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The Federal Board of Revenue and Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to promote cooperation and organize mutual assistance against illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials.

Member (Customs), FBR, Mr. Mahmood Alam and Member Executive, PNRA, Mr. Shakil-ur-Rehman singed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

Secretary General, Revenue Division/Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue, Mr. M. Abdullah Yusuf and Chairman PNRA, Mr. Jamshed Azim Hashmi were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, FBR Chairman said that Pakistan Customs was engaged in combating commercial fraud, counterfeiting drug trafficking, money laundering, electronic crime and smuggling of arms. In addition to these challenges, the growing threat of international terrorism has, now, emerged as a major concern for Customs Administrations which includes potential threat of smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials, he added.

"This is a common threat to all countries including Pakistan which has grave implication to security," Mr. Abdullah Yusuf said and added, "Both, FBR and PNRA, recognize the need to formalize cooperation and mutual assistance to meet the possible threat of smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials through Pakistan." As government department that controls and administers the international movement of goods, Pakistan Customs is in a unique position to contribute to the global trade supply chain security besides socio-economic development in Pakistan through revenue collection and trade facilitation. On the other hand, Mr. Yusuf said, PNRA has the technical expertise to equip and train Customs personnel for detection of radioactive and nuclear materials. Therefore, by signing this MOU, FBR and PNRA shall achieve cooperation to create an organizational framework which was needed to effectively combat the nuclear terrorism threat, he added.

FBR Chairman was the opinion that this MOU shall enhance enforcement capabilities of Pakistan Customs for preventing, detecting and responding to illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials. It is intended to provide the framework to ensure that their illicit trafficking is prevented. He informed that Pakistan Customs has prepared an implementation plan including a Pilot Project for enforcing provisions of this MOU. Pakistan Customs is committed to achieve the objectives of this MOU as a national responsibility, the Chairman added.

Mr. Abdullah Yusuf assured that FBR shall undertake all necessary measures to provide adequate training to Customs personnel through PNRA for use of detection equipment so that all international entry and exit points are fully monitored at the earliest. He was confident that the MOU shall go a long way to bring security to this country and international community.

PNRA Chairman, Mr. Jamshed Azim Hashmi, in his speech, said that both FBR and PNRA will cooperate with each other to meet international obligations to combat illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials. He assured all support to FBR to make the borders secured.

The MOU, signed today, explains that the world today is facing a growing international threat of illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials which present a grave hazard to national and international security. The Government of Pakistan recognizes its international obligations to join global efforts to combat threat of illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials.

Pakistan Customs is the primary enforcement agency at international entry and exit stations including international airports, dry ports among other Customs stations while PNRA is the national statutory nuclear regulatory authority in Pakistan entrusted with the task to regulate all aspects of application of ionizing radiations and nuclear energy in Pakistan, Therefore, the two organizations have entered into agreement for cooperation in joint measures for detection, and subsequent management, of radioactive and nuclear materials at strategic points. The necessary detection equipment has been procured by PNRA which shall be handed over to Pakistan Customs after training of the Customs personnel. This equipment shall be used by Pakistan Customs at sea ports, dry ports, airports and at any other Customs station at international border or for goods in transit or in transshipment or the goods en route throughout territory of Pakistan.

Under this MOU, PNRA shall provide the Pakistan Customs training, technical assistance and maintenance facilities for radiation detection equipment and radiation protection, management of radioactive/contaminated consignments while both shall cooperate to manage radioactive sources/materials identified or seized/confiscated by the Pakistan Customs.

It has been agreed that Pakistan Customs in association with PNRA shall run a pilot project at Islamabad International Airport for comprehensive enforcement model for Customs controls including monitoring/detection of radioactive/nuclear materials. This model shall be applied to all other international airports by the Pakistan Customs for effective and modern enforcement controls after completion of the pilot project.

Muhammad Hafeez Mughal
Secretary PR
Jun 21, 2008
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