Ex-MNA says Malakand population rails against taxes

By Syed Zahid Jan
May 20, 2024
Former member of the National Assembly Sahibzada Tariqullah (R) speaks during a press conference in this still on May 19, 2024. — Facebook/Sahibzada Tariqullah

DIR: Former member of the National Assembly Sahibzada Tariqullah has said that people of Upper Dir, including Malakand division, do not accept the proposed implementation of various taxes by the government.


He urged the leaders of the three ruling parties, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Pakistan People’s Party, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), to use their influence on Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif to withdraw the tax imposition decision, otherwise people would be forced to take extreme measures on their own.

Saibzada Tariqullah told a press conference that Malakand Division was one of the most backward areas of the country, lacking basic facilities like roads, hospitals, universities, and other facilities.

“When the three erstwhile states of Dir, Chitral, and Swat were being merged with Pakistan, the rulers had agreed that these areas would remain tax-free for 99 years,” he claimed.Tariqullah said that although people of Malakand division were willing to pay taxes, they demanded the government to first provide basic facilities to the area.

He warned that if the government tried to impose taxes without facilities, it would face strong resistance from people. He also said that in 2017, he had moved a resolution in the National Assembly to exempt the area from taxes for five years, which was accepted by the Pakistan Muslim League government, and now it would expire on June 30.

Tariqullah demanded the leaders of the ruling parties, including Bilawal Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, and Imran Khan, to use their influence to stop the government from imposing taxes on Malakand division. He warned that if the government did not listen, people would be forced to take extreme measures, like the complete shutdown strike observed by the traders’ community a few days ago.He said the government should not create a situation like the one in Azad Kashmir a few days ago, where people were forced to take to the streets to demand their rights.