ISLAMABAD: Sales tax evasion amounting to Rs 52 billion per annum through tobacco sales is being carried out. This was told to the Senate’s Committee on Health, which met at the parliament house on Monday with its convenor Senator Nauman Wazir on the chair. The officials of FBR, commerce ministry, Pakistan Tobacco Board and representatives of cigarette manufacturing companies were present in the meeting.The committee instructed FBR that strict checking of all the trucks on particular points on roads which are carrying goods from one part to another portion of the country or AJK. The committee showed resentment over the feeble system and deployment of corrupt enforcement staff for checking goods in FATA and PATA, due to which smuggling goes unchecked and causes loss of billions to national exchequer.The committee was also told that 32 million sticks of cigarettes are being smuggled to foreign countries. The Chairman expressed his anger over incorrect information given by the Pakistan Tobacco Board. He said that 30 million Kg of Virginia tobacco is being sold in the market without paying sales tax and the PTB was unaware of this fact.This illegal sale of tobacco is causing a loss of Rs 52 million yearly. He said that the tobacco board, FBR and Law Division should evolve a joint strategy to avoid this tax evasion. A representative of the Pakistan Tobacco Company told the committee the firm had fixed the target of buying 67 million Kg of tobacco last year. This year the company fixed the target of 53 million Kg but actually purchased some 83 million Kg of tobacco which far exceeded the target.The committee also directed FBR, PTB, tobacco companies , Law Division and Ministry of National Health to submit their recommendations to the committee within three days on Protection of Non Smoker’s Health Bill 2016.