Islamabad - Local traders on Wednesday announced observing complete shutter down strike from January 23 if the Parliament did not pass a suitable rent control law for the federal capital.

A sub-committee of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) took the decision in a meeting held here.

They discussed the issue of promulgation of a new rent control law for Islamabad as due to its absence, they said, the traders were facing many problems.

The meeting was attended by representatives of various local markets.

Addressing the meeting, ICCI President Sheikh Amir Waheed said that the traders had announced to observe complete shutter down strike from 23rd January if the amended bill of new rent control act for Islamabad was not passed by the Parliament.

 He urged the government to arrange passage of the said bill into law from the Parliament before the deadline of the traders to resolve this longstanding issue once for all. He assured that the ICCI would fully support all efforts aimed at protecting the genuine rights of the traders.

He said that long time ago, the amended bill of rent control law was presented in National Assembly while the local administration had also returned the same to the NA after vetting it, but, he said, the bill has not been passed into law yet. He urged the government to pay attention to this important issue of traders and get the bill passed from the Parliament to save Islamabad from further troubles.

Muhammad Naveed, senior vice president and Nisar Mirza, vice president of the ICCI, said that the traders had been demanding new rent law in Islamabad since long, but the government was paying no attention to their demand which demonstrated its indifference towards resolving key issues of the traders.

They said that due to absence of new rent law, forced evictions of traders from shops were on the rise in Islamabad due to which the community was feeling insecure.

They said that the inattention of the government towards this serious issue had forced the traders to go for shutter down strike.

The ICCI office-bearers further said that government had still time to early enact new rent law for the capital city and warned that if no steps were taken in the direction, the traders could observe shutter down strike for indefinite period.

Khalid Chaudhry, chairman of ICCI traders’ welfare sub-committee, said that a consensus bill of a balanced rent control act was prepared in consultation with all stakeholders that was presented by MNAs Asam Umar and Mian Abdul Manan in the National Assembly. But the said bill has not been passed into law yet which showed that government was not interested in resolving issues of traders.

He appealed to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to take notice of this serious problem of the traders and issue instructions to the relevant authorities for its early solution.