Petroleum prices beyond our control, says caretaker PM

Anwaarul Haq Kakar appreciates civil, military bureaucracy for launching successful drive against smuggling, electricity theft n Says we will push Afghan aliens back to their country

ISLAMABAD  -  Caretaker Prime Minis­ter Anwaarul Haq Ka­kar Friday warned a consistent crackdown against illegal trade and said an effective man­agement plan was being implemented to control cross-border smuggling.

“We have zero toler­ance for those involved in the ‘smuggling in­dustry’ and the law will take its course,” he said at a press conference held at the PM House.

The prime minister’s statement came in re­sponse to a question on Pakistan’s steps to con­trol cross-border smug­gling as the Torkham border with Afghan­istan reopened this morning after nine days.

Kakar said detailed deliberations were held on the Afghan transit trade and the reopen­ing of Torkham border. The commerce min­istry had taken a lead along with border man­agement authorities including customs in revising the policy to al­low or restrict the trade items, he said.

He dismissed the im­pression that check­ing on smuggling would deny a source of live­lihood to the locals re­siding along the bor­dering areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Ba­lochistan. The people of these provinces deserve a correct and healthy environment of trade, not smuggling, he said.

Asked about the in­volvement of Afghan refugees involved in cross-border smuggling, Kakar said an effective policy in this regard had been agreed upon. He categorized the Afghans living in Pakistan into three classes including those registered with the gov­ernment, aliens with no justification to reside, and those with identity theft. “We will push the [Afghan] aliens back to their country and no one without the visa re­gime will be allowed to live here,” he said.

He regretted that the previous lenient approach in this regard resulted in various social evils. The prime minis­ter also pointed out the risk of smuggling leading to the strengthening of terrorist outfits and non-state actors.

“Non-state actors take their space under dysfunction­al setup and we are determined to target them,” he said, terming counter-terrorism a priority for the caretak­er government. He mentioned that the apex commit­tee was working with a focused approach on the tacti­cal and strategic angles of the newly emerging terror threats. The prime minister said the priority of the care­taker government was to provide the inflation-hit peo­ple relief through administrative measures.

“We want to assure the people of the country that the caretaker government, whether it stays in office either for one or one-and-a-half months, will prove effective in its governance,” he said. He mentioned chairing a meeting this morning that discussed the monitoring, implementation, and future strategy over the decisions taken a week ago on smuggling, power theft, and hoarding.

Asked about the hike in petroleum prices thrice during the tenure of the caretaker government, he said the mat­ter was beyond domestic control and was linked to the global increase. He mentioned that the government was focusing on providing relief by improving the approach of governance. He hinted at announcing in the near fu­ture the easy installments for electricity consumers with up to 200 units of electricity usage. To a question on the nexus of politicians and public officials involved in misappropriation, he said, “We have to break this cy­cle on priority to get effective results followed by stern action against the responsible ones.”

“We will take action on adopting a due process with­out fear and favour, and will take them to the court of law,” he said. On the political alignment of Fawad Hasan Fawad and Ahad Cheema who were included in the care­taker setup, Kakar said he considered them both “ca­pable and integrated individuals of society with their prime identity as former civil servants”.

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