Saudi delegation discusses customs cooperation with Pakistan

A five-member delegation from the Saudi Customs Authority visited the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Islamabad on Tuesday. (FBR)
Updated 06 September 2019

Saudi delegation discusses customs cooperation with Pakistan

  • Pakistan seeks to control illicit flow of currency in an effective manner
  • The two sides emphasized exchange of information on real-time basis

ISLAMABAD: A five-member delegation of the Saudi Customs Authority visited the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss the importance of customs cooperation between two countries, the FBR said in a statement released late yesterday.
The Saudi delegation was headed by Muhammad AlNuaim, Deputy Governor of Security Affairs while FBR Chairman Shabbar Raza Zaidi led the Pakistani side in the talks.
Both groups shared their experiences in the law enforcement domain and further explored avenues of future cooperation for the “exchange of information on a real-time basis,” in addition to discussing measures for the exchange of “intelligence-based information to effectively control illicit flow of currency.”
“Profiling of advance passenger information. Cooperation between Saudi Customs and Pakistani Customs in order to arrest the senders and recipients of drugs and [matters related] exchange of post seizure and arrest investigations [were also in the meeting],” the statement said.
It was mutually agreed that “no country can cope with these cross border challenges without ensuring international cooperation,” in addition to the fact that there was a dire need for both countries to support each other through international forums, customs cooperation and Mutual Assistance Agreements. 
“AlNuaim said that the Saudi government gives great value to its brotherly relations with the government of Pakistan,” the statement said, adding that the Kingdom had recently introduced new monetary limits on currencies which so far are not well-known to visitors from Pakistan, urging for the launch of a public awareness campaign to share this information.
Pakistani representatives, for their part, informed the visiting delegation that limiting currency smuggling was one of the prime priorities of the current government.
“Declaration of currency has now been made mandatory and the FBR has taken various legal and administrative actions to improve interdictory regime against currency smuggling,” the statement said.

’Not an appropriate time to meet,’ Deobandi scholars tell PM Khan

Updated 8 min 9 sec ago

’Not an appropriate time to meet,’ Deobandi scholars tell PM Khan

  • PTI government says seminaries and scholars are politically “neutral”
  • JUI-F, a Deobandi political party, plans to march on Islamabad later this month to dislodge the government

KARACHI: Top clerics from Pakistan’s Deobandi Islamic school of thought did not attend a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Islamic scholars on Friday, citing concerns their presence would be inappropriate, and give the impression they supported the government ahead of a protest march led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), a Deobandi political party.

The JUI-F ‘Azaadi’ (freedom) march is a moving protest scheduled to begin on Oct. 27, with Pakistan’s two biggest opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), announcing this week they will be participating in Rehman’s protest, which aims to make the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government step down due to its inability to deliver on election promises.

“Our consultative meeting decided to decline the invitation because we thought it was not an appropriate time to meet the PM, as it will give an impression that we have sided with the government,” Maulana Talha Rehmani, spokesperson of Wafaq ul Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan, a seminary board that conducts examinations of more than 10,000 affiliated Deobandi seminaries and 8,000 schools across the country, told Arab News.

However, Azhar Laghari, head of the PTI’s Public Relations and Media, said the seminaries were politically “neutral” and had prior engagements that kept them from attending Friday’s meeting. 

“The Madaris are neutral in the matter of the march,” Leghari told Arab News and added that some Deobandi religious scholars had excused themselves from attending the meeting due to other commitments.

But Rehmani denied the government’s version of events.

“It was a mutual decision to decline the invitation, due to the prevailing political condition,” he said.

While clarifying that religious seminaries were not to be part of the march, students of seminaries in their “individual capacity” were free to undertake political activities, he said.

“The boards have strict instructions that affiliated madaris, as institutions, will not participate in any public gathering, rally or march but that students in their individual capacity are free to take part in the activity of any political party,” Rehmani said, and admitted that a majority of students of Deobandi Madrasas supported JUI-F.

According to a handout issued by the PM House, the predominant agenda of the Prime Minister’s meeting was a discussion of reforms in religious schools, while the scholars were also urged to highlight the Kashmir issue from their respective platforms, in response to India revoking the special legal status of the disputed, Muslim-majority territory on Aug. 5th. 

Earlier, local media reported the Prime Minister had said at the occasion that the meeting was not called to seek scholars’ support over the protest march, and concluded with few mentions made of the impending sit-in.

Scholars who attended the meeting included members from the four mainstream sects of the country- the Council of Islamic Ideology, Muttahida Ulema Board, Punjab, and Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.