Our Staff Reporter

SIALKOT - The traders bodies including Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry have unanimously decided to stop paying federal government taxes as mark of protest against power outage for 22 hours in the export-oriented city and nucleus of cottage industries. It was decided in a emergent meeting of all trade bodies held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) which was presided by SCCI President Naeem Anwar Qureshi on Tuesday afternoon.

The payment of federal government taxes would be stopped for three days from June 25 to June 27 aimed at registering protest against worst loadshedding. Some exporters informed the meeting that they were compelled use diesel worth Rs1.5 million to 2 million on monthly basis for the completion of foreign orders which is heavy amount and extra financial burden on the exporters. Due to worst electricity loadshedding, the employers and employees were confronting serious financial constrains while thousands daily wagers had become jobless in this export city,” they said.

They said that it was a planned conspiracy against the industrial sector of Punjab as a result of which industrial sector facing loss of billions and unfortunately the concerned authorities were reluctant to resolve this tedious issue. The exporters further added that government had totally failed in taking any practical step for generating electricity despite the knowing the gravity of this burning issue.

Due to the failure of the government the industrial sector of Punjab was facing serious setback and the authorities concerned are treating Punjab step-motherly which is totally unjust,” they alleged. SCCI President Naeem Anwar while addressing the meeting disclosed that a meeting of Chambers would be held on July 7 to review the electricity loadshedding and formulate a future strategy in this regards.

Speaking on the occasion, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sialkot Zahid Saleem Gondal said that protest was the right of the people but it should be peaceful and damage free. It was our national and moral duty that we should protect the national property and check the activities miscreants during the protest,” Zahid Gondal said. District Bar Association (DBA) President Shahid Mir and District Police Officer (DPO) Afzal Ahmad Kausar also spoke on the occasion.