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Opposition parliamentarian exposes corruption nexus, tax fraud in PoGB

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Gilgit [PoGB], June 25 (ANI): Nawaz Khan Naji, an opposition member of Parliament from Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB), raised his concerns on Monday over biased budgetary allocation in the financial budget presented at the assembly, according to a local news channel from PoGB.
In his statement, Naji said, " The fate of Pakistan is doomed; it is a well-known fact; the administration is incompetent and corruption is at its peak, so what will be the ultimate result is clear. Now PoGB is a colony of Pakistan; hence, our fate is also sealed. Every time the budget is allocated, money is given as a donation or alms, we deserve more than what we are given, which is also true."
Naji said that the allocations for schemes are not based on any logic and complained about the distribution of money to major corporations and projects.
"Neither we are given the right sum of money nor the money given to us is rightly distributed. The allocations for schemes are not based on any logic. We had participated with the Joint Awami Action Committee in their protests of demands to stop taxation essentials but should we not apply taxation rules to major corporations and projects that have been using PoGB resources for their benefit?" he asked.

"These major firms don't give a single penny in taxes but a general citizen is forced to pay huge sums of money as taxes. The local administration does not have the guts to tax major corporations that do business in PoGB using our land and people. I know several firms are entering PoGB now, just to save their taxes, as PoGB has now become the land of tax fraud. All this is happening, despite the general public paying heavy taxes. The conditions remain the same for the people, as there is no accountability of the government for paying taxes paid by the people," he added.
Another female leader from PoGB raised her concerns over ignorance of allotment over woman-related issues in the current budget.

In her statement, she mentioned, "The local administration remains a silent observer as the situations go from bad to worse. As the government is not empowered, the people are empowered. And the ultimate ruler of the PoGB is someone else as the local administration always acts as an advocate for the Pakistani administration."
Previously, the finance minister of Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB), Engineer Muhammad Ismail, presented the financial budget for the year 2024-25, totaling PKR 140.17 billion, on Tuesday.
In the tabled budget, PKR 86 billion was allocated for non-developmental expenses and PKR 34.60 billion was allocated to developmental projects, Dawn reported.
The budget was presented amid demonstrations by the opposition members at the parliament in Gilgit City.
According to Ismail, PKR 6.40 billion is estimated as non-tax revenue, and PKR 1.33 billion is estimated to be collected as revenue from PoGB authorities. Additionally, the budget deficit is estimated to be at PKR 11.92 billion.
However, a protest was initiated in the parliament house by the opposition leader, Kazim Mesum, and other members of the assembly.
Mesum in his statement claimed that the budget is inappropriate and neglects key sectors like health and agriculture.
According to the Dawn news report, the leader also alleged that the budget was biased towards making budgetary allocations, as funds were only approved for schemes that benefited members of the treasury bench.
The Minister of Agriculture, PoGB Kazim Mesum in a local news report, "I have raised my voice repeatedly but the administration is not interested in listening to our concerns. Instead of taking considerable actions to resolve our issues, we are being pushed into even more despair. The employees of various departments that had been protesting were promised that their needs would be fulfilled this time but we have read the budget cover to cover but no consideration has been given to those demands."
In the same local news report, while raising the issues raised by media professionals from PoGB Kazim Mesum stated that "Media professionals in PoGB had demanded an endowment fund, but no such allocations have been made in the budget. Similarly, we had raised the issue of vacant teacher positions in PoGB and had made adequate allocations during our time but in this budget, they have not made any allocations regarding this severe issue." (ANI)

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