Industry leaders say gas suspension plan well thought-out conspiracy against govt, strict notice should be taken of it
Thousands of workers and leaders of leading trade and industrial associations of Lahore staged a two-hour-long sit-in outside the Governor’s House to protest the discrimination against gas supply to the Punjab industry and the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) on Monday.
The protestors blocked traffic from both sides of the Mall, and Jail Road for more than two hours and also burnt tyres. The blockage of the main roads of the city created problems for the citizens and large traffic jams were observed in the nearby areas.
The protesters belonged to the Punjab trade and industrial associations and chambers of commerce, including the Lahore and Sheikhupura chambers. All Pakistan Anjum-e-Tajran, Qaumi Tajir Ittehad, Lahore Township Industrial Area Association, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association, Shahdra Industrial Association, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Katarbund Road Industrial Association, Ferozepur Road Industrial Association, Steel Melters Association, Steel Re-rolling Mills Association, Pakistan Towels Manufacturers, All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, Pakistan Poultry Association, Pakistan Tanners Association, Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front, Punjab Plastic Manufacturers Association, Pakistan PVC Pipe Manufacturers Association and All Pakistan CNG Association participated in the protest.
The protesters were carrying banners inscribed with slogans against the discriminatory attitude of the government.
The protest was jointly led by Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Shahzad Ali Malik, Senior Vice President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Vice President Sohail Azhar, All Pakistan Anjum-e-Tajiran Acting President Khalid Pervaiz, Secretary General Abdul Razzaq Babar and others.
Addressing the protesters, the trade and industry leaders said that the gas suspension plan was a well thought-out conspiracy against the government and the people concerned must take notice of it.
They said that the entire industry and the industrial workers had been pushed to the wall. “It is not the industry alone that is suffering badly, but it is the entire economy that is facing unprecedented challenges.”
The leaders said that the government was committing an ‘economic massacre’ of the industrial workers by turning the province into a trading place instead of a manufacturing hub. They said that owing to wrong government policies, the business community was suffering with every passing day and they were unable to cope with day-to-day challenges.
The industrial workers said that the industries would not be able to pay their dues if corrective measures were not taken immediately.
They said that they were surprised that the ruling elite was unmoved over the discrimination in gas distribution, which should be stopped immediately.
No government official tried to negotiate with the protesters during the two-hour-long protest. Later, the protesters decided to disperse peacefully with the announcement to observe such protests every week until the acceptance of their demands.