Traders appear divided on Oct 9 sit-in call

MULTAN: Traders appeared divided on how to proceed further to get their issues resolved with one body adhering to strategy of negotiations but the other body aired Islamabad sit-in protest call for October 9 here on Monday.

General secretary All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran (APAT), Naeem Mir, told a news conference here Monday that thousands of traders would assemble in Islamabad to stage a sit-in protest in front of Parliament House on October 9.

He said that their struggle to get their issues resolved was purely apolitical, adding they had no relations with any political party and their protest should not be linked to Maulana Fazal ur Rahman.

He appealed to the government to hear their problems and resolve them before traders appear on roads.

However, addressing a separate press conference, Chairman Markazi Tanzeem Tajran Pakistan (MTTP), Khawaja Suleman Siddiqui, termed announcement by Naeem Mir a conspiracy against the traders’ community and an attempt to sabotage their demands.

Khawaja said that APAT’s general secretary Naeem Mir and other office bearers had signed the charter of demands along with other traders’ bodies’ representatives with an understanding that they would jointly hold negotiations with the government and would speak to media jointly.

He said that 80 per cent markets of the country were supporting MTTP. He said, they had offers of negotiations from the government but they were waiting for consultations with other traders’ bodies. But, the unilateral decision of APAT’s Naeem Mir has created divide. “We do not agree

with the Oct 9 sit-in protest call,” Khawaja said.

“We still believe in resolving issues through negotiations. And if needed, we will give our own protest call.”

When asked, Naeem Mir said that the talk of consulting other trade bodies was now old. “We will hold talks with the government on our own,” he added.

Traders have reservations over reforms being introduced by the government to improve revenue generation including fixed tax, increase in GST, CNIC of buyer in case of Rs 50,000 shopping or more.