Gilgit-Baltistan Taxation: GB Council formed working group to prepare recommendations

ISLAMABAD: Gilgit-Baltistan Council notified a 6 member working group headed by MNA Malik Ibrar Ahmed to examine and prepare recommendations to resolve the taxation issues in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The recommendations will be presented at the upcoming session of Gilgit-Baltistan Council in order to resove the taxation issues that trigered widespread protests in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The working group members will include  local members of GB Council  Saeed Afzal and Ashraf Sada. Joint Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan Secretariat Dr. Aftab Akbar Durani, Commissioner Inland Revenue Gilgit-Baltistan Qaiser Iqbal and a member from FBR /Finance Department will also be part of the working group.

It is here to mention that after widespread protests in Gilgit-Baltistan, a Parliamentary Committee formed by GB Government and the representatives of Anjuman-e-Tajran (MAJ) and Awami Action Committee (AAC) on Wednesday formed a joint committee to present the agreed-upon recommendation to the federal government on the ongoing anti-tax issue in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is expected that this joint committee will held meetings with the working group formed by the GB Council in order to develop recommendations for the council meeting.

The Parlimentary Committee of GB Government had signed signed an agreement and a recommendation document with representatives of AAC and MAJ after many rounds of negotiations.

Both partie had agreed to continue peaceful and symbolic sit-ins and the Skardu-Gilgit long march will be called off until the government implements the recommendations. The government had agrred to end all cases registered against the protesters.

According to the recommendations, both parties had agreed to repeal the GB Tax Adaptation Act 2012 and end the income tax, bank transaction tax, withholding tax imposed under this act . The recommendations mentions that GB Council should consult Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly if any alternate law is required in this regard. The recommendations further include that amendments to be made in Gilgit-Baltistan Mineral Policy 2016 and its subject should be transferred to provincial assembly. The federal government to share all indirect taxes received from Gilgit-Baltistan with Gilgit-Baltistan government by following the pattern of Azad Kashmir, it mentions.

Following this development in Gilgit, MAT and AAC had called-off the Skardu-Gilgit long march.

Thousands of people from the four districts of Baltistan region had left for Gilgit on Tuesday to pressurize the government to repeal all taxes imposed in Gilgit-Baltistan under Gilgit-Baltistan Adaptation Act 2012.

The 7-day long shutter-down and protest call was given by the Markazi Anjiman-i-Tajran and the Awami Action Committee (AAC) on December 21 and the move was backed by all major political and religious parties, transporters association, hotels associations, gems and minerals associations and bar associations.

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