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Posting of junior officer as chief custom operation raises serious questions on merit in department

ISLAMABAD (Eshfak Mughal):- The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has posted a junior BS-19 officer to a grade 20 post of chief custom operations in FBR headquarters, on his own pay and scale, Voice of Public learnt.

According to the notification issued by FBR, additional collector of customs, collectorate of customs appraisement, Port Muhammad bin Qasim Karachi Yasin Murtaza has been transferred and posted as chief custom operations in FBR headquarters, Islamabad on his own pay and scale despite that the post is of 20 grade. This posting of the this junior officer as chief custom operation raised serious question in marit system in the custom department where numbers of corruption cases are being uncovered nowadays.

Sources said that Yasin Murtaza is considered to be very close to the incumbent member custom operations Zeba Hai Azhar who has taken charge after transferring of Mukarram Jaah Insari. After the posting of junior officer, the officers of the custom department fear that a he will now begin to play shots choosing his friends for prime positions in the custom department and sideline ‘foes’ to the peripheral assignments.

On the other hand, Basit Maqsood Abbasi, a PCS/BS-20 officer assumed the charge of the post of Collector, Collectorate of Customs Enforcement, Karachi. The posting of this officer has also raised questions on giving Basit Maqsood Abbasi two prime positions of collector collectorate of customs enforcement, Karachi and the collector, collectorate of customs (exports), custom house, Karachi.

Moreover, FIA has established in the investigation of Karachi custom scam that Usman Bajwa and Amir Thaheem, the collectors of the above collectorates, now captured by collector Abbasi with the influence of Yasin Murtaza, were facilitating rackets of smugglers in return allegedly for “bribe money amounting to Rs100 million per month.”

Sources said that Usman Bajwa was suspended from service in 2008 on corruption charges but he was ironically exonerated from the charges on January 21, 2013 and also got promotion to the higher grade on the recommendations of FBR high-ups despite the fact that he was not in the promotion zone at that time.

In addition, Usman Bajwa is reported to be a relative of Tariq Bajwa, the PM’s advisor on Finance which explains how he had earlier defeated all accountability efforts against him and how he had managed to capture one prime position in Karachi after another in succession despite his abduction in Karachi in a huge scam worth billions of rupees when he was collector (enforcement) Karachi in the recent past.

However, when asked by this scribe, SAPM Tariq Bajwa denied having ‘any sort of relation’ with Usman Bajwa, categorically saying he had never had any inquiry [closed].

On the other hand, sources said that smuggling under the garb of afghan transit trade is going on and customs’ directorate of transit trade Karachi and the ministry of commerce are standing as silent spectators to the scene, doing nothing to counter the “camouflaged offence.”

Sources feared that custom officers’ connivance in smuggling across the country will get a new boost once Murtaza’s choices for postings in the customs department are translated into reality in the near future.

This scribe approached the Member Customs Operation for his comment on this matter but no reply was received till filing of story.

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