ISLAMABAD - The government yesterday announced revocation of Customs Act 1969 in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata), on the persistent demand of the people of the area.

The Pata territory comprises of districts of Buner, Chitral, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Malakand, Swat, Shangla, and some parts of Kohistan district.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told a press conference on Sunday that the Customs Act was revoked on the request of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

The federal minister also informed that the plots allotted to the servicemen and dependents of martyrs would be exempted from Capital Gain Tax (CGT). CGT would not be applied on the selling of plots allotted to the heirs of the martyrs for one time only, he said.

Ishaq Dar said that tax would be reduced by 50 percent on the transaction of plots allotted to the government servants as well.

He said the President had approved Income Tax Amendment Ordinance Bill 2016 enforcing the package announced by the government on Saturday for valuation of fair market value of property immediately.

The legislation to enact the money bill would require at least one month, therefore, the government had decided to implement it immediately through an ordinance”. The normal process of legislation in this regard would be initiated in the upcoming Senate and National Assembly sessions, he added.

Replying a question, Dar said in the previous year the government earned around Rs8 billion revenue from the real estate sector which after legislation is likely to increase up to Rs 70 billion for the current fiscal year 2016-17.

He said no such steps could have been taken in the country’s 70-year history before. The present government, however, managed to bring the reforms which would help bring transparency in the real estate sector, he added.

Advice to PTI

To a question, the minister said that PML-N government was not afraid of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s agitation plan; however, it would be better for Imran Khan to focus on the mitigation of flood affected people of Chitral instead of staging protest rallies against the government.

Ishaq Dar once again expressed the government’s willingness to resolve the issues through negotiations and said that he had requested the National Assembly speaker to convene the meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Terms of Reference for Panama Papers, as he was convinced that the negotiation table is the best option to resolve it.

ToR panel meeting

He informed that he requested to hold the meeting of ToR panel on Monday but as Barrister Ch Aitzaz Ahsan was not available on the day so it could not be held today (Monday). He hoped that the panel would meet sometime in second week of August to restart negotiations.

The minister would be moving abroad in next few days for a week, so the meeting of the panel would likely be held after 7th of this month as PTI has already announced a protest rally on the day.

The minister said all the political forces should avoid activities hampering the economic development of the country rather they should supplement the government efforts towards that goal.

Earlier during the press conference, Ishaq Dar said that President Mamnoon Hussain, on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had signed the revocation of Customs Act in Pata the other day and the cancellation would take effect in a day or so.

He clarified that the Act was enforced on the request of KP government and now on its request it has been withdrawn.

A notification was issued by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home and Tribal Affairs Department on in March 28, 2016 for extending Customs Act to Pata which later triggered protests in different areas of the province.

“The KP government had sent a summary in May 2015 requesting that the Custom Act may be implemented in Pata which was duly approved by the President. However, after strong reaction from the Pata people as they suffered a lot due to this act, the KP government again sent a summary in May 2016 requesting to repeal it “, the minister added.

Under Article 247 of the constitution, the laws of the parliament and provincial assembly are not applicable to Pata unless the governor of KP extends a specific law with approval of the president.