ISLAMABAD, June 7: Members of the All Pakistan CNG Association here on Thursday held a protest demonstration against imposition of cess on the sector.

In a related development, the capital police briefly detained the association’s leader, Ghiyas Paracha.

Mr Paracha was arrested from Blue Area by the I-9 police on the basis of an FIR registered against him in January 2012 when the CNG sector along with transporters was on a strike against massive increase in CNG rates.  However, later he was released on the personal assurance of Mohammad Abid Hayat, an office-bearer of the association.

Talking to Dawn after his release, Mr Paracha said he and other members of the association had been receiving threatening calls from the petroleum ministry against the ongoing strike.

“They have been telling us to call off the strike and not to hold protest at Blue Area,” Mr Paracha said, adding: “The officials have repeatedly said we should first meet the minister before taking any decision on the strike.”

After his release, the APCNGA announced its decision to continue the strike till the proposed tax was withdrawn.

While CNG stations in the Potohar region are closed due to weekly gas loadshedding, (from Thursday to Saturday), those in other parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained shut due to the indefinite strike by the dealers.

“We are fighting against the exorbitant cess that has been imposed on the CNG consumers. It will have a significant inflationary impact on the economy,” Mr Paracha said. “We have calculated that the additional burden of Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 per month will be faced by the middle class consumers if the cess was imposed.”

To keep up the pressure on the government, the CNG sector is scheduled to meet public transporters in the coming days to invite them to join the strike.

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