Afghan good in transit pilfered in Pakistan

Thursday, January 20, 2011

ISLAMABAD - A large number of containers carrying Afghan trade goods have been pilfered inside Pakistan without crossing the border, causing a loss of approximately 19 billion to 37 billion rupees to the national exchequer during the last four years, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has been informed.

On Wednesday, the Federal Tax Ombudsman submitted a comprehensive report regarding fraud in the garb of Afghan Transit Trade, which testified that over 50,000 transit containers carrying Afghan trade goods had been pilfered inside Pakistan.

Hearing the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) containers case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary observed that the revelations made in the report was just the tip of the iceberg, as further investigations could divulge much more.

“We have gone through the report, which is not only comprehensive to the point with the reference mentioned in the complaint of smuggling of foreign goods in the name of Afghan Transit Trade,” The Nation quoted Chaudhary, as saying.

While the report prima facie concluded that action was required to be taken against all concerned officials of Customs, the court stated that for the sake of justice, it would be appropriate to provide them an opportunity of hearing, so that they might also forward their comments in view of the report.

Observing that right from top to bottom, officials were involved in the case, the apex court asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, Salman Siddique, to proceed against the officials allegedly involved in the case, get them handcuffed and present their report in the court.

“We have to take some measures and finalise the nitty-gritty of the plans,” the FBR chief replied.

The case has been adjourned till January 27. (ANI)

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