KARACHI: The issuance of daily gold rates by the All Pakistan Gem and Jewellers Association (APGJA) has remained suspended for the last four days due to a crackdown by law enforcement agencies on gold mafia, speculators and smugglers.

The association last released the rate of one tola at Rs215,000 and Rs184,585 for 10 grams on Tuesday, showing a jump of Rs5,600 and Rs5,058, respectively, from Monday despite a drop of $15 per ounce in world gold rate to $1,911 amid persistent rising rupee value against the dollar, which usually reduces the landed cost of imported goods.

The association’s chairman Haji Haroon Rasheed Chand on Friday ran a recorded message in his group that for the last three to four days, the authorities (law enforcement agencies) had been calling us and in the meantime picked up five members of the association for creating demand and supply gap and speculative trading.

He said he had protested to the authorities that while on one hand, negotiations were going on, bullion traders were rounded up. Later the traders were released unconditionally.

The authorities had shown their intention to suspend bullion trading for three months to bring down rates besides stopping speculative trading on which Mr Chand had assured the authorities for not letting speculators gain any ground besides ensuring to promote legal trade and encourage documentation in the yellow metal.

Later another message was sent in the group that the association’s president had announced regarding resuming the daily gold rate from Saturday in which only physical trading would be done rather than any speculative and weekly transactions. Rates would be issued from Saturday after proper consultations. The message further said that Haji Chand had assured the authorities that the market rates would be issued on a fair and proper mechanism instead of speculation.

Despite claims, no gold rates were issued on Saturday with a message running in the group that meetings and negotiations were underway.

As the daily gold rates are issued on rupee-dollar parity and international prices, the domestic rates had, however, remained controversial as the rates were kept higher despite a drop in world market rates and stability in the exchange rates. Sometimes, the rates were held unchanged despite the rise in world market rates and the rupee fall against the dollar.

Later, Haroon Chand told Dawn that the Association would hopefully start releasing the rates on Monday or Tuesday.

On Friday, media reports suggested that a task force comprising intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies has been formed to initiate a crackdown on the gold mafia and take legal action after grabbing smugglers. Besides, the gold trade would also be computerised.

He said he cannot confirm about the formation of the task force and computerization of trade, terming it just media reports.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2023

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