Byline: Mubarak Zeb Khan
ISLAMABAD -- The government has empowered the authorised officials to conduct raids and search the premises of those who are allegedly involved
in smuggling of currency and essential food items in a bid to control illegal flow of goods and currency from the country's eastern and western borders.
These powers and other measures, including penalties, will be implemented through a presidential ordinance, Covid-19 (Prevention of Smuggling), 2020, for a period of four months, which upon its expiry will become a part of the federal budget for the year 2020-21.
The authorised officials can also seize goods as well as auction them in accordance with the prescribed procedures. The proceeds of the auction will be deposited in the government exchequer. The officials will exercise these powers within a distance of five kilometres from any international border or within the premises of all airports.
Action will be taken under 'Covid-19 (Prevention of Smuggling), 2020' ordinance
The Federal Board of Revenue will notify in the next couple of days all those departments, authority and agency, including security or law enforcement agencies, officers of which will exercise such powers. These include police, the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Coast Guards, Intelligence Bureau, Frontier Constabularies, Frontier Corps, Levies and Rangers.
The items that will be covered within the purview of smuggling are foreign currency, gold and silver, precious stones, sugar, onions, pulses all sorts, salt, potatoes, gur, rice, wheat, flour all sorts, chemical fertilisers all sorts, livestock, maize, edible oil, hydrogenated or otherwise, therapeutic goods - drugs or alternative medicine or medical devices or biological or other related products.
The government will give reward equivalent to 10 per cent of the amount transferred to the government exchequer to informers. The amount will be raised from auctions of goods or foreign currency deposited in the government kitty.
Any person can qualify for a reward if he/she provides information to an officer with regard to any act or acts of smuggling which results in conviction and transfer of funds to the government kitty. Officials of federal, provincial or local governments cannot avail the facility of the reward.
Under the ordinance, the government has also elaborated the role of district administrations in terms of containing smuggling. Any official of...