from imposing this withholding tax and work towards providing relief to the industry and ultimately to the common man. Statistics show that only 791,000 individuals filed their tax returns in FY14, out of a population of 180 million people in Pakistan. This shows a really dismal picture, however it does not mean that the government can flog the poor man to pay for the rich man’s offenses.

The government on one hand claims to be aware of the poor man’s plight and pledges to make every effort to control inflation, but on the other hand it is imposing such harsh new levies. Several trade associations and the business community are contemplating a protest strike on 7th July, 2015, against such unfair taxation.