MIRANSHAH: Traders and shopkeepers on Tuesday resented the imposition of new taxes by the political administration on trucks and vehicles transporting edibles to North Waziristan. Talking to The News, a trader at the newly-constructed Pakistan Market in Miranshah, the administrative headquarters of North Waziristan, Abdul Hakeem, lamented that the political administration had overburdened the people with new taxes.

He said that though the traders and shopkeepers used to pay tax for the goods they transported to North Waziristan, the administration had imposed new taxes on the transportation of goods. The trader said the new taxes have been introduced after the return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to native areas in North Waziristan.

“First, the administration minted millions of rupees from the retuning displaced families in the name of registration of their vehicles and then gradually expanded its tax network to other goods,” he added.

He said the administration forced the traders and shopkeepers to pay Rs3,000 extra for a heavy transport vehicle and Rs2,500 per light transport vehicle. He said taxes were even imposed on scrap transported outside North Waziristan.

“One has to pay Rs10,000 per truck for taking scrap outside North Waziristan,” he added.He said that taxes were imposed on items of daily use which were not entitled to levy earlier. “There was no tax on transportation of vegetables, eggs, hens and other small items but these goods were brought into the net of self-imposed taxes by the political administration,” he added.

He said the administration also doubled the tuition fee for the students of the Governor Model School which would affect the study of students.  A shopkeeper Shams said the personnel of the Khassadar and Levies forces deployed at various points on roads leading to Miranshah were also exploiting the situation.

He alleged the truckers were made to pay ‘extortion’. He said that shopkeepers could not bring small grocery items in public transport vehicles without the permit. “I am a small shopkeeper and bring some grocery items in public transport vehicles. On several occasions, the administration officers stopped and sent back the public transport vehicles to Bannu when they saw grocery items loaded onto it,” he added.

The traders and shopkeepers asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to take note of the situation and stop the administration from charging extra tax on edibles transported to North Waziristan.

The news was published in The News International on 26th July 2017.

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