LAHORE: All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) has decided to stage a nationwide protest against the government’s poor economic policies, while the traders will gather in Lahore on July 18 and reach Islamabad to protest.
A press conference was held by APAT at Lahore Press Club here on Thursday in which both groups (Naeem Mir and Ashraf Bhatti) of APAT participated.
Talking to journalists, APAT General Secretary Naeem Mir said that the present government was not trader-friendly and its poor economic policies had caused financial loss to traders. “We are going to wake up the government, not topple it. This government is not business friendly at all. Traders will leave for Islamabad in their cars and protest by blowing horns again and again. If the rulers do not want to wake up, go to their homes and sleep. We hope that if irresponsible rulers leave, more responsible rulers will come.”
Mir demanded that there should be only one holiday a week for the business community and the businesses opening hours should be extended to 10 pm. “This government is incompetent and useless. Traders are worried about the government’s poor economic policies. Our first demand is that all businesses should be opened and there should be only one weekly holiday and shops should be allowed to remain open till 10 pm. The government should also provide interest-free loans to traders.”
Talking about the protest program, Mir said that the business community would gather at Thokar Niaz Baig on July 18 at 9 am and from there go to Islamabad. “We will blow the horn and wake the sleeping rulers. The rulers were not brought to the Prime Minister’s House to sleep. Entertainment tax will begin when the theatres open. The money collected by the Punjab Revenue Authority should be spent on the people. Flour, petrol and everything else should be cheaper. The government writ is nowhere to be seen.”
Talking to media, president of APAT (Ashraf Bhatti Group) Muhammad Ashraf Bhatti said, “We strongly support the ‘Horn Bajao Hukmaran Jagao’ movement. Pakistan’s economy is at the bottom of the world. We don’t have the money to pay salesmen. Petrol and gold prices have risen. We are together for the traders’ cause. The business community should join us on July 18th. If the government does not heed our demands on July 18, the next course of action will be decided in Islamabad.”
During the press conference, the business community also protested by blowing the horn.