ISLAMABAD: The federal government has formed a committee to curb smuggling. The committee has been tasked with closely monitoring each and every aspect of smuggling, especially on the borders, and submit a detailed report within one month.
During a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House on Monday, it was decided that Interior Minister Brig (retd) Ejaz Ahmed Shah would head the committee, while representatives of the ministries of interior, commerce, finance, and the FBR, provincial governments and other relevant organisations would be its members.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Imran stressed the need to control the menace of smuggling, saying it has inflicted heavy losses on the national economy.
“It is extremely necessary to control smuggling so that the government efforts for promotion of industrialisation bear fruit,” said PM Imran. “To pull the country out of the debt trap, agriculture as well as industrial sectors need to be developed and for that smuggling and sale and purchase of smuggled products have to be curbed.”
Imran said in the past effective steps were not taken to stop smuggling of items of daily use, while smuggling of foreign exchange by prominent personalities caused a constant decrease in the value of the rupee against the dollar.
He said the incumbent government had taken concrete steps for the restoration and development of the industrial sector and stopping smuggling was one of them.
The meeting was also briefed on the steps taken to regulate Afghan Transit Trade (ATT), discourage smuggling of oil and diesel through the Pakistan-Iran border, trade activities of the people living on the western borders and other issues.
The committee will also review the issues related to misuse of ATT, necessary amendments in the present laws and other issues and will present its recommendations in one month.
The officials of the ministries of commerce and interior and the FBR briefed the meeting about the issues regarding smuggling and the issues the country faced because of it.
Interior Minister Brig (retd) Ejaz Ahmed Shah, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Trade Adviser Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Special Assistant Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI DG, interior secretary Maj (retd) Azam Sulaiman, Commerce Secretary Ahmed Nawaz Sukheira, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, chief secretaries of K-P and Balochistan, and other senior military and civilian officers were in attendance.
Separately, Prime Minister Imran met Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad on Monday and discussed matters related to national security.