PESHAWAR: After a hectic one-and-a-half-year process, the erstwhile aspirants, who are now probationary officers in the 44th Common Training Programme (CTP), have visited the Customs House Peshawar and met Collector Customs Gull Rahman on Tuesday.
The purpose of creating this thread is to share news and happenings at the CSA during the 44th CTP, said visiting delegation of 44th CTP Assistant Collector Probationers to Customs House Peshawar.
The Collector Customs received the delegation and discussed a course of mutual interests in the meeting. The Collector Customs was accompanied by Deputy Collector Customs along with other customs staff posted at the Model Customs Collectorate Peshawar.
The visiting delegation was informed of the historical background of the Customs House Peshawar. In the beginning, private property at Shami Road Peshawar Cantt was rented as makeshift offices for the collectorate but later about 80-kanal of land was acquired for construction of offices and residential accommodations at the University Town which was completed in 1986. Since then the collectorate is housing the Custom House at Jamrud Road Peshawar.
Earlier, the Collectorate of Customs Peshawar was officially carved out on 01/07/1974 from Collectorate of Land Customs and Central Excise Lahore. The history of customs in this part of Pakistan is as old as trade itself. Its jurisdiction extends to traditional trade routes with Afghanistan.
Jurisdiction of Peshawar Collectorate at that time was confined to the province of NWFP excluding Hazara Division, which was again attached to Peshawar Collectorate on 01.01.1986. Since then, the whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) except provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA) form its jurisdiction.
The Peshawar Customs have to contend with tough conditions in the field of enforcement, said MCC Peshawar staff in a briefing to the visiting delegates. Proximity with Afghanistan bears a long porous border on which only a couple of Customs stations are established and makes checking of smuggling more difficult.
Enforcement of Customs controls makes this region further difficult due to fragile security situation on the border. Roughness and ruggedness of the tribesmen, harshness of the terrain, occasional and insufficient power supply and absence of regular criminal law in the FATA feature this area.
The delegation was told that the Customs Station Torkham was hit in 1989 with missiles by Soviets. The Customs staffers have been kidnapped by tribesmen, and the main Peshawar-Torkham Road was routinely blocked by warring tribesmen even on the petty pretexts.
In recent times, turbulent situation in southern NWFP due to creeping militancy from adjoining tribal areas has literally halted the customs functioning in these areas.
In these daunting circumstances, Customs staffers have to perform their duties at the cost of their lives.
In 2004, eight new Customs Stations were notified in FATA and one in PATA at various strategic locations for facilitating genuine trade with Afghanistan.