KARACHI: Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar on Monday directed the excise and taxation department to launch an operation against the drug mafia and coordinate with other agencies to curb the menace.

He issued these directives while chairing a meeting here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary to CM Agha Wasif, Excise Secretary Atif Rehman, Excise director general Waheed Shaikh, and others.

“Drug paddling in educational institutions and presence of drug addicts in parks and markets are unacceptable. Therefore, the excise police in collaboration with district police and Anti-Narcotics Force must start a clean-up operation,” he said.

The CM asked the authorities to submit him progress reports on a weekly basis.

Caretaker CM asks officials to seek help from ANF, police

He was told that the taxes levied and collected by the excise department included motor vehicle tax, infrastructure cess, excise duty, tax on professions, and trade callings and employment, entertainment duty and cotton fee.

The excise secretary said the department controlled the manufacturing and sale of articles such as intoxicating liquor (PMFL & Beer), rectified spirit, denatured spirit, and methanol.

The CM directed the excise and taxation department to activate its narcotics control wing and develop a close coordination with district police and ANF. “You have their separate force. Involve them in curbing drug trafficking and paddling,” he ordered.

The excise department officials briefed the CM about their achievement including payment of motor vehicle tax through an online system / portal, online services and alternate delivery mechanism that started in October 2020.

Online verification of import documents for the registration of imported vehicles was also practiced to counter and plug in fake documentation, the CM was told.

The excise dept has introduced security featured MVR smart cards recently, replacing motor vehicle registration books., call center helpline for excise, taxation & narcotics department had also been introduced recently.

Meanwhile, the caretaker CM said that his priority is centred on promoting continuous technological improvements and upgrades to increase the competitiveness of the agriculture sector, including the sugar industry.

He said that the government of Pakistan recently established a high-powered Special Investment Facilitation Council to attract investments from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the fields of Defence, Agriculture, Minerals, IT, and Energy.

This he said while speaking at the inaugural session of the 55th annual convention of the Pakistan Society of Sugar Technologists (PSST).

The caretaker CM said that as a member of SIFCs Apex Committee, he was determined to focus on channelling investments to boost the productivity and competitiveness of Sindh’s agriculture sector, including the sugar industry.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2023

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