GILGIT: Thousands of people from the four districts of Baltistan region left for Gilgit on Tuesday to participate in the protest against the imposition of taxes under Gilgit-Baltistan Adaptation Act 2012.

On the other hand, negotiations three rounds of negotiations were held in Gilgit between the parliamentary committee headed by Senior Minister Haji Akbar Taban and representatives of Markazi Anjuman-e Tajran and Awami Action committee. There were contradictory reports regarding the outcome of the negotiations as both parties were avoiding sharing any information with media. According to reports, negotiations will continue on Wednesday to further discuss the points on which deadlock persists between both parties.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan has held meetings with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Barjees Tahir and requested to hold the meeting of Gilgit-Baltistan Council to address the tax issue. According to a press release, the Chief Minister has said that the issue will be resolved according to the wishes of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The protest call was given by the Anjiman-i-Tajran and the Awami Action Committee (AAC) and backed by all major political and religious parties, transporters association, hotels associations and bar associations.

The shutter down strikes and protests by traders, political and civil society activists entered seventh day despite below minus 5 temperature in most parts of Gilgit-Baltistan.

In Baltistan, the protesters from Shigar, Karmang, Ghanche and Skardu districts gathered at Yadgar-e-Shuhada Skardu before starting the long march towards Gilgit. Addressing a huge gathering, the president of Anjuman-e-Tajran Ghulam Hussain Athar said that the protest will continue till the government quashes all taxes illegally imposed in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran and Awami Action Committee also continued the sit-in at Itehad Chowk Gilgit.

Earlier, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman in his recorded statement warned the protesters warns Islamabad protesters not to take law into their hands. He said the government has already resolved the issues of local and withholding taxes. He said a committee has been trying to create this issue for their political gains.

The recorded statements released from Gilgit-Baltitan House Islamabad also features the statements of Speaker Haji Fida Muhammad Nashad, Deputy Speaker Jafarullah Khan, Chairman Standing Committee Ashraf Sada, Minister Education Haji Ibrahim Sanai, Member Gilgit-Baltistan Council Sultan Ali Khan and media Coordinator CM Rasheed Arshad on the ongoing Tax Issue in GB.

Meanwhile, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have started facing severe shortage of fuel due to the strike called by All Pakistan Oil Tankers and Contractors Association (APOTCA). APOTCA had stopped oil supplies on December 18 to Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral and Azad Kashmir demanding increase in freight charges.

Courtesy: Pamir Times

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