Pakistan Customs forms Special Intelligence Unit to fight smuggling |

Pakistan Customs forms Special Intelligence Unit to fight smuggling

KARACHI: Director General Customs Intelligence & Investigation Muhammad Zahid Khokhar has formed a separate section ‘Special Intelligence Unit (SIU)’ that would exercise the function and authorities of both Research & Development (R&D) as well as Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO). Principal Appraiser MCC Appraisement East Dost Muhammad has been delegated special power of Superintendent, and posted as Superintendent SIU with a view to straighten affairs at the Customs Intelligence & Investigation and eliminate controlled smuggling. He will report directly to Assistant Director R&A branch. Dost Muhammad is a highly reputed official, and he has detected several mega frauds securing significant amount of government revenue. Dost Muhammad also detected the infamous Export Processing Zone (EPZ) cargo replacement scam. It was due to the efforts of Dost Muhammad that the prime facilitator of this scam Mushtaq Leghari, an EPZ officer of Grade-20, was arrested. Four Intelligence Officers (IOs) including Jahanzeb Khan, Khayam Hussain Mirza, Shuja Salam and Muhammad Saleem have been posted at SIU under Dost Muhammad. An official said that when Muhammad Zahid Khokhar assumed the office of Director General Customs Intelligence & Investigation, Customs Intelligence was a mess and smuggling was flourishing under the patronage of top officer of the Customs Intelligence, while a large number of officers and officials were facilitating the unscrupulous elements. Zahid Khokhar has already initiated the streamlining and straightening the affairs at the Customs Intelligence & Investigation and formation of SIU under the supervision of an able official such as Dost Muhammad is a step in that direction. SIU will work as an information gathering and intelligence sharing section, which would help in curtailing smuggling as well as identifying black sheep in the official ranks. A study conducted earlier this fiscal year estimates that 59 percent of the total demand for products of over half a dozen sectors of the formal economy, including petroleum, tea, mobile phones and auto parts industry, is met through illicit trade of smuggled goods. Pakistan’s smuggling-to-GDP ratio is not only significantly higher than the countries of the region, which operate more or less under the same dynamics, but is also higher when compared to countries having a similar GDP.
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