Customs Intelligence & Investigation to be transformed into independent authority |

Customs Intelligence & Investigation to be transformed into independent authority

KARACHI: In order to effectively control smuggling on sustainable basis, the government has decided to transform Customs Intelligence & Investigation into an independent authority to be headed by a chairman. The Customs Intelligence Authority will not be under the control of Federal Board of Revenue, confirmed Chairman FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi. Sources said personnel from armed forces would be appointed in the planned authority on deputation to assist existence Customs intelligence staff. It was also known that the summary in this regard has already been prepared and the plan would go into implementation phase quite soon. An official said it was a good development and help enhance efficiency and effectiveness of Customs Intelligence and anti-smuggling organization. However, the official said unless and until Afghan Transit Trade is streamlined, it would be next to impossible to control smuggling. The official said a quota of importable goods should be fixed for the goods imported under Afghan Transit Trade (ATT). The quota of importable goods should be prepared on the basis of demand of these goods in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Pakistani authorities should collect duty and taxes on the goods imported under ATT and then the same could be transferred to Afghanistan government on same model India has adopted for transit trade to Nepal. Afghan Transit Trade is the primary source of smuggling into Pakistan. It is a known fact that ATT consignments were pilfered during transit and in most of the cases goods which are transported to Afghanistan from Pakistan’s ports are smuggled back into Pakistan. Sources said Afghan government always refused to cooperate with Pakistan’s authorities to deal with this issue, which confirms involvement of Afghan government officials in this smuggling business. The official informed that as Pakistan’s Customs and enforcement authorities launched a crackdown on certain smuggling prone importable goods such as fabric, betel nut and auto parts; import of the very goods under ATT multiplied. In order to make the planned authority more efficient and more disciplined, it is likely that an Army officer might be heading this authority.  
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