The Prime Minister has constituted a four-member committee to probe the unusual surge in the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA).
Sources told ProPakistani that caretaker PM Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar has appointed Secretary Human Rights A D Khawaja as the chairman of the committee. Other members of the committee include retired officers of the Pakistan Customs Service, Saeed Jadoon and Rashid Sheikh, and Pakistan Administrative Service officer Nabeel Ahmed Awan.
According to ToRs, the primary objective of the committee is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the situation, identifying the factors contributing to the failure to manage the surge in transit trade.
One of the key aspects the committee will scrutinize is the failure on the part of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to monitor ATTA goods volume and identify the shortcomings that hindered the timely recognition and redressal of the abrupt increase.
The committee will also analyze the historical background of the Afghan transit trade. By delving into the past, the committee aims to gain insights into the patterns and trends that may have led to the current scenario.
Additionally, the committee is tasked with determining the extent of goods that may have been smuggled through Afghan transit routes.
Moreover, the investigation will focus on identifying the individuals or groups involved in any smuggling activities related to Afghan transit goods. The committee will also assess the performance of the relevant customs staff and border security forces to pinpoint any lapses that may have contributed to the failure to curb smuggling effectively.
The committee is also tasked to investigate the reasons for the steep rise in ATTA imports in the fiscal year 2022-23, focusing on enforcement and policy failures. Identifying inadequacies in the Tracking System employed by the FBR are also among the responsibilities of the committee.
The committee will examine the role of Pakistan Customs officials, border security forces, and other government entities in weak enforcement leading to a significant influx of smuggled goods. It will also identify any legal gaps contributing to ineffective border interdiction.
Finally, the committee will scrutinize policy issues contributing to the current magnitude of smuggling, and fix the responsibility for the failure in the regulation of ATTA and prevention of large-scale smuggling, causing substantial economic losses.