Gilgit - Baltistan

Abolition of taxes demanded during a huge gathering in Gilgit

Meraj Alam
(Updated at 1:28/January 29) 

Gilgit: The Anti-Tax Movement of Gilgit-Baltistan held a large gathering in Gilgit to demand abolition of taxes. The gathering was held in Gari Bag Gilgit, where workers of various political and religious parties, members of civil society and members of trade unions were present in large numbers.

Addressing the Jalsa President of the ‘ATM’,  Firdous Ahmad, said that collection of income tax, general sales tax and withholding tax from the people of the region without giving them representation in the parliament was unlawful.

“We have been protesting against the illegal taxes for the last many years, but the federal and regional governments are not taking our protest seriously”, he added.

The gathering had been organized by the Anti-Tax Movement Gilgit Baltistan (ATM), which is an alliance of various trade groups, association of contractors and political and religious parties, as well as civil society organizations.

A voluntary shutter-down and wheel-jam strike was observed in Gilgitby the public, despite of there not being a call for strike. The ATM had asked the people to attend the gathering in large numbers to express support for the movement’s demands.

This is the second successful strike by the ATM within two weeks in Gilgit District. Earlier, a strike was observed across the Gilgit-Baltistan region on 14th of this month (January).

It is pertinent to note that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan do not enjoy complete citizenship rights in Pakistan, due to the Kashmir dispute. The anti-tax movement has started at a time when there’s a major debate about the constitutional future of the Gilgit-Baltistan, and the federal government is expected to announce political, administrative and economic reforms in the region.

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