KARACHI: Tons of goods, which are imported and moved to Afghanistan through Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) are being smuggled back to Pakistan, which is evident from the sudden change in the legal imports of various products through ATT.
There are certain goods which have observed drastic increase in the quantity imported and some goods observed abnormal decrease in the quantity imported even import of some goods were nil in seven months (July 2014-January-2015).
According to details available with Customnews.pk, the import of special woven fabrics; tufted textile to Afghanistan through Transit Trade has surged to Rs41.102 billion in the first seven month of FY2014-15 as compared to Rs26.384 billion in the same period last year, up 55.78 percent which seems much more than the demand of the country.
Similarly, import of many other products have surged manifold and most of these are suspected to be used in Pakistan.
Sources said that this stuff was not actually being consumed in Afghanistan instead it was smuggled into Pakistan. The rigorous measures by the authorities curbed the pilferage of Afghan Transit consignments within Pakistan, but now the smugglers have found another option; now the goods are imported in a legitimate manner and shipped to Afghanistan through Transit trade and then the same come back to Pakistan for consumption.
Thus, the exchequer is deprived of revenue on the import of goods which are actually being consumed in Pakistan.
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.
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.
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.
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 in an organized maner.
Godowns and shops at Gul Plaza, Motan Das market, Bahadur Shah market, Bolton market, Light House market, Jama Cloth in Karachi 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.
The comparison of imports through ATT in the period under review sugeest that import of vehicles other than railway or tramway to Afghanistan declined by 86%, Coffee tea mate and spices down 41%, Articles of iron and steel down 38%, Cereals down 96%, Nuclear reactor, boilers machinery down 94%, Knitted or crocheted fabrics down 41%, Printed books, newspapers, pictures down 99%, Iron and steel down 27%, Miscellaneous edible preparations down 54 percent, Impregnated coated covered down 32%, Furniture bedding mattresses mattress down 9.68%, Beverages spirits and vinegar down 21%, Orses slag and ash down 99%, Railway or tramway locomotives down 63%, Wadding felt and nonwovens special down 65%, Dairy produce birds eggs natural down 6.3 %, Photographic or cinematographic goods down 66%, umbrellas sun umbrellas 72%, toys games and sports requisites parts down 13.7%, Albuminoidal substances modified down 31%.
Mineral fuels mineral oils and products import surged 60%, Miscellaneous manufacture articles surged 77%, Pharmaceutical products surged 52%, Miscellaneous articles of base metal surged 107%, Electrical machinery and equipment surged 16%, Plastics and articles thereof surged 74%, Cotton surged 137%, Animal or vegetable fats and oils surged by 65 percent.
Following goods are also imported through ATT including Edible vegetables and certain roots and, Clocks and watches and parts thereof, Preparation of cereals flour starch, Glass and glassware, Salt sulphur earths and stone, copper and articles thereof, Products of the milling industry malt, Other vegetable textile fibers paper, Articles of apparel and clothing, Residues and waste from the food, manufactures of straw of esparto or, Vegetable plaiting materials vegetable, Musical instruments’ parts and, Edible fruit and nuts peel of citrus, Cork and articles of cork, Aircraft spacecraft and parts thereof,
Other Made up Textile Articles sets, Arms Y Ammunitions, Parts & Accessories, Works of Art, Collectors pieces, Live Trees and Other Plants Bulbs, Other Base Metal Cermets Articles, Fertilizers, Ships, Boats and Floating Structures, Wool Fine or Coarse Animal Hair, Prepared feathers and down and articles, Fur skins and artificial fur, manufactures, Nickel and Articles thereof, Pulp of wood or other fibrous, Tobacco and manufacture tobacco, Oil seeds and oleaginous fruit, Soap organic surface active agents, Headgear and parts thereof, Cocoa and cocoa preparations, Explosives pyrotechnic products, Tin an articles thereof, Preparation of meat of fish or, natural or cultured pearls precious, Footwear Gaiters and the like parts of , Man-made filaments, Carpets and other textile floor, Preparation of vegetables, fruit nuts, Paper and paperboard articles of paper, Miscellaneous Chemical Products, Fish and crustaceans, mollusks and other, Organic chemicals, Articles of stone plaster cement, Optical photographic cinematographic, Inorganic chemicals organic or, wood and articles of wood charcoal, Man-made staple fibers, Aluminum and articles thereof, Ceramic products, Tanning or dyeing extracts tannins and, Tools implements cutlery spoons.