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ISLAMABAD: The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT), Tuesday, called off their protest in Islamabad, while enroute to Prime Minister Secretariat against taxation measures envisaged under the Tax Laws (Third) Amendment Ordinance, 2021.

Talking to Business Recorder, the APAT Chairman, Ajmal Baloch, said now the traders have decided to hold an all Pakistan traders’ convention on January 13 in Lahore to devise the future line of action.

He said that the traders were united and will never allow the government to implement the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-dictated economic agenda, which is aimed at ruining the national economy.

He said that they have conveyed to the government that traders would neither accept forced sale tax registration, nor they can afford point of sale, and would strongly resist against the power of police being given to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) through Presidential Ordinance.

This would open more doors of corruption in the FBR.

He said that the government was accepting every demand, adding that this was being done under the IMF demand.

He claimed that traders from across the country would reach Lahore to participate in the national traders’ convention, after which, the general body will decide to launch fresh protest, which will continue till the government was not accepting their legal demands.

He warned if the government did not accept their demands then they would consider going for a shutter down strike.

He stated that the first protest was made on September 29, 2021 outside the FBR Headquarters.

Later, traders staged the second sit-in at Faizabad on October 26 to sensitise the government about their demands and now they are going to stage a protest outside the PM Secretariat.

He said that traders’ unity has forced the government to with CNIC condition in 2019 and it will also pave the way for acceptance of other demands.

Traders are demanding an end to presidential ordinance that they have termed as a “black law”, end to sales tax registration, and POS integration, and promulgation of a new ordinance to end corruption within the tax machinery.

He said that the POS should be installed at chain and brand stores.

The traders will arrive in large numbers from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, various parts of Punjab, and from as far as the commercial hub of the country, Karachi, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir, he added.

The protest is against the harsh tax policies and complicated and double documentation, which would increase tax evasion and corruption in the country, Baloch added.

Additionally, with the promulgation of the Tax Laws (Third Amendments) Ordinance, 2021 for broadening of the tax base on September 17, the government has granted sweeping powers to the FBR for disconnection of mobile phones SIMs, electricity, and gas connection of non-filers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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