Smugglers attack NLC dry port in Sost, Gilgit

KARACHI: The Customs staff at dry port Sost in Gilgit has expressed its inability to perform their duty at Sost after a law & order situation was developed and over 200 smugglers and Customs agents ransacked the Customs office at NLC dry port.

According to details, In charge NLC, Major Jamal, informed the deputy collector customs that as per CCTV footage a consignment of one clearing agent/importer Javed had been mixed with non duty paid goods at the time of loading thus, inflicting huge revenue loss to the government.

The deputy collector afterwards, visited monitoring room of NLC and personally observed the act of theft. Afterwards, the deputy collector along with Major Jamal visited the location where the mischief had occurred and directed Javed not to pilfer the goods.

Consequently, Javed started chanting slogans against the department, NLC, chief collector, collector, additional collector and the deputy collector. He also refused to unload the pilfered goods, which by then had been loaded upon a Pakistani truck.

As the situation was getting out of hands, the deputy collector went to his office to inform SHO Sost Police regarding the incidence. Upon instigation of Javed, a mob of violent importers and clearing agents entered the office of the deputy collector Sost.

While all this was happening, the Additional Collector Yousaf Haider Orakzai, who was on a routine visit to dryport, was also seated in the office of the deputy collector. Soon afterwards the mob of around 150-200 protesters who by then had entered the office started damaging government property, manhandling the officers and were giving life threats.

The Customs officers had to fled the scene and took refuge in Customs residence located at Sost bazar. Meanwhile Superintendent of Police and Deputy Commissioner Hunza were informed regarding the incidence telephonically, therefore a police squad arrived at customs residence soon after for protection and taking statements.

Meanwhile, lock of the main gate of dryport was broken by the mob and afterwards, the pilfered goods on vehicles were forcefully removed from dryport premises by the mob. The smugglers and Customs agents also blocked Nagar Road. The customs and NLC are currently in the process of lodging FIRs against the culprits.

An official said Customs had no writ in Sost, Gilgit due extreme shortage of staff and resources.

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