Lahore's youngsters protest against 20pct tax on SMS

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Islamabad, Jun 20 (ANI): Youth organisations in Lahore protested against the Government's decision to levy a 20 per cent tax on short messaging service (SMS) on Friday.

The protest against the tax, announced in the annual budget for the financial year 2009-10, was held in front of the Lahore Press Club.

Organised by the Progressive Youth Front (PYF), the protest provided an interesting spectacle for the passers-by, who were amazed by the youth shouting slogans against SMS being taxed.

"People here are struggling to make both ends meet, but these young people are protesting against taxation on SMS, which sounds funny," the Daily Times quoted Abbas, a young man who was standing on the curb, and staring at the protesters with mock amazement, as saying.

Another passer-by said that the tax on SMS was quite justified, and that most young people wasted their time in sending pointless chain messages.

But PYF Coordinator Kashif said that the youth of Pakistan lived without basic facilities, and cheap SMS was the only "luxury" they could enjoy.

He said that it was deplorable that youngsters were being deprived of that facility.

He did not deny that young people were circulating indecent and meaningless SMS. However, he insisted that the tax imposed on SMS was a great blow for the young people who stayed in contact with each other through the "service".

He said that the young people, who had left their native cities to study in urban centres, stayed in touch with their families back home through SMS.

He claimed that the PYF had conducted a survey and found that an overwhelming majority of young people opposed the Government's decision.

Kashif said that telecommunication companies should also raise their voices against the tax.

"The government is already taxing calling cards. It should withdraw the tax on SMS," he added. (ANI)

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