Another protest march


TRADERS have announced marching towards Islamabad on October 9 after failure of their negotiations with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) over the fixed tax regime, sales tax registration and condition of CNIC for sales of over fifty thousand rupees. The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) has claimed that businessmen are worried as trade activities have come to a standstill. It also believed that legal imports are being halted, while the same goods are visible in Pakistani markets which are brought through smuggling.
Traders’ march coupled with plan of JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman to lockdown the federal capital is reflective of the growing economic and political instability and that too at a time when the country needed to demonstrate complete unity and solidarity to face the grave challenges on the external front. If both these plans materialize, there are apprehensions that the already shattered economy would receive unbearable shock and the resultant uncertainty could bring more miseries to the masses. We have been emphasizing in these columns that every patriotic Pakistani should extend the fullest possible cooperation to the Government and its economic team in their efforts to help the country stand on its own feet. Attempts aimed at documentation of the economy and generation of more revenues are crucial for economic survival and sovereignty of the country. How the Government is going to meet its expenditure and finance developmental activities if citizens are not willing to pay their due taxes. Traders have long remained out of tax net while some other segments of the society especially fixed income groups have been paying their due taxes honestly. If other segments of the society pay taxes on consumption and income then there is no justification for traders to demand exemption. It is also worrisome that there seems to be no one bothered to undertake crisis management. The society is highly polarized because of political reasons and economic uncertainty and it is responsibility of the government leadership to launch initiatives to mend fences on these fronts. The task becomes difficult in view of the fact that almost entire opposition is behind bars but the Government will have to analyse the situation deeply before it is too late.

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