G-B Finance Minister at Odds with His Own Party (PPP) on Tax

Islamabad: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) will resist the imposition of taxes in the region, said G-B Finance Minister Muhammad Ali Akhter on Thursday.

He told The Express Tribune that the step would push local people, who have already been affected from natural calamities, towards more economic hardships.

“The issue will be taken up in the assembly and we will oppose the move at all costs,” he said, adding that the people would come out on the streets to protest against the decision.

He said there is no opportunity for industrialisation in G-B due to extreme weather conditions and due to absence of proper facilities given by the federal government, while the imposition of taxes would severely affect the salaried class, which is the biggest source of earning in G-B.

“G-B has been exempted from taxes and has been given subsidies on certain commodities due to poverty and mountainous topography, which should be retained to bring the region at par with other parts of the country,” Akhter said.

According to sources, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is also the chairman of the G-B Council, would chair a council meeting on October 7 to give a final approval to the tax regime.

The tax would be imposed on the corporate sector and on individuals who earn more than Rs50,000 per month.

Akhter claimed that the PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had given a special subsidy to the area due to lack of development, adding that it would be a blunder for the PPP government to impose taxes on poor people.

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