GBLA session: Lawmakers ask govt to declare G-B tax-free zone

Published: September 7, 2012
Transportation cost skyrockets prices of essential commodities and most of the daily use items are brought to the region from down country. PHOTO: FILE

Transportation cost skyrockets prices of essential commodities and most of the daily use items are brought to the region from down country. PHOTO: FILE


An independent legislator has asked the federal government to declare Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) a tax-free zone and allow duty-free import of essential commodities from China.

The proposal was floated by Syed Raziuddin in a resolution that he tabled during the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) session on Thursday. Tax issues dominated the third-day of the 24th session of the house.

“The region should be declared tax-free considering the level of poverty and backwardness of the region,” said Raziuddin while speaking on his resolution.

He added that transportation cost skyrockets prices of essential commodities and most of the daily use items are brought to the region from down country.

Other lawmakers also supported the resolution. However, Speaker Wazir Baig referred the matter to a committee headed by the law minister to assess its viability.

The issue of tax collection and disbursement by the federal government was also discussed. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) legislator Mirza Hussain pointed out that the federal government receives Rs26 billion in taxes from G-B. However, he lamented that very meager portion of that amount is given to the region.

“Steps should be taken to collect taxes at the regional level as it is being practiced in other provinces,” he stated.

In his reply, the speaker said that levying of tax was the domain of the G-B Council (GBC). The issue could be discussed in a joint session of the GBLA and GBC. He added that the governor should summon a joint session of the GBLA and GBC and take up the issue for discussion.

Nawaz Khan Naji, a nationalist member, said the biggest threat to the country was not any external force, but the corrupt rulers who are “plundering the national wealth and resources”.

The lone outspoken legislator said that the rulers should pledge to curb corrupt practices. He said that the overall situation of the industrial sector is on the verge of collapse, except for the “industry of Jihad”. He urged the government to take measures to help revive the industrial sector.

Law Minister Wazir Shakeel Ahmed tabled the child welfare and protection bill, which was referred to the select committee for review.

Baig maintained that the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) has failed to submit financial reports for the past two years to the assembly.

Rehmat Khaliq, a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam lawmaker, said the importance of Defence Day has been overlooked by declaring it a working day. He called for dedicating the day to pay tributes to those who have rendered sacrifices for this nation.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:13AM

    What a suggestion?! as it is there is NO Income Tax nor Sales Tax in GB province now they want duty free import so goods are imported from China and then summgeled into Pakistan .
    What people in GB province should do is stop killing each other on religious grounds so that there is peace and more tourism


  • wahab
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:38PM

    lame suggestion, they just want to import stuff and earn money through smuggling..


  • wahab
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:40PM

    if they just focus on better infrastructure facilities for tourists instead, they can earn huge amounts of money through putting taxes on hotels n stuff.. It has become a dillema in every area of pak to just to ask concessions from federal govt which inturn then asks for loans n aid! n then we cry that we are being sandwitched by other nations


  • jamal khan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 3:56AM

    @Hafiz shah Ali ,i fully agree with u.


  • KnoWhat!
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:27AM

    Wonderful and genuine comments are posted above. Every institution and office in Pak is somehow looking to government concessions. I wonder who and where are they getting the idea of a free-ride at the cost other hard working & tax paying citizens. Very shameful!


  • Karim
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Guys, you need to understand the dynamics of GB, its strategic importance and the role as a HUB for the adjoining countries.
    Kindly change your googles and think accordingly.


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