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No plan to close down Bara markets: Dar

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Dar says the matter of Bara markets has political, administrative and social dimensions.—Reuters/File
Dar says the matter of Bara markets has political, administrative and social dimensions.—Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed the Senate on Thursday that the government had no plan to close down Bara markets in the country because the matter had political, administrative and social dimensions.

In a written reply submitted to the house, the minister said the status of Bara markets had been a matter of concern for years, but the government was helpless before the sellers of smuggled goods.

“Any operation against these markets requires complete support of the provincial governments and other stakeholders,” he said.

Also read: Smugglers abusing Afghan Transit Trade facility: FBR

He said the Pakistan Customs had approached the home and tribal affairs department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, police and other law-enforcement agencies for a coordinated action against such markets, but the effort could not materialise for lack of consensus among stakeholders and concerns over its implications on the already volatile law and order situation in the province.

The minister said initially Bara markets were set up at Bara in Khyber Agency in the late 1970s, but with the passage of time they spread to different parts of the country.

He said these markets were selling a mix of smuggled, legally imported and counterfeit goods having wide customer base due to reputation for comparatively cheap goods. He said Karkhano market established at the border between the settled district of Peshawar and Khyber Agency near Hayatabad was one of such markets.

Mr Dar said that as a matter of fact, the Federal Board of Revenue had reinvigorated its efforts by resorting to raids on storage dens of smuggled goods throughout the country on specific and authentic information and associating law-enforcement agencies.

He noted that a visible increase in seizure of smuggled goods had been witnessed as a result of the heightened enforcement efforts against smuggling.

He said in the first nine months (July-March) of the current financial year smuggled goods worth Rs21.48 billion had been confiscated against Rs7.4bn in 2013-14 and Rs5.3bn in 2012-13.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2015

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