ISLAMABAD - A large number of brick kiln owners and labourers on Saturday held a protest rally against the imposition of 16 per cent general sales tax (GST) on bricks. The rally started from the National Press Club and culminated in front of the Parliament House where the protesters staged a brief sit-in. They were holding placards inscribed with slogans against the government. They also chanted slogans against what they called injustice to them.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhatta Association President Shoaib Khan Niazi said the imposition of the GST would affect every person by increasing the prices of bricks. He added the decision of the government would also increase unemployment and price hike, but the government was paying no heed towards the issue. He warned that if the government failed to withdraw its decision, the brick kiln workers would block the National Highway from Quetta to Torkham.
He claimed around 400 families were earning their livelihood from each brick kiln, but such high taxes would force the kiln owners to downsize their workers. “The government will be responsible for the unemployment of the poor workers,” he warned. According to the 16 per cent GST, Rs 700 tax would be imposed on every 1,000 bricks, he revealed.
The protesters demanded the government take up measures to keep their jobs intact by abolishing the general sales tax on bricks. They said the sales tax on bricks had led thousands of families to starvation. They warned the government to withdraw its decision otherwise supply of bricks would be suspended from tomorrow (Monday).