A gang of smugglers, led by various private firms in Karachi with the connivance of custom collectors, is involved in smuggling of a huge quantity of goods to Kabul under the garb of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT), resulting in huge losses to the national exchequer, according to Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Tuesday.
Two private firms, Junaid Brothers and Syed Brothers, in Karachi were found to have a huge quantity of tyres in their warehouses, which led to suspicion that the goods may be smuggled to Afghanistan, Shaikh told the Senate, in a written reply to a question from Senator Talha Mahmood.
Senior officials of the of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) were actively working for the release of impounded goods without any proper evaluation, he said.
The probe, initiated by the Customs Intelligence, revealed that the collectors in association with various private firms were supervising and handling the whole operation to smuggle tyres to neighbouring countries.
Disciplinary proceedings are being conducted against the then Intelligence and Investigation director for Karachi Khalid Naseem and then additional director Raza on charges of inefficiency, misconduct and corruption.
Replying to another question, the finance minister said more than 18 officials were involved in various cases and inquiries were being conducted against them accordingly.
Shaikh informed that bank loans of the Malakand Division districts, which include Malakand, Swat, Buner and Chitral, have been written off under the prime minister’s fiscal relief package for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Pata.
The relief package was extended to four districts and divisions, in pursuance of the recommendations finalised after consultation with all stakeholders, including the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, chamber of commerce and industries and the State Bank of Pakistan, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2011.
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