Saturday, October 1, 2011

Government to impose income tax in disputed Gilgit Baltistan

The Gilgit-Baltistan government decided to impose income tax on corporate sector, registered firms and corporations and salaried class.

In this regard, a piece of legislation is expected to be tabled in Gilgit-Baltistan Council session, commencing on October 03.

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan will resist the imposition of taxes in the region, said G-B Finance Minister Muhammad Ali Akhter, opposing any move by CM in the disputed territory.

“The issue will be taken up in the assembly and we will oppose the move at all costs,” he said, adding that the people would come out on the streets to protest against the decision.

He said there is no opportunity for industrialisation in G-B due to extreme weather conditions and due to absence of proper facilities given by the federal government, while the imposition of taxes would severely affect the salaried class, which is the biggest source of earning in G-B.

“G-B has been exempted from taxes and has been given subsidies on certain commodities due to poverty and mountainous topography, which should be retained to bring the region at par with other parts of the country,” Akhter said.

According to sources, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is also the chairman of the G-B Council, would chair a council meeting on October 7 to give a final approval to the tax regime.

Chairman Balawaristan National Front and member legislative assembly Nawaz Khan Naji said that any move to impose tax in disputed region will be opposed in the assembly and if government insists on such a stupid decision, mass movement will be started on the streets. “Gilgit Baltistan is a disputed region according to UN resolutions and the inhabitant are exempted from any kind of tax”, he said, adding that such decision will be unlawful and violation of UN resolution.

Nawaz Naji also said such decision will weaken the Pakistan’s position regarding the issue in the UN.

The Balawaristan National Front, Abdul Hamid Khan faction and other nationalist parties of the region also strictly opposed the proposal and warned the government of agitation.
 Monitoring desk

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