Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an effort to bring down prices of essential food items and provide relief to the masses, on Tuesday ordered authorities to immediately launch a "large-scale" anti-smuggling crackdown across the country.
The decision was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by the premier in Islamabad about curbing the smuggling of food items and other goods.
"The smuggling of food items results in price hikes and hardships for the common man which is not acceptable in any condition," Prime Minister Imran said during the meeting, according to a series of tweets by the Prime Minister's Office.
He noted that smuggling is causing losses worth billions to the national economy. "Effective prevention of smuggling is a matter of national interest [therefore] no negligence will be tolerated in that regard," he added.
The meeting was attended by Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, the interior secretary, secretary national food security, acting chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), provincial home secretaries, and other senior officers.
The prime minister directed the Ministry of Interior, federal and provincial law-enforcement institutions, FBR and the provincial governments to immediately launch a joint anti-smuggling operation.
He ordered the interior ministry to present within the next 48 hours a report based on the actions being taken along with a comprehensive strategy.
The premier also directed officials to start taking short-term, medium-term and long-term measures while keeping in view the recommendations of the task force constituted to check smuggling.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were directed to present monitoring reports of the anti-smuggling crackdown to the prime minister on a regular basis.
After reviewing a progress report on the establishment of border markets along the western frontiers, Prime Minister Imran during the meeting issued directions to speed up progress on the establishment of border markets in Balochistan.
He further directed authorities to formulate a comprehensive policy regarding Iranian petroleum products and to utilise technology in efforts to curb smuggling.