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Thousands of petrol stations shut down across Pakistan in protest against new taxes

Thousands of petrol stations shut down across Pakistan in protest against new taxes

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) - Thousands of petrol stations across Pakistan remained shut on Friday in protest against new taxes, leaving millions of people without fuel.

The countrywide strike was called by the Pakistan Petro­leum Dealers Association against the imposition of a new tax on fuel stations.

The government imposed a 0.5% advance turnover tax on petrol stations, but the association rejected it, saying they already pay tax per liter and would not accept a double tax.

"We have closed the petrol pumps across the country as a protest for today, as we are unable to pay more taxes in the current price hike. It would ruin our petrol pump business," the association chairman Abdul Sami Khan told Anadolu over the phone.

We already pay 1.4 Pakistani rupees ($0.005) tax per liter to the government but recently they imposed 0.5% further advance turnover tax, he said, adding: "We will never accept further taxes."

Local TV Channel shows that among over 13,000 fuel stations across the country, in some cities, including the capital Islamabad, some are still open, while the majority are closed.

On Thursday, government authorities requested the association to withdraw their call for strike but they refused until the government meets their demands.

The strike put millions of people without fuel across the country as long queues of vehicles seen in front of some state-run filling stations in different areas.

The Petroleum Ministry in a statement directed all oil marketing companies to ensure adequate supplies of petroleum products at petrol pumps and to keep them open.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the Petroleum Division and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority said there is sufficient availability of petroleum products throughout the country.

Recently, the government has also increased petrol prices in the South Asian country, taking the petrol price to Rs 265.61 ($0.95) per liter, and the new price of diesel up to Rs 277.45 ($1).

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