Interior minister says prize money to be given to informants against smuggling, hoarding

Published September 10, 2023
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. —
Ministry of Interior GoP X account
Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — Ministry of Interior GoP X account

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti on Sunday said prize money would be given to citizens who provided information on smuggling, hoarding and illegal immigrants.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said: “We are announcing prize money for those people … who become our informants and tell us where smuggling and hoarding, [including] of dollars, is happening.

“We are also setting prize money for [information] on illegal immigrants and the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) is leading that [initiative].”

Bugti added that a toll-free number would be set up at the FIA and interior ministry on which any Pakistani could call to help the government.

He said the government had achieved considerable success against in curbing the smuggling of various items, including the US dollar.

However, he said because of the success, the culprits had resorted to hoarding and artificially setting prices of items such as wheat and sugar, adding that a crackdown was under way on them as well.

“The entire cabinet and government has decided that all of our institutions and provincial governments will go to the extreme against these evils of smuggling and hoarding.”

Bugti said a “zero-tolerance” policy would be adopted against all hoarders and smugglers, adding that the culprits would be sent to jail, prosecuted, sent to courts and sentenced.

“It is shameful that these people are living amongst us and doing these things to the people of our country only,” he stated, adding that even stricter punishments would be meted out to those members of his ministry who were involved in such activities.

On Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar had said an operation to curb cross-border smuggling was initiated across the country.

“The crackdowns carried out during the last 48 hours against smuggling have yielded positive results,” the premier had said without giving any further details.

The government has been under a lot of pressure to curb smuggling as prices of goods, especially food items, have risen steeply reportedly on the back of unchecked movement across the border.

Recently, sugar prices hit record levels in various parts of the country due to smuggling, with growers claiming almost a million tonnes of the commodity made its way across the border into Afghanistan over the past year.

Meanwhile, FIA Punjab Director Sarfraz Virk had told Dawn on Saturday that it had begun action against those involved in foreign currency smuggling to Afghanistan and surveillance was enhanced at all airports to stop the carriers from taking the foreign currency abroad beyond the prescribed limit.

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