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Thousands of Pak businesses launch protest against new IMF-backed sales tax

Saturday's strike is happening in shopping malls and wholesale commodity markets, small shops and electronics stores


AP | PTI  |  Karachi 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani businesses are on strike nationwide to protest a new sales tax, which opposition political parties say is being imposed as part of the Monetary Fund's recent $6 billion bailout package for Islamabad.

Saturday's strike is happening in shopping malls and wholesale commodity markets, small shops and electronics stores.

In the country's commercial hub, Karachi, divisions among retailers made the strikes less effective.

Opposition Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan says the government's "ill-conceived" financial policies have led to price hikes.

The approved the bailout on July 3, saying it would help reduce public debt and expand social spending.

Pakistan faces dangerously low foreign reserves, a tax base of barely 1 per cent of its population, crushing trade deficits and a hefty defence budget.

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First Published: Sat, July 13 2019. 15:40 IST