Imposition of sales tax in Chitral

.. by Siraj Ulmulk

At a time like this when:

  • Our roads have been washed away
  • Our homes have been destroyed
  • Our mountains have been raped by indiscriminate use of explosives
  • Our rivers have been filled with debris
  • We see around us large yellow bins overflowing with non biodegradable waste.
  • Our hospitals only good at referring people with ordinary ailments to other hospitals in Peshawar 10 hrs travelling time away.
  • We pay unaffordable electricity bills more for load shedding than producing from our own rivers
  • Etc Etc Etc

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has just thrown the following bomb shell at us with cruelty and unashamedly:

“ The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has promulgated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sales Taxand Services Act 2022 for the imposition ,payment and collection of Sales Tax on Services ( STC) in the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and for matters connected herewith and incidental thereto. Whereas section 29 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sales tax on Services Act 2022 requires a person to register under the Act ( ibid) who ptovides any taxable services from his office or place of business in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ….”

In short this means that Chitral  along with the rest of the Malakand division and former tribal areas is no longer going to enjoy a tax free status which was given to it in view of the disadvantages it continues to face as an isolated and horribly under developed part of Pakistan.

At this time of our history Chitral has never been so adequately represented in both the National and the Provincial Assemblies. In fact the Mehtar of Chitral HH Fateh Ulmulk Ali Nasir, himself a lawyer, is our representative along with Ms Suraya Bibi and both are from PTI which rules Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Among all the districts included in the Malakand Division Chitral is the one most poorly served by any government infrastructure and yet because of the peace loving and disciplined nature of its people and the its ineffective and voiceless leadership it will be the first one to be axed. Just like it happened when the patwari’s arrived in Chitral before they were allowed a foot hold in the rest of the Malakand Division.

In the end of course the consumer will suffer but in Chitral that consumer is already suffering from many other disadvantages when he compares Chitral to other places in Pakistan so all that this Act will do is further discourage any business activity in Chitral and consequently increase poverty levels in a sensitive border area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  Will our public representatives please wake up to this shadow of gloom that is ready to envelope Chitral after our recent rains?? .. Siraj Ulmulk, Chitral 20 Apr 2024

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