Pakistani envoy in Riyadh briefs Saudi journalists on Kashmir

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Pakistan’s ambassador in Riyadh, Raja Ali Ejaz briefs prominent Saudi editors and journalists regarding deteriorating human rights situation in Indian administer Kashmir on October 02, 2019 – (Photo Courtesy - Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
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Pakistan’s ambassador in Riyadh, Raja Ali Ejaz briefs prominent Saudi editors and journalists regarding deteriorating human rights situation in Indian administer Kashmir on October 02, 2019 – (Photo Courtesy - Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh)
Updated 03 October 2019

Pakistani envoy in Riyadh briefs Saudi journalists on Kashmir

  • Says Indian security clampdown is "literal imprisonment of eight million Kashmiris" in their homes
  • Thanks the Saudi leadership for their support

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ambassador to Riyadh, Raja Ali Ejaz on Wednesday briefed prominent Saudi editors and journalists regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in Indian administered Kashmir, the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh said in a statement.
“Ambassador (Ejaz) talked about the genesis of Kashmir dispute and highlighted United Nations Security Council resolutions that promised right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the embassy said. 
Tensions soared high between India and Pakistan since New Delhi revoked the special constitutional status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir under its administrative control by abolishing Article 370 of the Indian constitution on August 5.
Islamabad reacted with fury to India’s decision, cutting trade and transport ties and expelling India’s ambassador.
The Pakistani envoy emphasized that Indian decision to repeal Article 370 is primarily meant to change the demography of Kashmir. “However, the worst part is the restrictions in movement and communication; it is literal imprisonment of eight million Kashmiris in their homes,” he added.
He reiterated Pakistan’s political, diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiri people and highlighted that former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru also made a commitment to decide the fate of the state as per the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “But Kashmiris were betrayed. Nonetheless, the Kashmiris persisted with their valiant and just struggle for their rights till today,” Ejaz told.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s unequivocal support for the people of Kashmir in the United Nations General Assembly represents the sentiments of Pakistani people.
PM Khan visited the Kingdom on September 19 and briefed the Saudi leadership about the situation in Kashmir, ahead of his trip to New York to attend the 74th session of the UNGA.
After the meeting with the Saudi media personnel, the ambassador thanked the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, HM King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman “for their support for the oppressed people of Kashmir,” the statement added. 
He also thanked the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and member countries “for their continued support against human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement read. 


Pakistan probes multibillion-rupee losses from cargo misdeclaration

Updated 04 February 2020

Pakistan probes multibillion-rupee losses from cargo misdeclaration

  • Incidents of fraud reported at Torkham, Quetta and Karachi customs stations
  • Automation of the system needed to prevent corruption in duty collection, experts say 

KARACHI: Pakistan’s tax authorities are investigating a series of fraud incidents at the country’s main customs stations, which inflicted multibillion-rupee losses on Pakistan’s economy, an official confirmed on Sunday.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) spokesman Hamid Ateeq Sarwar told Arab News an investigation “is underway” and its findings will be shared with the public. 

The FBR’s Directorate General of Customs Intell­igence and Investigation, in early January, uncovered a case involving a network of top officials suspected of a large-scale practice of cargo misdeclaration which it estimates resulted in state losses of billions of rupees.

A report by the directorate sent to the FBR chairman indicated that “organized fraudulent activity (is) taking place at Torkham Customs station through which foreign origin goods are being smuggled.” An initial investigation disclosed that 110 vehicles carrying imported goods have passed the checkpoint on the border with Afghanistan uncharged, the document seen by Arab News reads. 

Similar incidents of misdeclaration were detected in Karachi and Quetta, where more than 900 containers were cleared without paying duties. 

Customs experts are calling for all officials involved in the incidents to be punished. “No matter how influential those involved are they should be given exemplary punishment so that such incidents are prevented in future,” Abdul Qadir Memon, lawyer and former president of the Karachi Tax Bar Association, said.

While corruption appears to be the main obstacle to the FBR’s sound functioning, according to Memon, the problem could be solved by technology. “Automation of the system and installation of scanners at customs stations is key to eliminating corrupt practices. Improvement in the audit system may prevent under-invoicing,” he told Arab News.

The incidents of mass fraud are yet another blow to the FBR, which at the same time is facing a leadership crisis, with its chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi’s health reportedly deteriorating due to acute stress.

The FBR is also facing a shortfall of around Rs218 billion against its revised revenue target of Rs2.62 trillion set for the July 2019–January 2020 period. 

All these result in an atmosphere of uncertainty, which “is the worst one can afford at this moment. Revenue mobilization is necessary for Pakistan’s economic viability as a state,” taxation expert Dr. Ikram ul Haq told Arab News.

The developments raise concerns over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) second quarterly review of Pakistan’s $6 billion bailout program. IMF representatives arrived in Islamabad on Monday.