Misbah Ud Din Utmani

The Bajaur political alliance has staunchly rejected the decision to register non-custom paid (NCP) vehicles and has set a fine of 5 lakhs for anyone registering such vehicles.

In a ‘Jirga’ hosted by Jamaat-e-Islami at Bajaur Press Club to address the registration of NCP vehicles, leaders of the Bajaur political alliance, tribal chiefs, and prominent business figures were in attendance. The jirga unanimously resolved that until the government upholds the commitments made in the 25th constitutional amendment, no taxes will be remitted to the government, and vehicle registration will remain suspended in Bajaur.

The Jirga also resolved that individuals registering their vehicles would incur not only a financial penalty of five lakhs in accordance with tribal customs but would also face social ostracization.

Conversely, the district administration has declared the Jirga’s decision to lack legal standing, affirming their commitment to enforcing government directives.

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Chairman of the Jirga and former MNA, Sahibzada Haroon ur Rasheed, conveyed to TNN that the Jirga was a representative tribal gathering convened to address NCP vehicle registration and taxation enforcement in the Malakand division.

He pointed out that the 25th constitutional amendment, inspired by the recommendations of the Sartaj Aziz Committee, had promised an economic development package for the tribal districts. This package includes an annual allocation of 100 billion rupees until 2028 and a three percent share in the NFC. However, to date, these funds have not been disbursed to the tribal districts, nor have they received their share in the NFC. Meanwhile, the people in these regions are being subjected to taxes.

Rasheed argued that any discussion of taxation enforcement and vehicle registration could only occur after the government fulfilled its responsibilities, ensuring parity between the tribal districts and the rest of the country. He emphasized that the Jirga had unanimously resolved not to accept coercive measures unless the government honored the commitments derived from the recommendations of the Sartaj Aziz Committee, which have been ratified by Parliament and constitutionally safeguarded.

He emphasized that any registration would be deemed an act against the tribals, leading to social ostracization and a fine of five lakhs.

Assistant Commissioner Khar, Mohibullah Yousafzai, affirmed that vehicle registration was proceeding throughout the Malakand division, in accordance with the decisions of the provincial and federal governments. He stated that their role was to execute this decision, with the formal inauguration of vehicle registration conducted under the Deputy Commissioner’s guidance.

He revealed that one registration center was allocated in Tehsil Atmanakhil, with two in Tehsil Khar, each under the supervision of the Excise and Taxation Department, Police, and District Administration. Yousafzai argued that the Jirga’s decision was invalid, urging them to engage with the provincial and federal governments if they had reservations about vehicle registration.

It’s pertinent to mention that the district administration issued a message to NCP vehicle owners, asserting that they had no records of NCP vehicles in Bajaur, as in adjacent districts. The administration called upon NCP vehicle owners to commence registration with the district administration from the 25th of this month.