ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce comprehends that the whole fraud of missing containers and smuggling was in connivance with the United States and with computer technology the exact position could be revealed.
The meeting of the committee was held under the chairmanship of Khurram Dastgir Khan. The meeting discussed report on the missing Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) containers and NATO and ISAF containers from Karachi port through inland transit. The meeting noted that the details could still not be ascertained about the goods, other items and their price. The committee dubbed that the quantum of smuggling under the umbrella of the government was the worst case in history.
The committee noted with concern that during the entire ATT 305000 containers crossed the border out of which 52,000 containers of US crossed the border. The details of about 19,000 containers was yet to be ascertained. The committee said that the Americans could be involved in the missing containers fiasco and the extent of smuggling would be much worse after probing the matter in detail. The whole fraud was carried out in connivance with the US and the exact position could be revealed with the latest computer technology. The committee reiterated its resolve to find out details regarding transit and missing US and NATO containers.
The committee expressed displeasure over the continued absence of Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim from the meetings of the committee. It unanimously decided to call the minister in the next meeting. The committee noted with concern that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in its first briefing informed that from January 01, 2007 to October 15, 2010 as many as 7922 containers had never crossed the Pak Afghan border, which caused a loss of Rs19 billion. Later of Chairman FBR constituted a probe committee which found that 3,689 containers did not cross over to Afghanistan, and based on various inquiries 28,900 ATT containers were identified which resulted in a revenue loss of Rs55 billion.
The committee was informed that show cause notices to importers, clearing agents, border agents and National Logistic Cell in over 10,000 containers were issued while the remaining were being issued. An initial list of about 19,000 containers was compiled and sent to border customs collectorates of Peshawar and Quetta for further verification from the record. As against 25,309 commercial ATT containers imported during the period of February 01, 2010 to June 20, 2010, the quantum of imports fell by 54 per cent to 11,632 containers during the corresponding period this year. The committee was informed that 600 officials of Grade 16 and below while 60 officers of Grade 17 and above have been charged while six FIRs have been registered. The committee reiterated to give punishment to all persons involved in the scandal.
The Chairperson of Pakistan Re-Insurance Corporation briefed the committee of the various audit paragraphs of the Auditor General of Pakistan report and about the outstanding amount of the corporation. The committee advised to make all the receivables and payables transparent.