ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Sh­e­h­baz Sharif was apprised on Friday that government officials were facilitating elements involved in the misuse of Afghan Transit Trade for smuggling.

During a meeting chaired by the PM on smuggling, a committee rep­ort was presented, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). “The committee identified the elements involved in the misuse of Afghan Transit Trade for smuggling and the officers facilitating them,” the report stated.

The PM was informed that a list of smugglers, hoarders, and their facilitating officers had be­en forwarded to law enforcement agencies and provincial governments.

Consequently, the PM directed the removal of the identified officers from their respective posts and the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against them.

Shehbaz orders removal of officers found involved, accelerating anti-smuggling drive

During the meeting, the prime minister paid tribute to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Syed Asim Munir for his full cooperation with the government in its endeavour against smuggling.

The report of the investigation committee, headed by A.D. Khawaja, was presented at the meeting.

Calling for punishment to smugglers and drug dealers, the prime minister asked the law ministry to carry out legislation immediately for this purpose.

The PM emphasised more effective and swift monitoring of the sale and smuggling of Afghan Transit Trade goods in the country, calling for a third-party audit of the monitoring system.

PM Shehbaz ordered the complete elimination of sugar smuggling and immediate release of funds to examine the prevalence of drug consumption. The meeting was apprised of smu­g­gling, misuse of Afghan Transit Trade, drugs, sugar, wheat, fertiliser, petroleum products, and illegal weapons.

The meeting was informed that law enforcement agencies raided a godown of smuggling goods a couple of days ago in Mastung, seizing goods worth over Rs10 billion.

Later, an EU delegation led by Ambassador Riina Kionka paid a courtesy call on PM Shehbaz. The prime minister appreciated the EU’s continued support through the GSP Plus scheme and expressed interest in engaging with the EU’s Global Gateway Strategy through the European Investment Bank.

The EU ambassador briefed the PM on cooperation initiatives, inclu­ding ongoing dialogues on migration and mobility issues, and facilitating European businesses in Pakistan. Progress on the resumption of flights from Pakistan to EU countries was also discussed.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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