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LANDI KOTAL: The owners of industrial units in Khyber region held a protest demonstration against imposition of various federal taxes on them after merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Holding black flags and banners inscribed with slogans in support of their demands, the protesters marched from Jamrud Bazaar to Bab-i-Khyber.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Mirza Khan Afridi said that industries were affected badly during the last 15 years owing to militancy and acts of terrorism in the tribal regions that inflicted losses worth of millions of rupees of the unit owners.

He said that federal government slapped unjust taxes on them instead of announcing relief package for the tribal industrialists and compensating them for their losses.

Mr Afridi said that local industrials invested heavily in establishing various industrial units in the tribal areas despite limited resources and incentives from the government. “ The initiative has helped in creating job opportunities for thousands of local people alongside supporting the local economy,” he said.

He said that the government paid no heed to their repeated requests for compensation after the industry sector was badly affected by militancy.

Other speakers said on the occasion that imposition of sales tax and income tax on the revived industrial units would overburden them as they had not fully recovered from the monetary losses they had incurred during the time of militancy and military operations.

They said that imposition of new taxes, which they termed an economic murder of tribal people, would result in shutting down hundreds of industrial units and rendering thousands of workers jobless.

Demanding a 15-year exemption from all types of taxes, the unit owners said that law and order could be created in tribal areas if the industrial units were shut down and the workers were rendered jobless.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018