KARACHI: In keeping with the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to open up new trade routes to speed up the pace of progress and prosperity in the region, Pakistan Customs and the Directorate of Transit Trade are working together planning the construction of transit trade corridors leading to Kashgar, Tehran, Istanbul and other Central Asian countries.
This was stated by Director General (DG) Transit Trade Khawar Farid Maneka during an exclusive interview with Customs Today at the Directorate of the Transit Trade Office in Customs House, Karachi. “Our topmost priority is to ensure safe cross-border supply of goods and reconciliation of the containers through a transparent, swift and secure process. Pakistan Customs has achieved 99.8 percent success rate in ensuring cross- border movement of containers since May, 2013”, Maneka added. But our aim is to ensure 100 percent scanning of all containers, including NATO, ISAF, military and others, at every check-post, he said.
“Pakistan Customs and Directorate of Transit Trade are determined to create facilities in order to attract other countries to use Pakistan corridors for getting access to Central Asia”, Maneka added.
Responding to a query, the DG said that Directorate of Transit Trade has initiated the process of proper tracking and monitoring of the containers on all transit trade routes. He disclosed that a Central Control Room (CCR) has been set up at Customs House, Karachi to monitor the movement of containers.
Regional Control Rooms have also been established for the same purpose. Maneka further informed that Directorate of Transit Trade is going to propose the penal clause for improvement of tracking system installed in the containers. Replying to a question, Maneka said that Mobile Enforcement Units (MEUs) have been set up at all regional Collectorates from Karachi to Torkhum.
“These MEUs will react promptly in case of any theft attempt and looting of containers”, he asserted. Elaborating, the DG Transit Trade said that the enforcement units will prove effective only if officials in the Central Control Room work efficiently and keep an eye on every container till their crossing into Afghanistan.
He further said the Central Control Room and regional Mobile Enforcement Units are interlinked in order to improve the checking of containers. “The officials concerned in Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Preventive should improve their performance, as it is essential for better surveillance of containers”, Maneka maintained.
Referring to the missing containers report presented by former Member Customs Ramzan Bhatti, the DG Transit Trade said that the report presented before the Chief Justice of Pakistan was ‘satisfactory’ and covered all aspects of the issue. Maneka clarified that the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) scam surfaced before his appointment as DG Transit Trade.