Days after Islamabad rolled back its decision to impose taxes on the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan, the people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are gearing up to start an agitation against federal taxes.
PoK, which Pakistan refers to as 'Azad Kashmir', is under an illegal occupation of Pakistan who has no constitutional right to impose any tax.
However, the people in PoK have been paying taxes for decades.
Waqar Kazmi, an advocate, said, "We pay taxes on everything; sales tax, every product has sales tax and various other taxes go to Kashmir Council. It does not provide even ten percent of it. If they return our taxes our government can run properly. They have created a parallel government. The minister of Kashmir Council has at least twenty cars, some are owned by his family members and some by his relatives. The tax that we pay, from our hard earned money, we do not get benefit out of it, Kashmir Council eats it away."
The people in PoK have suffered due to this unlawful tax regime.
Kazmi further said, "We have to ask for (our own resources), we should not be asking for it. We have our own resources to develop ourselves. We should have the ownership of these resources to develop. With these resources we can develop our region and benefit our people."
Recently, a massive campaign was launched against illegal taxation in Gilgit Baltistan, which forced the government to roll back its decision.
Part of an erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and PoK are under illegal occupation of Pakistan since 1947.