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LAHORE: All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) Central Secretary General Naeem Mir has refused to hold talks with PTI government over taxation issues announcing that traders from across the country would "give a befitting response to the government because of continuous U-turns of Prime Minister Imran Khan".

Addressing at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club along with some other business leaders on Friday, Mir asked for how long "selectors" would bear the weight of this incompetent government despite the fact that the sitting cabinet could not allegedly meet the expectations of the selectors.

"It is our humble request to send this incompetent government packing," he demanded.

"We (traders) will not be sitting idle until we get rid of this selected government," he declared, adding that traders found the PTI government intellectually dishonest at every forum, especially with regards to resolving their taxation-related issues.

The traders also shouted slogans "Go Niazi Go" and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that traders want a government that would be trader-friendly and would be able to understand the miseries of the poor.

He said the PTI government has given nothing to the traders except hopelessness, adding that it neither accepted their demand of revoking CNIC-based invoicing condition nor it agreed upon its written agreement regarding tax reforms which PM Imran Khan had also acknowledged.

"The PTI government always took U-turns and backtracked from its promises. This is why we have decided to give it a tough time and fight back instead of holding talks," he said, adding that the government has lost its credibility in the eyes of traders who play a significant role in the electoral process.

"Though you are elected, still you are selected," the APAT senior leader said while referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He claimed that the government had received millions of dollars foreign aid to support the people hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic but the money is yet to be transparently distributed among the affected people, especially traders.

Talking about the upcoming power show of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) at Minar-e-Pakistan, Mir said the narrative of the PDM is the same the traders were carrying or speaking for the last 2.5 years. Traders would join the PDM power show with full enthusiasm because removing any "incompetent" government is a national cause which they will fulfill, he added.

"The rate of corruption has increased three times more as compared to the previous regime. Instead of taking coercive actions against the actual beneficiaries of the price hike who are sitting besides the prime minister, the government is blaming small traders for the situation and lodging FIRs against them and putting them behind bars," he lamented.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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