Markets across the country have been shut down as traders protest against the government’s decision to charge them higher sales tax.
Traders associations called for two days of shutter down protests across Pakistan and on Wednesday, the protest entered its second day.
They have been protesting against sales tax registration, a new condition requiring them to provide CNICs on transactions over Rs50,000, withholding tax on income and revised sales tax on used mobile phones. Traders met the government in Islamabad for talks which failed after the Federal Board of Revenue refused to end or defer the condition for traders to provide CNICs on transactions up to Rs50,000.
The protesting traders had asked the FBR to either end the condition or defer it for six months. Khawaja Shafique, a representative of the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, confirmed that the FBR had rejected their demands.
Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar as well as other cities saw their major markets shut for the second day on Wednesday. In Sialkot, traders put banners up in support of the protest but didn’t close their stores. Differences developed between traders in Abbottabad over closing their stores.
In cities like Karachi and Lahore, big markets were closed but markets in posh areas remained open. The traders have warned that if the government does not accept their demands, the protest will run on to Thursday.