Govt tasks FIA to take action against profiteers

ISLAMABAD: The caretaker government on Friday announced that it directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to exercise its authority and take necessary measures to curb the smuggling of sugar and US dollars in the country.
In a meeting chaired by Federal Interior Minister Senator Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, the government has empowered the FIA to exercise its authority to tackle the prevailing smuggling issue.
A letter pertaining to FIA’s newly granted authority has been issued in this regard. The FIA will tackle activities pertaining to the smuggling of sugar, fertilisers, petroleum products, US dollars and other foreign currencies.
The investigative agency will be able to exercise its authority and take necessary measures at all entry and exit points of foreign currencies.
Furthermore, FIA’s zonal directors have been instructed to report to the agency’s headquarters on a day-to-day basis via relevant channels.
Meanwhile, an inspector-level officer belonging to FIA’s anti-money laundering directorate has been appointed as a focal person.
It is pertinent to mention that the caretaker government last month announced its decision to import 1 million metric tonnes of sugar at an inflated price of Rs220 per kilogramme to address the depleted stock of the commodity in the country.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has linked the surge in sugar prices to unabated sugar smuggling to Afghanistan through Balochistan and KP, Geo News reported on Monday.
In a separate development today, FIA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) arrested two suspects involved in the illegal exchange of money and currency business and recovered Rs131 million.
The suspects Sher Zaman and Mohammad Saleem, were arrested from KP’s Nowshera district. A case has been registered against the suspects under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.
Earlier, FIA’s Dera Ismail Khan region on Thursday announced the apprehension of five persons allegedly involved in illegal Hundi-hawala business and recovered millions of rupees during various raids conducted over the last month.
The FIA team had also recovered Rs950,000 amount and receipts of the Hundi-hawala business from the accused, Deputy Director FIA Dera Region Abdul Hai Babar said.
It is to be noted that caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Tuesday issued directives to the authorities concerned to implement strict measures to curb smuggling at border crossings.
He stressed the need to encourage trade via legal channels and directed the customs officials to improve surveillance and establish a comprehensive monitoring mechanism at irregular border crossings to prevent smuggling in the country. –Agencies