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Breaking News: Karachi Port Shut Down By Protests

A strike has erupted in Karachi, Pakistan involving customs agents and truck carriers. This story is still slowly unfolding and the precise scope of the protest remains still undetermined. However, it is considerable enough that the port of Karachi has all but shut down, halting all services provided by customs agents. The strike is born out of a long brewing conflict between three distinct parties: customs agents, truck carriers who regularly traverse the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and local authorities.

The strikers, mostly customs agents, are protesting new penalties imposed by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The shutdown of the port has resulted in RS10 billion in tax collections so far. The business losses are the consequence of delays in consignment clearance of imports and exports primarily, an impossible task without working customs agents.

Shams Burney, chairman, All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA), said, “All consignment clearance services to imports and exports have been suspended in protest against illegal issuance of Order-in-Original (ONO).”

And now others have joined the strikers as an expression of solidarity. Saifullah Khan, president, Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA), said, “All Pakistan Goods Carrier Association, United Goods Carriers Association and KPT Goods Carriers Association have joined the protest of customs agents.”

On Monday evening, the disputants met in an attempt to come to a resolution but the none was arrived at. “We understand the business losses due to this protest, but we have no other option and the strike will continue until the FBR accepted our demands,” Saifullah Khan said.