PM takes notice of reported extortion at highways check-posts

ISLAMABAD, Sep 4 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday taking serious notice of extortion by deputed official agents at check-posts along the National Highways directed strict action and effective supervisory role to check rampant corruption.

The directive was conveyed to the relevant officials via a letter by Secretary to Prime Minister Muhammad Azam Khan addressed to Secretary Interior, Secretary Narcotics, Chairman Federal Bureau of Revenue, all chief secretaries, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory, all Inspector Generals of Police, Inspector General Frontier Constabulary, DG Rangers and DG Coast Guard.

It was brought to the notice of the prime minister by different sources that there was rampant illegal rent-seeking from goods transport in the country by plethora of agencies and entities such as police, excise, customs, Rangers, Frontier Constabulary, Cost Guards etc through the mechanism to check-posts established at National Highways, i.e. Karachi-Torkham route, Karachi-Chaman route etc.
The letter dated Sep 4, 2019 mentioned the prime minister seeking revision of Standard Operating Procedures, reduction in number of check-posts, where possible, and their rationalization by converting into multi-agency common check-posts.

The concerned departments were asked to complete the exercise no later by October 5, after which action would be taken against not only the ground staff at check-posts but against supervisory officers including head of ministry or organization.

In cases, where no action is taken against the supervisory officer by the concerned administrative officer, action will be initiated against Chief Secretaries, Inspector Generals and Director Generals.

The letter also mentioned that a simultaneous an evidence-based survey was being commissioned to get specific modus operandi for the illegal extortion regime and to put a quantitative tag on the issue.

“Apart from increasing the cost of transportation and doing business, this extortion, in the garb of law enforcement, security and narcotics checking creates inconvenience for public, corrupts the society as whole and brings a bad name to the country and the government machinery,” the letter read.

The letter pointed that extortion was ample proof of weak supervisory regime with safe presumption that the money so collected through illegal means was being shared with upper hierarchy at different levels.

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