ISLAMABAD: Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) members of parliament have demanded of the federal government to withdraw the additional tax imposed on tribal areas in the budget, warning that if their demands are not met they will put Islamabad on lockdown.
“The Customs Act was never imposed in Malakand Agency, [erstwhile] FATA ever since Pakistan came into being. The act was imposed in 1997. Due to this, these areas were labelled terrorism ground; thus, paralysing us at the international level. People were rendered jobless due to the Customs Act,” said Senator Shah Jee Gul Afridi while addressing the media on Monday.
“No leader or ruler fulfilled the responsibility of creating Pakistan. We, Pashtuns and tribal people, created Pakistan. We created Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan,” said Senator Afridi. “Today, only one law has been imposed all over Pakistan – Naya Pakistan. Even today in the world, where there are less resources and unemployment, tax relief is provided. The government decided not to take taxes for five years, we accepted it despite the fact that we had demanded an exemption of 20 years.”
He said that they used to believe whatever Imran Khan used to say or promise. “Today, Imran Khan is making enemies by rendering the Pashtuns jobless. There was no exemption from tax in the electricity bill as we were paying it before also. The promise made to us during the budget is not being kept.”
He appealed to Imran Khan not to snatch food of the Pashtuns.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl MNA Mufti Abdul Shakoor said, “Oppression against tribal people is continuing. Tribal people fought wars with the Englishmen. They sacrificed their lives for real independence. Pakistan came into being through our blood.”
He said if their demands were not met they would put Islamabad on lockdown.
“Political differences aside, we will unite to put an end to the cruel tax for the welfare of the tribal people,” he added. “Khan Sahib fulfil your promises made on the container otherwise our struggle will prove as the last nail in the coffin for your government.”
Latif Afridi threatened to close all international routes leading to Afghanistan if their demands were not met.
“There is already a curfew-like situation in the area, if further taxes are be imposed, factories will shut down.”
He demanded withdrawal of taxes from the budget.