FBR receives list of 53 Customs officers/officials, who need to be investigated

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has received a list of 52 officers/officials of Customs Anti-smuggling Organization (ASO) and Customs Intelligence & Investigation (I&I), and the military authorities have suggested FBR to investigate whether these officers/officials facilitated smuggling and illicit trade.

The list includes officers and officials who had been posted in Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) or Customs I&I in Quetta, Gwadar, Preventive Karachi and Hyderabad. These include officers and officials remained posted in the above mentioned formations during 2010 to 2015. Some of these are still posted in these formations.

This development is the part of anti-smuggling campaign being pursued jointly by civil government and military leadership. Chief of Staff General Raheel Shareef sent several officers home for corruption and being involved in smuggling during their postings between 2010-2015, when smuggling had surged beyond alarming levels.

Sources said military wants the FBR to investigate the officers and officials who remained posted in the above mentioned positions during the period to ascertain if any of these facilitated the dirty business.

Sources said the military earlier forwarded the list to Prime Minister, and the PM House moved the list to FBR. Since the FBR is quite occupied with the upcoming Federal Budget 2016-17, the required investigations could not be initiated in spirit. However, Chairman FBR forwarded names of  two BS-20 officers and one BS-19 officer from among the list to the Standing Committee of National Assembly for briefing.

Meanwhile, NAB Balochistan has taken a suo moto notice in this case and has initiated investigations. In addition to the above mentioned 52 officers/officials, NAB Balochistan has identified another 30 Customs employees for debriefing. However, NAB officials could not be contacted to confirm this information.

Sources said sensitive agencies is also working on another list and concrete evidence has already been compiled against them. This list has not been disclosed to FBR as yet.

This anti-smuggling campaign is a part of larger Zarb-e-Azb operation as money made from smuggling funds terrorists and anti-social elements.

It was known that sensitive agencies have started monitoring other government institutions to identify corrupt officials/officers for enabling crime and anti-social activities across the country.

In previous tenures, Pakistan had become a free ground for all sort of terrorist and foreign outfits, even such elements were being facilitated.

Apart from involvement in smuggling, various agencies are gathering evidence of corruption of officers/officials in other institutions as well including police, Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA).

Sources said smuggling of diesel from Iran through Gwadar was a big issue, as tons of money in this illicit trade was reportedly used for terrorist and sabotage activities.

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