KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has recovered smuggled goods worth Rs204 million and arrested several persons in the anti-smuggling drive and launched investigation to identify the real financiers, which resulted in dent to local manufacturing activities.
To prevent money laundering the Customs authorities also proposed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to reduce the limit of foreign currency taking out by a persons while traveling abroad.
Muhammad Yahya, Chief Collector (Enforcement) South, Pakistan Customs and Tariq Huda, Collector Preventive at a press conference Monday informed the media about the performance of the customs authorities regarding seizure of goods made in the ongoing anti-smuggling drive with the help of other law enforcement agencies.
The collector said that the losses to economy due to smuggling was estimated at Rs20 billion annually.
Yahya said that Pakistan Customs was monitoring suspected passengers who were allegedly involved in smuggling of foreign currency at Karachi Airport. “This has resulted in seizure of currency worth more than Rs10 million and seven persons were taken into custody.”
He further said that a bid to smuggle three kilogram Heroin was also foiled by the customs at Karachi airport and two persons were arrested in this connection.
Pakistan Customs initiated the massive anti-smuggling drive to comply the directives of the Supreme Court to curb the smuggling of illegal arms/ammunition, narcotics and other contraband.
The chief collector said that the customs authorities deployed personnel at three main routes connecting Karachi, including Super Highway, National Highway and RCD Highway in coordination with Pakistan Rangers. He said that enforcement in Pakistan Customs waters had been beefed up with the help of Marine Security Agency and Pakistan Coast Guards that resulted in seizures of about 40,000 liters of smuggled Iranian diesel.
He informed that there illegal jetties along with Ibrahim Haidri and Kornagi Creek were main concerns from where illegal smuggling of goods could take place. “Sindh Chief Secretary is asked for cancellation of the license of all those boats which were dormant and no longer used by the fishermen and to demolish illegal jetties from where these boats ply and berth,” he added.
Yahya said that a close coordination was being maintained with Pakistan Rangers, Sindh Police, Anti-Narcotics Force, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and Pakistan Coast Guards for securing the borders and curbing the smuggling of contraband goods.
He said that with the help of other law enforcement agencies, Pakistan Customs on November 24 undertaken the biggest operation in Pakistan history by demolishing 61 fuel stations besides making seizures of thousands of liters POL products.
“It is beginning of grand operation against those involved in smuggling and Pakistan Customs is expanding the same in other cities,” he said.
He also informed that some petroleum dealers were also involved as financier behind illegal sale of smuggled Iranian oil. “Investigation is underway which will reveal big names,” he claimed.
Collector Preventive Tariq Huda said through FBR the authorities suggested the central bank to reduce the existing limit of $10,000 and cap the foreign currency taking out by a person during a year that should be $25,000.
It is also suggested that children below age 15 should not be allowed to carry foreign currency while traveling aboard.