Senate committee comes to the rescue of traders reportedly involved in smuggling

KARACHI: The Senate Committee on Customs has come forward in support of traders reportedly involved in smuggling, and recommended action as well inquiries against Customs officials spearheading the anti-smuggling campaign.

In a report, Senate Committee criticized procedure to make surprise visit by Custom authorities on the business community (importers/exporters), especially for the businessmen of Quetta and Karachi, who feel insecure due to these actions of Customs authorities.

Senate committee in its report recommended that all the pending cases regarding confiscated tyres from Karachi shops should be finalized within one month and all those tyres whose documents have been verified should be released to the concerned owners as soon as possible.

With regard to pending cases with FBR-Custom Quetta of perishable items lying under open sky, the Committee directed that FBR must take remedial action and solve the pending cases within one month.

The Committee recommended that the assets of an employee of Custom namely Superintendent Iftikhar Hasan should hold an inquiry against him as to how a low paid employee can earn such huge assets/money.

An official said such action against superintendent Iftikhar Hasan was not surprising as anyone who is working honestly feels the heat. NAB is also likely to start inquiry against Iftikhar Hasan based on any fake complaint.

Sources criticized the role of certain parliamentarians and senators for hindering anti-smuggling activities. Sources aid when FBR started scanning and examination of transit trade consignments and containers passing through Afghan border to check smuggling and pilferage of goods during transit, certain senators and parliamentarians intervened and examination as well as scanning of consignments was stopped.

Similarly, BS-20 officer Zeba Bashir then Director Transit Trade was targeted by fake complaints and inquiries. She stopped unfit for human consumption sugar going to Afghanistan, and fake complaints were lodged against her and again certain parliamentarians pressurized FBR to take action against her.

Senate Committee recommended that FBR should constitute a Committee under the headship of an Islamabad-posted officer (not from Karachi) and the Committee will look into the grievances of the laborers & tyre shop owners.

In the arrest case of Manzoor Ahmed, Union President of tyre shops, Karachi, the Committee directed that FBR should look into the matter by an Islamabad based-officer as the FIR was lodged against Manzoor Ahmed with malafide and biased intention.

The committee recommended that it must be ensured that actual commodities and quality of confiscated goods has been shown in the FIR launched so the actual goods be given back to owners if they complete the legal requirements.

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