Rawalpindi-The businessmen and traders on Tuesday observed a complete shutter down strike while responding to a country-wide strike call issued by Traders Associations against new taxation system by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The call for the shutter-down strike was given jointly by different traders associations across the country, who wanted to press the government to accept their charter of demand to simplify the tax procedure, withdraw the new taxes and roll back the taxation measures.

In Rawalpindi, all the main commercial hubs in Raja Bazaar, City Saddar Road, Narankari Bazaar, Gunjmandi, Murree Road, Liaquat Road, Narankari Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Bank Road, College Road, Urdu Bazaar, Sabzi Mandi, Mochi Bazaar, Jamia Masjid Road, Banni Chowk, Bara Market, China Market and Commercial Market downed the shutters throughout the day. Whereas small shops in the markets of residential areas were open.

Interestingly, the shops in and around Lal Haveli –political office of Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed- also remained closed as the shopkeepers expressed their solidarity with the traders against the government. Medical stores also participated in the strike. However, some market owners erected tents around their outlets to avoid stone pelting. Overall the strike remained peaceful. No incident of the force closure of the shops was reported.

Shahid Ghafoor Paracha, President Anjuman Tajran Rawalpindi, said that the trader community expressed full support with the association and it will continue on Wednesday.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan will play his role to solve the problems of the business community otherwise we will start a march to Parliament House and stage a sit-in on Constitutional Assembly,” he said.“We will see the response of the government in few days. If the government failed to accept our demands then the traders will announce its new action plan,” he added. He said that the complete strike in Rawalpindi proved that they were ready to struggle for their demands. “It is unreasonable condition of the FBR to present the Computerized National Identity Card for the purchase of commodity or product more than Rs50,000” he stated.

Rawalpindi Cantonment Traders Association Secretary General Zafar Qadri said that the traders demanded to simplify the procedure of the taxes as we did not refuse to pay taxes. He said that the small traders and common masses are already facing severe financial crises and the government has imposed heavy taxes.