JI announces protest against Custom Act

Peshawar: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has straightaway rejected extension of Custom Act to Malakand Division and announced to launch series of protest against the Federal government’s decision for levying tax on calamity hit people of Malakand.

In first phase, a shutter down strike will be observed in the division on April 11, 2016 and then All Party Conference (APC) will be held in this regard, if the federal government did not withdraw its decision, a sit-in would be the last option outside Governor’s House for indefinite period, informed the JI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Ameer Mushtaq Ahmad Khan while speaking at a news conference here at Press Club on Tuesday.

Flanked by provincial Ministers of JI Muzaffar Syed for finance, Habib-ur-Rahman for Auqaf and religious affairs, besides former an MNA and minister including Abdul Akbar Chitrali, Shah Raz Khan and others, he termed the custom Act an attempt to snatch morsel from the poor people of Malakand division who, he added were already passing through critical situation in term of poverty and natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and military operations against the militants.

He said that as per World Bank assessment in wake of destruction of infrastructure after military operation against militancy, Rs70billion were needed for rehabilitation and reconstruction Malakand, of which the federal government was responsible to pay Rs29billion while the rest amount would have been paid by donors but unfortunately only Rs 2billion out of the total were provided.

Instead of providing financial assistance to the affected people of military operations, the federal government started to further destroy the people in the guise of custom Act, which is unbearable to be imposed. “The Malakand had been declared as tax-free division at the time of its accession in Pakistan”, he claimed.

The provincial Ameer maintained that the ill-fated Malakand had been hit for several times as two times washed away almost the entire region by flood while the powerful earthquake two times jolted the division, adding to the miseries.

Mr Khan said the KP government demanding federal government to provide its share as per the poverty ratio and needs of the province.

He informed that the poverty ratio, significantly increased in the province particularly in Malakand division after natural calamities and military operations but despite the KP government repeated demands, the federal government is not paying heeds to its demands.

Dispelling the impression that the JI is part of coalition of the PTI-led provincial government remained silence over imposition of custom Act, he alleged that the federal government bypassed the KP government in this regard.

The JI stalwarts, therefore, appealed the federal government to withdraw its decision regarding extension of custom Act 1969.