Pakistanis to run US-built customs cell at airport
ISLAMABAD, Feb 26: A Customs Tactical Command and Operations Centre being built with funds provided by the US Department of Defence will be manned and operated solely by Pakistani anti-narcotic officials, with absolutely no involvement of American personnel, according to a US embassy spokesman.
Responding to a report published in Tuesday’s Dawn, the spokesman said that the Customs Centre at the Karachi airport was being built on the request of Pakistan government “to support Pakistani Customs’ fight against narcotics smuggling”. The project consists of the design and construction of two new buildings for the Pakistani Customs’ Drugs Enforcement Cell.
The spokesman said the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) role was to oversee the award of the contract for the project and supervise its implementation.
“No US military or other USG personnel will be involved in the construction, operation, or staffing of this centre, which will be exclusively owned and operated by the Government of Pakistan.”
According to him, “this project will enable the Government of Pakistan to coordinate rapid response to narcotics and contraband smuggling and is a tangible representation of the joint United States-Pakistan commitment to address this important issue”.