KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has linked clearance of diplomatic consignments with original copy of tax exemption certificates to check misuse of the facility exclusive to foreign embassies.
According to sources, Customs authorities tightened monitoring of diplomatic cargos to prevent misuse of exemption and concessions granted to imported consignments under Vienna Convention.
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 guarantees privilege to diplomatic cargoes, which also enjoy exemptions and concessions from the government.
“But incidents of misusing the concessions has prompted the authorities to further tighten the inspections of diplomatic consignments,” an official at Pakistan Customs said.
The sources said customs authorities decided to make the original copy of diplomatic exemption certificate issued by the ministry of foreign affairs mandatory at the time of customs clearance.
It is further decided that a customs station issues no-objection certificate regarding duplicate copy of the diplomatic exemption certificate issued by the ministry of foreign affairs. The official said bulk of motor vehicles were recently impounded in the city as they were cleared under concessions granted to diplomats.
Therefore, it was decided that terminal operator would ask the importer/clearing agent to produce collectorate’s no objection certificate for the release of such goods.
The official said the clearance of diplomatic consignments is done through green channel facility.
“Under this facility the consulates in Pakistan clear their consignments by uploading required documents in the online customs clearance system,” the official said. “Under the system there is no human interference to check the consignments.”
In the past there were incidents of clearance of diplomatic consignments on fake exemption certificates.