Jirga asks govt to extend tax-free status of Malakand for 10 years.

SWAT -- Elders and leaders of political parties here on Saturday demanded the government to extend the tax exemption for Malakand division for 10 years.

They were speaking in a jirga organised by Jamaat-i-Islami at its centre in Sangota, Swat. It was presided over by party's provincial deputy chief MPA Inayatullah Khan.

Leaders of almost all political parties, lawyers, businessmen, elders and members of civil society participated in the meeting and discussed the problems being faced by the people of Malakand division.

They said that people of Malakand could not afford any more unrest and military operations on their land and if any elements tried to sabotage peace all people of the region would stand united against them.

Leaders of political parties, elders and traders attend the gathering in Swat

The jirga members also discussed the region's special status. After the meeting, a joint declaration was issued stating that despite being independent states till 1969 the people of all the states in Malakand division fought wars for the survival and security of Pakistan.

'The people of Malakand division also accepted the merger with Pakistan with an open heart and by accepting the integration in 1969 with Pakistan the region was given a separate status under Article 246-247 and was declared a tax-free zone in the Constitution,' they said.

They said that despite all these sacrifices the separate and special constitutional status of Malakand division was abolished without taking the people of the area into confidence.

'We are not ready to accept this move of the government and we demand that Malakand division...

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