KARACHI: Due to absolute non-cooperation from FC and law enforcement agencies AND bolstering the Customs enforcement capabilities, authorities have given the green light for the establishment of a specialized unit known as the Rapid Response Group (RRG), which will be headquartered at the Baleli Custom Offices & State Ware House Building.

Chief Collector Abdul Qadir Memon, Collector Quetta Irfan ur Rehman and Additional Collector Umar Shafique envisaged RRG as a strategic response to provide swift support to Field Enforcement Units and the Headquarters in their ongoing efforts against smuggling activities, intelligence gathering, and interdiction of illicit goods.

The RRG is set to encompass all the Mobile Squad Units that were previously under the jurisdiction of Headquarters. This consolidation of forces is designed to enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of customs operations. The composition of the RRG will feature Superintendents, Inspectors, Sepoys, UDC/LDCs, Helpers, Drivers, and an array of squad vehicles, the numbers of which will be determined by the competent authority based on the evolving requirements.

Heading the RRG will be the AC/DC (Assistant Collector / Deputy Collector) appointed for the purpose, while the senior-most officer stationed at the base will assume responsibility for the unit. The base station itself will function as a 24/7 residential facility, with all personnel permanently residing in the provided barracks. Additionally, official vehicles will remain stationed at the base unless specifically needed for official operations, and these vehicles are also expected to be utilized for the RRG’s transportation needs.

A pivotal component of the RRG’s operations is the establishment of a dedicated control room. Operating round-the-clock, this control room will be equipped with wireless communication, cell phones, and landline connections. It will serve as a vital coordination hub, fostering seamless communication between the RRG and various Customs Units scattered across the region.

The formation of the RRG stands as a pivotal step forward in fortifying Pakistan’s Customs enforcement landscape. By ensuring swift responses, enhancing intelligence gathering, and boosting interdiction efforts against the smuggling of illicit goods, the RRG is poised to play a crucial role in curbing illegal activities while promoting trade integrity and regulatory compliance. The unit’s establishment marks a noteworthy development in the ongoing efforts to safeguard the nation’s economic interests and secure its borders from unauthorized trade activities.

An official said FC was the most powerful force in Baluchistan, but they didn’t lend support to Customs in their anti-smuggling operations. The official said RRG will be of little significance. Customs personnel are quite helpless because the smugglers are heavily armed and when Customs officials return fire during anti-smuggling raids injuring or killing smugglers, customs would face a series of law suits.