ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister/Federal Minister for Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan has said that Pakistan is a fully responsible state committed to the global fight against terrorism and eradicating the menace of smuggling and money-laundering from its soil and the region.

“Our customs and its standards are on a par with the world and, in some cases, even better than some of the best customs in the region,” he said while speaking to a high-level delegation from US Control and Border Security (EXBS) which met him at his office at FBR house today. United States EXBS Country Director Ms Shelly Atkinson led the US delegation which also included officials from the US Department of Homeland Security and US embassy in Pakistan. FBR Member Customs Mohammad Zahid Khokhar and other senior officers of the FBR were also present.

The minister appraised the delegation, “Our entire system is now fully computerised and we have made some major inroads against smuggling and money laundering by unearthing some substantial cases in recent years.” He also offered to send officers from Pakistan customs for training to the US to learn from the US experiences and share with them what Pakistan had been able to achieve in modernising its customs and securing its borders. “We would like this cooperation to be further strengthened and consolidated in intelligence sharing and exchange of resources,” he said.

Akhtar told the US delegation Pakistan is much better and equally safer place than what the international media sometimes tended to show it to the outside world. “We have come a long way in our fight against terrorism, and our success on this front owes to the massive sacrifices of nation as well as our military and paramilitary officers and soldiers who have laid down their lives in stamping out the forces of evil from our soil,” he added.

He also briefed the delegation on the state of Pakistan economy which, he said, was in a good shape and certainly much better than it was a few years ago. “Our democratic experience is going very well and the second democratic government is now on the verge of completing its full five-year term which shows the strength of our democratic institutions,” he said.

Ms Shelly Atkinson thanked the minister and the FBR for giving her and her colleagues valuable insights into the working of Pakistan customs which, she conceded, had been excelling in many areas and doing far better than some of the countries in the region. “We look forward to benefiting from the Pakistani experiences by engaging one or two Pakistani instructors to be part of the learning and capacity-building programmes in the US Department of Homeland Security," she said.