Malakand division remains shut against govt’s plan to impose taxes

  • MTF President threatens to launch a civil disobedience movement in the next phase

SWAT: A complete shutdown was observed across the nine districts of Malakand division and all businesses, commercial centres and even private schools remained closed in protest against the abolition of the separate constitutional status of the division and the plan to impose taxes.

The traders observed the strike and kept their businesses closed except for medicine stores and eateries.

The business community also threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement in the next phase if the government did not accept their demands.

Malakand Traders Federation (MTF) President Abdur Rahim Khan had given the strike call over the weekend after a detailed meeting with the all-district trade union leadership at Swat Press Club.

The traders said the government’s proposed move to extend the tax net was unjustified and against the agreement the then government had inked with the state of Swat in 1969.

It is to be noted that Malakand division is consisted of Swat, Shangla, Upper Chitral, Lower Chitral, Malakand, Bajaur, Lower Dir, Dir Upper and Buner districts.

According to details, the constitution has been amended by the government to abolish the separate constitutional status of Malakand Division (PATA) through the abolition the articles 246 and 247 of the constitution.

Under which all types of taxes will be applicable in all districts of Malakand Division, including Swat, Buner, Shangla, Malakand, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Chitral Upper, Chitral Lower and Bajaur from 1st July 2024.

On the call of Abdur Rahim, President of Malakand Traders Federation, a ‘historic’ shutter-down strike was observed across the division on Tuesday. All commercial centres, business establishments, small and big industries, markets and bazaars remained completely closed.

For the first time, the chemist community and the hotel community also participated in the ‘historic’ strike, while Peshawar High Court Mingora Bench Bar Association, Khyber Bar Council and District Bar Associations of all districts also fully supported the strike of the business community, and the lawyers didn’t not appeared in court proceedings.

On the other hand, the private schools associations also closed the educational institutions in all the districts and a holiday was announced in the schools.

Talking to the media on the occasion, Malakand Division Traders Federation President Abdur Rahim said that due to the incompetence of the local parliamentarians, the government has abolished the separate constitutional status of FATA as well as PATA. “Neither we accept this move under any circumstances and nor ready to implement Income Tax and Sales Tax in Malakand Division”, he declared.

He said that Malakand division was a tax free zone, appealing to the government not to impose more economic burden on the people of this region affected by terrorism, earthquake and natural calamities.

He also threatened that they would be forced to rebel against the government and led a civil disobedience movement, saying the responsibility any such act would be laid on the current rulers and officials.

Shangla trade union president, Muhammad Zada, said they would sacrifice their lives but would not pay a single penny to the government in taxes, claiming that it already collects “60 per cent of taxes in remittances, online businesses, mobile, electricity, internet packages, online shopping, freelancing and several others” means but in return the division’s residents “get nothing”.

Syed Shahabuddin
Syed Shahabuddin
Reporter at Pakistan Today

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

IHC, LHC issue notices on pleas challenging Pemra ban on TV...

LHC, however, turns down plea for immediate action to suspend notification ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Islamabad and Lahore high courts on Friday issued notices to respondents...