People protest against imposition of taxes in tribal areas


PESHAWAR: The tribesmen from Khyber Agency on Thursday staged a demonstration at Bab-e-Khyber Jamrud against the imposition of taxes on industries and businesses and extension of taxation network to former Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA).
The protesters included local industrialists, factories’ owners and shopkeepers who were chanting slogans against imposition of taxes. The participants were addressed by a number of speakers including Pakistan Muslim League-N Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi. The speakers reminded that tribal regions have been declared most backward and neglected, therefore, its people should be exempted from every sort of taxes.
The speakers said that almost all the tribal regions were badly affected by militancy during the last two decades. Secondly, there were no proper economic opportunities in tribal regions. The agriculture sector was also ignored by the rulers since the inception of the country, they added.
According to protesters, there were around 5,000 factories and majority of these were stone crushers and marble units. Income of these units was very low whereas thousands of families were depending on these small units. On such grounds, they demanded of the government to review imposition/extension of taxation network to former tribal region.
After merger of Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, unrest is fuelling amongst tribesmen due to extension of taxes network, withdrawal of perks and privileges to tribal elders and threats to the future of personnel of traditional Khasadar forces. The increasing unrest amongst tribesmen is being exploited by those tribal elders and circles who are opposing FATA merger in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A grand Jirga against merger will be held in Peshawar on June 25.