Gilgit-Baltistan observes shutdown against illegal taxation

ANI | Updated: Dec 24, 2017 10:46 IST

Gilgit [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir], Dec 24 (ANI): People from all walks of life in Gilgit-Baltistan were out on the streets shouting and protesting against Pakistan's immoral imposition of taxes on them.

Thousands had gathered after a protest call was given by the Anjiman-i-Tajran and the Awami Action Committee (AAC).

They called on the government to withdraw all taxes imposed in the region following GB Tax Adaptation Act 2012.

Shutter down strikes and massive protests by traders and local residents are continuing in Gilgit as they accuse Pakistan of misusing power.

The local economy suffered a setback as shops and markets remained shut.

"The main reason is 10-12 thousand rupees are deducted monthly, to whom this tax goes? I can't ask them (government) about this tax. Tax is given to those who are liable for it. The tax that we give them, they do not provide any accountability for it. So it is unconstitutional and illegal," said Nawaaz Khan Nazi, leader, opposition, Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly.

A palpable anguish is a vivid manifestation of the growing resentment of the locals against the increasingly growing authoritarian government of Islamabad.

The region of Gilgit-Baltistan, which finds no place in the constitutional framework of the Pakistan, has been meted out with state sponsored barbarism for years and this illegal levying of taxes have just added to the woes of local people.

"Why is this tax being implemented even though it is still controversial? This protest is being held all across Gilgit Baltistan. There will be a massive protest in Gilgit-Baltistan tomorrow for the issue of tax that has been raised here. Awami Action Committee and Anjiman-i-Tajran have called upon us to hold this protest in Gilgit-Baltistan. All the parties and people of Gilgit-Baltistan are with them, we will take this forward till the end," said Amana Ansari, protestor, Gilgit-Baltistan.

The leaders this time are resolute on their demands and are not ready to buzz until the draconian decision is rolled back.

Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and has been under the forceful occupation of Pakistan since 1947.

The region has a special constitutional status in Pakistan.

However, Pakistan has consistently maintained its oppressive attitude towards people of the region and has even ignored their basic demands.

Pakistan's tacit policy has been to ignore the genuine interests of the region and never allow true democracy to thrive in the region.

Islamabad's growing apathy towards the region and adoption of high handed measures to suppress reasonable voices of the region is a major concern today.

People of Gilgit-Baltistan have now become increasingly intolerant of the Pakistani occupation and they have intensified their ante against the authorities who have plundered their resources. (ANI)