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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday reaffirmed his resolve to purge the country of smuggling and directed the authorities concerned to accelerate the nationwide drive against the menace.

Chairing a high-level meeting to curb smuggling, the premier paid tribute to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir for his full cooperation with the government in its endeavour against smuggling.

During the huddle, a report of the investigation committee headed by AD Khawaja was also presented. PM Shehbaz lauded the committee for identifying the elements involved in the misuse of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) for smuggling and the officers facilitating them.

The prime minister was apprised that a list of smugglers, hoarders, and their facilitating officers had been forwarded to the law enforcement agencies and provincial governments.

He directed the removal of the identified officers from their respective posts and initiated disciplinary proceedings against them.

The country’s chief executive also asked the LEAs and intelligence agencies to cooperate with each other to curb the smuggling.

Calling for punishing the smugglers and drug dealers, he asked the law ministry to carry out immediate necessary legislation for the purpose.

Affirming no leniency for looters of public money and their facilitators, the premier directed the measures to provide alternative earning opportunities and a conducive atmosphere to the youth living in the frontier regions.

He emphasised more swift and effective monitoring of the sale and smuggling of ATT goods in the country and called for a third-party audit of the monitoring system.

PM Shehbaz also ordered the complete elimination of sugar smuggling and the immediate release of funds to examine the prevalence of drug consumption at the national level.

The meeting was apprised of the smuggling and misuse of ATT, drugs, besides sugar, wheat, fertiliser, petroleum products and illegal weapons.

It was told that, after consultation with the stakeholders, a national anti-smuggling strategy was in the final stage which would be presented for approval.

The meeting was told that the law enforcement agencies raided a godown of smuggling goods a couple of days ago in Mastung and confiscated goods worth over Rs10 billion. The prime minister appreciated the law enforcement agencies for their accelerated efforts to curb smuggling. 

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