MULTAN    -   On a call given by four major trader bodies, the local business community announced on Monday to observe a complete shutter down strike on July 13, against documentation of retailers and imposition of new taxes.

The trader leaders belonging to different factions of traders’ organisations warned the government to withdraw new taxes, stop forced registration of retailers and take immediate action to bring down the prices of daily use items to get ready to face a country-wide agitation.

Talking to the media, trader leaders Khawaja Suleman Siddiqui, Syed Abdul Qayyum Agha of Balochistan, Central Chairman of Cantonment Board Tajiran Malik Nazir Ahmed Awan, Sheikh Akram Hakim,Syed Jafar Ali Shah, Khalid Mehmood Qureshi, Zeeshan Siddiqui, SajjadDogar ,Farhan Zaidi, Kawaja Mujib ur-rehman Sheikh Javed Akhtar , Malik Amer Awan Khawaja Suleman said that the shutter down strike would be observed across the country, saying that Karachi Traders Action Committee (KATC) had already presented its charter of demands and also opposed the requirement to obtain CNICs of the buyers.They will also observe the strike. They said the traders did not want to take to the streets but the government was not ready to hold negotiations with them and thus the shutter down strike was announced in a state of compulsion.

Suleman Siddiqui said that traders could not accept the government’s decision to collect additional tax from non filer buyers, besides showing CNIC numbers of purchasers. He said that the July 13 shutter down strike would be initial step wherein the business community would hold rallies, protest demonstrations to reject the budgetary measures for business activities as second step.

The shutter down strike, he said would be followed by a series of protest rallies, camps and demonstrations as they were not ready to accept the government economic policy about traders. Other traders’ representatives including  Khawaja Muhammad Shafiq,  Ajmal Baloch, Mian Muhanmmad Ali and traders leaders joined hands after shedding their difference. Traders also shared details about a traders’convention in Multan which was attended by Foreign Minister Makhdoon Shah Mehmood Qureshi and said that business community across the country had taken a unified decision to observe the shutter down strike.

They said that representatives of traders belonging to other districts of Punjab, Sindh,KPK and Balochistan also attended the Multan Convention and Lahore conference and vowed to make the strike a success. The traders have made 11 demands that they want the government to fulfill. These include the removal of the VAT, a reduction in taxes to 0.3%, no sales tax on up to Rs10 million sales and no income tax on people making up to Rs1.2 million a year.They also want the government to charge a fixed income tax from shopkeepers and stop its condition of customers’ CNICs required for transactions over Rs50,000.Last month, the All Pakistan Anjuman Traders rejected the budget and its head Ajmal Baloch said business had been affected because of the higher taxes.If the government doesn’t accept our demands, we will stage protests across the country, they warned.