Islamabad (Agencies): Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held here at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Saleem Mandviwalla in Chair.

The Senate Committee took up the issue of maltreatment of customs officials towards Pashtoon Businessmen. Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, the mover of the matter, stated that several raids have been made against the Pashtoon Businessmen who were running their businesses in Sindh. He further added that there must be a clear distinction between legal and illegal goods because the goods cleared by Chaman, Quetta, and Taftan authorities are specially targeted. Chairman FBR stated that raids were not conducted on the basis of ethnicity, however, it was primarily a part of the government anti-smuggling drive. Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar pointed out the oil smuggling in Balochistan and apprised that around 2 to 3 crore liters of Iranian oil enter every day in Pakistan. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla directed the Chairman FBR to look into the matter. However, Senator Farooq Hamid Naek questioned how smuggled items have managed to reach local markets and why action has been taken against local businessmen instead of smugglers who are primarily responsible for damaging the economy and financial system of the country. Asim Ahmad, Chairman FBR, apprised the committee that Prime Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has constituted the committee to curb the menace of smuggling and consequently, the committee has incorporated sugar, wheat, and urea in essential items list in order to control their smuggling. Chairman Committee directed the FBR to hold meetings with local businessmen so that their issues could be resolved. 

Moreover, the committee was briefed on the issue of excluding private secretaries from executive allowance which is currently being given to officers from BS-17 to BS-22. State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha ensured the committee that the ministry is deliberating on the matter and an adequate relief will be provided to every employee.

While discussing the matter of notices which were being issued to businessmen and politicians under the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Officials informed that the special court has quashed the cases and the order of the special court will be shared with the committee in the next meeting. However, the members suggested that an action should be taken against officers, in cases which were initiated on malafide intention.

In addition, the committee deliberated on the issue of incorrect appeal by PIC related to Pakistani Pensioners living abroad. Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that a letter has been written to fifteen Pak Missions Abroad to provide the details of pensioners, however, nine missions have provided the requisite information, and the remaining didn’t submit yet. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla directed the officials to provide details of all pensioners living abroad in the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Chairman FBR Asim Ahmad and other senior officers of attached departments were also in attendance.

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