Islamabad: On Saturday, traders in Rawalpindi and Islamabad called for Finance Minister Miftah Ismail to be fired. They said he was against business and corrupt and was trying to get rid of small businesses.
Ajmal Baloch, president of the All Pakistan Traders Association, said at a news conference at the National Press Club that the government had promised to let shops stay open until midnight during Eid. Still, no notice had been sent out yet.
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Mr. Baloch said that Miftah Ismail is always making fun of poor people and that the new government has put inflation on the people instead of keeping their luxuries in check.
“The new system has given traders a fixed tax that they already paid,” he said. “Why don’t these people put new taxes on the rich?”
If the police keep bothering businesses, says the head of a restaurant association, roads will be blocked.
He said that the cabinet members should cut back on their rules, practice austerity, help out regular people, and make policies that are good for small businesses, including traders.
“But, I repeat, don’t make us go out on the streets to protest,” he said. He also said that the political parties in power now had made false promises to take care of the economy, but the current government hasn’t done anything good in this area.
He also said the government was bad because there was a lot of load shedding and high fuel prices.
In another news story, the head of the All Rawalpindi Restaurant Association, Farooq Chaudhry, said that if the Punjab government doesn’t stop the police from harassing traders and restaurants, they will block roads in protest.
Mr. Chaudhry was talking to reporters in Rawalpindi. He mentioned a meeting with Punjab Home Minister Ata Tarar and Rana Mashhood and said that takeout and home delivery were allowed late at night. A notification had already been sent out, but the police filed FIRs against traders.
The deputy commissioner of Islamabad, Irfan Nawaz Memon, said in a statement that there were no restrictions on business hours on Saturday nights.
“All shops can stay open without interruption, and the ICT administration doesn’t enforce business hours on Saturdays,” Mr Memon said.
But the statement also said there were no exceptions for wedding halls and that the ceremonies had to be over by the time set.
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