Protests in Gilgit Baltistan over chief secretary’s derogatory remarks
On May 10, the chief secretary was confronted by representatives of the Falahi Committee of Ghanche, a local welfare organisation, over poor health facilities in the area.
The chief secretary is seen in the video scolding Khadim Hussain, an activist, for calling the region a disputed territory.
He also said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were lax in paying their taxes.”How much tax have you been paying to the government? Tell me, how much tax you and your people pay? You have not paid a single rupee. Keep your hands down.The Government of Pakistan has paid 100 billion rupees to Gilgit Baltistan. How much have you paid?”, asked Tarar during his heated conversation with Hussain.
Protesters burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the chief secretary and demanded his immediate removal from the region. Several GB organisations based across Pakistan also condemned the chief secretary for his comment.
Tanzeem Nojawanan-e-Amal (TNA), a youth organisation based in Rawalpindi, said in a video statement, “Your (chief secretary) statement gives a smell of discrimination. I fear when your ill-mannered attitude takes a linguistic and nationalistic turn.
Pakistan’s treatment of the people of Gilgit Baltistan as third-class citizens by implementing GB Order 2018 is highly condemnable.”Gilgit Baltistan is part of an erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite being a disputed territory, the region has been paying all indirect taxes to the Government of Pakistan.
Local residents are not required to pay direct taxes to Islamabad because it does not have any representation in the national parliament.
Locals believe Pakistan has been earning billions from Gilgit-Baltistan in lieu of tourism taxes, minerals and trade with China.
These federal earnings will increase exponentially with the progress of multi-billion dollar CPEC project, but the locals say they never be able to know what happens to the taxes, because the region, so far, even does not have a ceremonial representation in any decision-making body.