Rawalpindi-The citizens on Tuesday experienced gigantic traffic jam on several roads in twin cities owing to a protest demonstration of business community against new taxes by the government.

Traffic police put their efforts to ease traffic flow yet the commuters and pedestrians faced hardships. According to details, a large number of businessmen, on the call of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, assembled and staged protest and sit-in on Murree Road at Faizabad to press the government for the approval of the nine-point demands. Local business community in the garrison city split in two groups. One was in favour of the protest and the other opened shops and ignored the protest call.  

More than 250 traders’ organisations from Rawalpindi city and cantonment participated in the sit-in. Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) urged the government to take stakeholders on board for resolving issues faced by the business community. The country’s economy is passing through difficult times due to free fall of Pak rupee, rising inflation and uncertainty due to inconclusive talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Nadeem Rauf of RCCI said that the Chamber has always played the role of a bridge between the business communities and the government for resolving their issues. The leading issues are point of sale system, penalties, income tax rates, sales tax registration, professional tax, property tax and high inflation which has manifold the cost of doing business, he added.   He suggested that FBR should focus on broadening the tax base and recommended that instead of setting targets for tax collection, the FBR should set targets to increase new taxpayers. It has been observed that instead of adding new filers, the FBR had increased burden on the existing taxpayers, he said. The policy should be adopted in consultation with all stakeholders, he further recommended.  

Meanwhile, a heavy contingent of police along with personnel of other law enforcement agencies was deployed on Murree Road and at Faizabad Flyover to disperse the protestors.

Likewise, the Punjab government has ordered six police officers and scores of other DSPs and SHOs to report to RPO Rawalpindi to maintain law and order situation in the city.