MCC Port Qasim lodges FIR for importing precursor chemicals

KARACHI: MCC Port Qasim has lodged an FIR against M/s Pak Traders for attempting to clear dual use precursor chemical acetic anhydride in the garb of summer fluid.

During the discreet monitoring of the import data, a suspicious consignment comprising of a container  said to contain item having a vague description of “Summer fluid’ shipped from Poland bearing address of Peshawar based consignee was identified. The Bill of Lading of the shipment also showed a non-existent PCT Code and an incomplete contact number of the consignee.

Moreover, the address was also very general. Owing to the suspicious declarations, the container was blocked in the system by R&D Section. However, no one turned up for clearance. Later on, keeping in view the suspicious nature, physical examination of the consignment was carried out in the presence of terminal representatives and independent surveyors, which led to the recovery of huge quantity of dual use precursor Acetic Anhydride (Quantity 15,520 liters) valuing $1.0 million.

Pakistan is a signatory of WCO program UNODC. Pakistan was among the four first countries to join the Port Control Unit program and a number of Customs officers obtained foreign training in this regard.

Port Control Units of the signatory countries remain in coordination and information is shared among them so that appropriate and prompt action is taken.

Pakistan’s Port Control Unit had been quite active since long and detected import of hazardous chemicals and drugs. The heroin smuggling ring, which exported the narcotics to Sri Lanka, China and England was busted on the information of Pakistan’s Port Control Unit.

These units were operating at various dry ports of the country as well at Karachi port and Port Qasim. The units are equipped with  censor machine installed with data of 50,000 chemicals. However, Chief Collector Appraisement South Abdul Rasheed Shaikh closed the system IDs of Port Control Unit.

Collector Shahnaz Maqbool on the instructions of Chief Collector on alleged complaints of corruption and bribe-demands closed the Port Control Unit IDs. However, one ID was opened later, but it is not active. Sources in the Port Control Unit said that their IDs were blocked on false charges as they never asked for bribes from anyone. Sources said Abdul Rasheed Shaikh was facilitating the import and smuggling of precursor chemicals. Sources maintained that this was a very organized and well planned scam and there were no evidences to proof anything.

Pakistan also signed an MoU with the UNODC for the formation of Air Cargo Control Unit, but their IDs were never activated in the WeBOC system.

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