ANI Photo | Shopkeepers down shutters in Gilgit Baltistan to protest Pakistan’s new tax law

Gilgit Baltistan [PoK], October 12 (ANI): Shopkeepers across the illegally occupied territory of Gilgit Baltistan, who are already struggling with prolonged electricity shortage in the region, observed a shutter-down strike against the imposition of unjust taxes on them by the Pakistani government.
Public anger has been rising in various parts of Gilgit-Baltistan against a new taxation law passed by the legislative assembly that will affect the common people. The protesters said that the “Gilgit-Baltistan Revenue Authority Bill 2022” has imposed new taxes on 135 items, the Dawn newspaper reported.
A local criticised the region’s lawmakers for passing the bill and claimed that “they had passed the bill for their own salaries and privileges.” Another said that the vegetable sellers will be economically burdened with this new tax and added that the people of the region are not guaranteed any constitutional status.
The people of the area have also accused the government of Pakistan time and again of trying to impose taxes on them under different pretexts.
The bill was passed by the assembly for the first time in August this year, however, it was rejected by GB Governor Syed Mehdi Shah in September. The Dawn report said that Mehdi Shah had refused to sign the bill and returned it to the assembly for review.

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According to the Pakistan daily, the bill was again tabled in the assembly and was recently passed for the second time, effectively turning it into law.
Shops in a number of districts remained closed while the traffic on roads was also minimal after the call of GB traders body and hotel association. In the Nasirabad area of Hunza, where locals took out a rally on Karakoram Highway, the demonstrators held placards and chanted slogans against the new taxes.
The protest was against the imposition of new taxes on the people of GB, said Masoodur Rehman, central traders’ body President of Gilgit-Baltistan.
“The imposition of taxes on 135 items will affect the poor people,” Rehman said.
While pointing to the taxes imposed on over 100 items, the trade body chief said people were already suffering losses due to prolonged electricity shortage in the region.
According to Rehman, the Shehbaz Sharif government was imposing taxes under various names without granting constitutional rights to the people of GB.
He further warned, “This is a token protest, if the government doesn’t reverse the bill, the next course of action will be more aggressive.” (ANI)

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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