KARACHI: The country is deprived of billions of rupees of its legitimate revenue by the hands of smugglers; there is enough reason to believe that the money generated through this ‘dirty business’ contributes to the finances of terrorist and militant groups both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Smuggling of importable things through Chamman Border is depriving the exchequer of an estimated of Rs2.0 billion per month, which could have been recovered had these products landed the cities legally.
It is a great misfortune for Pakistan that the nation’s money is being used for terrorist and sabotage activities in the country; while the law enforcers, bureaucracy, politicians, establishment, business communities, condemning the terrorists just for the sake of making news appearances, are the actual enablers.
These smugglers, patronized by powerful quarters, evade huge amounts of duty/taxes; while the local markets are also adversely affected because of the undocumented supply of a lot of goods and products.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Pakistan Customs implemented rigorous reforms and measures to avoid events such as Afghan Transit Scam, which compelled Supreme Court to take suo moto action, subsequently FTO was advised to submit the report into and scam and NAB investigation.
FBR took measures to stop the pilferage. Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa, Member Customs Nisar Mohammad Khan, Collectors Mohammad Saleem, Abdul Rasheed Shaikh, Owais Agha Jawwad, Najeeb Abbasi, Surayya Butt, equally contributed to the task making it a considerable success.
Customs reforms were introduced in valuation department particularly, mis-declaration and under-invoicing was almost eliminated; 90 days assessment corrupt data was streamlined through guidelines and revenue leakage was plugged to a large extent. Collector Tariq Huda and his team came quite hard on smuggling and things were brought under control.
Meanwhile, a tracking company was hired for Afghan Transit consignments, security deposit of Rs 15 million was made mandatory for the bonded carriers along with insurance and online verification was implemented about the containers reaching exit collectorate.
The efforts yield, resultantly pilferage of Afghan Transit cargo was eliminated and now de-stuffing of consignments is not carried out in almost all the cities of the country; and almost all the containers are crossing borders.
However, the smuggling is still going on in an even more organized manner, as such that no recovery cases can be established because the smugglers are carrying out their dirty work under the patronage of intelligence agencies.
Sources said that high value items (high duty/tax goods) are being smuggled into the country such as auto parts which attract Rs3-4 million of duty/tax per container i.e. Rs770/KG imported from China. The smugglers bring the auto parts from Chamman border and they deliver the goods at the defined addresses for Rs1.4 million per container i.e. Rs250 KG. This money goes to smuggling ring and government exchequer gets nothing.
Auto parts from Japan attract duty/tax at Rs1125/KG i.e. Rs5.5 million per container approximately. This commodity is also being delivered to the defined addresses by the smugglers at Rs270/KG i.e. Rs1.7 million per container. Particularly engine parts (piston rings) are brought into the country through smuggling and a very nominal quantity is legally imported because of high duty/tax rates.
Similarly, fancy/miscellaneous items being sold at many markets especially Gul Plaza, Karachi invite taxes/duty of Rs 2.0-2.2 million per container, while the smugglers are delivering these goods to the buyers’ home/godown, outlet for Rs1.2 million.
Fabrics, polyester yarn, viscose attract Rs120/KG of duty/taxes and the same is being smuggled in the country at Rs60/KG on ‘done basis’, which means that the goods are safely delivered to the buyer’s place without any problem whatsoever.
Gul Plaza, Motan Das market, Bahadur Shah market, Bolton market, Light House market, Jama Cloth, are housing smuggled goods worth billions of rupees.
These goods enter Pakistan border via Chamman and comes through Hub river road, sometimes entire containers reach city bus station Karachi (Yusuf Goth) and mostly it is transported in passenger buses, which usually have tinted glasses. Anyone can see smuggled tyres, generators, and other goods loaded on the roofs of the inter-city buses.
It may be mentioned here that no vehicle can move bypassing the Coast Guards check post, as there is no other route, which means the smuggled stuff comfortably passes through the Coast Guards check post.
It is reported that a senior intelligence officer (SIO), and one intelligence officer (IO) of Anti smuggling organization (ASO) of Directorate General of Intelligence & Investigation are running the entire game here. Intelligence sources said that Nabi Bux, Saadiq Quetta-wala and Bali are the persons that have been known to be the smugglers while diesel smugglers include Zamreen Khan, Ismail and another Ismail, Qasim, Diar, Mudeer, Fayyaz; these people are being facilitated by the above mentioned officials.
It cannot be ascertained whether these accused are Pakistani nationals or Afghani nationals because a lot of Afghani nationals have managed to get Pakistan’s identity cards.
These SIO and IO have formed a team of private persons who are handling this dirty business such as collecting payments etc. This 10-member team includes Sher Khan, Shahzad, Mehmood, Sadiq, Adil, Naveed, Shafiq and Dewan ji and others. They are said to be found in Directorate and move in Directorate’s vehicles carrying official weapons and have fabricated intelligence service cards.
If the daily call records of the officers of Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation and ASO are analyzed, interesting facts could be uncovered as it is believed that a couple of officers are in daily contact with smugglers.
Interesting to note that all the godowns keeping smuggled goods pay Rs50,000 per month to the officers who have been posted on these positions since long and no raid can be carried out on these godowns.
Sources said that the money generated through this entire ‘dirty business’ is funding the terrorists and agents of different countries reportedly of India and Israel, carrying out sabotage activities in Pakistan.
It is believed that Afghan government authorities are also involved in this smuggling vi-a-vi terrorism business because when the Afghan authorities were contacted to provide details of the containers that never reached Afghanistan, they said that all the containers were delivered to them.
Sources said that this is a very well planned and deep-rooted conspiracy to cripple the country’s economy and sovereignty.