Marble Industry On Indefinite Strike: Owners From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa And Rawalpindi Protest Against 17.5% GST
ISLAMABAD: Those associated with marble industry on Tuesday staged a protest against the tax measures (17.5 per cent GST) introduced in the budget by the government, as their factories in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Rawalpindi remained closed for ninth consecutive day.
The shutter-down strike called for an indefinite period had begun July 1. All the units in different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – including Mardan, Charsadda and Abbottabad – and 300 to 400 in Rawalpindi are part of this strike.
Meanwhile, thousands of workers have been left jobless after the closure of factories.
The protest was launched against the 17.5 per cent GST imposed by the PTI government. The owners are of the opinion that they are already paying Rs1.25 per unit fixed GST through the electricity bills besides paying other kinds of taxes. They are demanding withdrawal of the 17 percent GST and restoration of the old taxation system.
On Tuesday, the marble industry representatives and owners gathered in the federal capital, as they had planned to march towards D-Chowk. However, the district administration and police stopped them at Serena Chowk, where they staged their protest.
They vowed to continue the protest, as their talks with FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi remained unfruitful. The protestors said they would again gather in Islamabad on Saturday, if the government failed to meet their demands.
Talking to NayaDaur Media, the protestors described the move as a great injustice which won’t be accepted, adding that all marble units’ owners in the country were united on the issue.
They said they were exercising their right to protest guaranteed in a democracy and the strike won’t be called off.
The GT Road would be blocked if the demands are not met, they warned, adding that the owners from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Karachi were ready to take a joint action.
The author is a reporter based in Islamabad.