ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the FBR to constitute a joint task force of Customs and law-enforcing agencies to control smuggling, transportation and business of Iranian petroleum products throughout Pakistan.

The FTO in a suo moto case said the inaction against smuggling causes huge losses to the government revenue and a constant hazard to the life and property of people.

The ombudsman stated that the failure of Customs and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to act against smuggling and sale of Iranian petroleum products on main roads reflects their inefficiency, incompetence and ineptitude in discharge of their duties.

According to the report, during investigation, Collectorate MCC Quetta, Gwadar and Directorate I&I have expressed their inability to eradicate the menace claiming shortage of manpower and logistics, while shifting the responsibility to LEAs even though curbing smuggling of petroleum products is a direct mandate of Customs.

The FTO report said illegal petrol pumps can be seen on main roads in all directions and are visible to everyone except Customs and LEAs. The incident at Hub resulting in the loss of 26 lives and 17 seriously burnt should be an eye opener for both institutions, it added.

Meanwhile, the plea of Police Department is that neither can it initiate action nor has the force to do so.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2020

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