ISLAMABAD -  Traders of the federal capital have said that they were feeling insecure due to absence of a balanced rent control act in Islamabad and they threatened to go on strike if rent control act was not passed shortly.

This was stated by Senior Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Muhammad Naveed, President Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajiran Pakistan Ajmal Baloch, Kashif Chaudhry of Tajir Ittehad, Secretary Traders Action Committee Islamabad Khalid Chaudhry, Senior Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) Imran Bukhari, President Jamiat ul Qureshi Khursheed Qureshi and Ch. Nadeem of PTI Traders Wing while addressing a joint press conference at Islamabad Press Club on Saturday.

The trader leaders said that when a trader starts business, owner enters into 2 years rent agreement with him. However, when the business runs successfully, the owner demands manifold increase in rent due to which the trader was blackmailed and he had to pay exorbitant rent, which was unjustified.

They said MNA Mian Abdul Manan and MNA from Islamabad Asad Umar had presented a private bill of rent control act in the National Assembly, which was approved by the concerned Standing Committee and the ICT Administration, but it has not been passed into a law as yet.

They appealed to the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Federal Law Minister Barister Zafarullah Khan to arrange urgent passage of amended rent control bill from the Parliament. They warned that if the bill was not passed into rent law, the traders of Islamabad would have no option except for launching a strong protest. For this purpose, protest would be started in various markets and banners would be displayed while on Dec 19, 2017, all markets of Islamabad would observe partial shutter down strike from 2pm to 4pm and traders of every market would stage sit in at their near Chowks. They said if still the demand was not met, traders would announce next course of action on December 21, 2017 and traders could announce complete shutterdown and Dharna in front of Parliament House.

They appealed to the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal that till the passage of new rent law for Islamabad, orders should be issued to stop the evictions of all traders including the 48 traders against whom eviction orders have been issued.

They warned that in case of forced evictions, traders would strongly resist such moves and it could lead to law and order problems in the federal capital. The office bearers and representatives of all local markets were present on the occasion and they fully endorsed the decisions announced in the press conference.