ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday ordered tough action against smugglers of wheat, sugar, urea and other commodities which have caused massive increase in prices of these and other commodities in the country.
Presiding over a meeting to review measures to curb smuggling, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over “the bumper crop of wheat this year which has broken the 10-year record”.
“With the blessing of Allah Almighty and the government’s efforts, the country has got a bumper wheat crop, breaking the record of the last 10 years,” the prime minister said.
He said the government would never allow smugglers to create problems for the masses.
The people had the first right over the bumper wheat crop achieved due to farmers’ hard work and the government’s efforts, despite heavy rains and floods just before the harvesting season.
Shehbaz forms steering committee to monitor and curb smuggling
Mr Sharif said the government had also started implementing a plan to ensure uninterrupted supply of urea to farmers for the next crop.
The prime minister also formed a steering committee, to be headed by himself, to curb the menace of smuggling.
“I will never allow some black sheep to usurp the rights of the people, and will not rest until the country got rid of the menace of smuggling,” an official press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) quoted the prime minister as saying.
Mr Sharif directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to personally visit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to meet provincial authorities and submit a report in this regard.
He said officials involved in the smuggling or showing negligence would be immediately sacked and a departmental action would also be taken against them.
He also instructed officials concerned to confiscate goods being smuggled and hold a proper investigation to trace the actual culprits involved in the smuggling.
He also called for increasing the number of anti-smuggling courts and building their capacity to cope with the smuggling problem besides ensuring early hearing of cases and strict punishments to culprits.
The meeting was briefed in detail about anti-smuggling efforts on the district and provincial borders.
The meeting was told that the number of joint check-posts of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) in Balochistan’s bordering districts had been increased to 10 and a regular joint patrolling was being carried out there to check smuggling of food and other items.
The meeting was also informed that over the last few weeks, around 6,000 tons of smuggled goods had been recovered from Khuzdar.
Moreover, the smuggled goods weighing 4,342 tons were confiscated just over the last week from convoys of trucks and warehouses.
The prime minister was further informed at the meeting that on a tip-off by officials of intelligence institutions, officials found involved in facilitating smuggling of goods were removed and replaced by honest officials.
The prime minister lauded efforts of law-enforcement agencies and intelligence officials for curbing the menace of smuggling.
He lauded efforts of the foreign ministry for safe evacuation of standard Pakistanis in Sudan.
Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2023