A shut down called by traders, shopkeepers and other stakeholders in Gilgit-Baltistan entered its third day on Wednesday.
They are protesting against Pakistan’s immoral and unlawful imposition of taxes on people of the region.
“Levying taxes without determining the constitutional status of Gilgil-Baltistan is illegal and unfair,” one of the protesters said.
Another protester said, “Protest rallies would continue till the government withdraws all types of taxes.”
Yesterday it was reported that the markets and business centers in major towns remained closed and attendance in private and government offices, educational institutions was thin because of non-availability of transport on roads.
Protesters, who were demonstrating against the federal government’s levy of taxes on the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, said the imposition of taxes without determining the constitutional status of the region as “illegal and unfair.
They said that demonstrations would continue till the government withdraws all types of taxes in the region.
The protesters were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands.
According to the Dawn, lawyers across the region boycotted courts in solidarity with the protesters who vowed to continue with the agitation till implementation of their demands.
The region, which has been given a step-motherly treatment by Islamabad, has been looted through the hefty taxes levied by the Federal Board of Revenue of Pakistan.
This has evoked widespread resentment against the Pakistani authorities who otherwise have not done anything in the welfare of the people of the region.
Pakistan has consistently maintained its oppressive attitude towards people of the region and has even ignored their basic demands.
Pakistan’s tacit policy has been to ignore the genuine interests of the region and never allow true democracy to thrive in the region.
Media, which has been working in collusion with Islamabad has muffled the issues of locals which has only emboldened Islamabad to further exploit the region through its draconian laws and policies.
The legal fraternity believes that Pakistan has no right over the region to collect taxes.
Islamabad’s growing apathy towards the region and adoption of high handed measures to suppress reasonable voices of the region is a major concern today.
People of Gilgit-Baltistan have now become increasingly intolerant of the Pakistani occupation and they have intensified their ante against the authorities who have done nothing except plundering the resources.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and now is under forceful occupation of Pakistan.
By: Business Standard
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