Rumors about abolishing of tax – free status of Malakand

It has been reportedly learnt that the Chief minister of KP Mahmood Khan has issued directives to all the ministries/ departments and quarters concerned to fulfill all the legal formalities before tabling any bill or law in the house for legislation. They have been further directed to share and discuss the theme of the bill with the concerned departments- so that all the stake holders and relevant quarters may be taken on board regarding that particular bill or law.

The CM has also in a meeting cleared that Malakand Division-is a tax free zone and this particular status and exemption from taxes had been granted to it by the federal government . So this particular and exclusive status of the region i.e. exemption from taxes will remain intact and no one will be allowed to snatch this particular right of its people. He has also hinted that the existing laws of the region will also remain the same and the prevailing situation of federal administrative tribal areas (FATA) will have no effect upon the exclusive status of Malakand division -even its special tax free zone status will further be regularized and consolidated. It merits mentioning here that the people of Malakand division, now a days are very much concerned about the retention of special status of the region especially after the merger of the feudally administrative tribal areas into KP.

They have expressed their reservations and apprehensions that alongside the implementation of new taxes and laws in the region – the status of Darul-Qaza, is also being abolished altogether. It is a fact that the people of Malakand Division have welcomed the merger of new districts as a significant move and development in KP history-but they have also vehemently demanded of the government to retain the historical and exclusive status of the division as the area had been exempted from all kind of taxes since the days of the ex state of Swat. The opposition in the KP assembly had also made protest over the tabling of new bill in the house regarding Malakand division. But they were not aware about the new development in this respect.

However it is the responsibility of the KP government to dismiss all the rumors and misconceptions regarding the abolishing of tax – free status of Malakand and need to get all the stake holders into confidence before making any legislation in the house so that any loopholes and ambiguity whatsoever in this respect may be removed.

It is no doubt that the CM of KP is fully cognizant of the problems and issues of the people of Malakand division and need to raise and discuss this issue with federal government to wipe out the apprehensions and reservations being expressed by the people – regarding the implementation of new taxes. It is hoped that the incumbent government of KP will take practical and solid measures in this regard and the exclusive status of the division will be retained.

Only after the area people take a sigh of relief and satisfaction.

Shaukat Hayat Buneri


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