KARACHI: The ASO Customs Preventive has planned a rigorous crack-down against the pilferage of transshipment cargo, which has been causing a severe loss to the economy.
In the first phase, transshipment containers would be affixed with trackers, for which a tender would be floated shortly. It may be mentioned here that over 4,000 containers a month are transshipped from Karachi to various dry-ports across country.
More importantly, Chief Collector Zahid Khokhar and Collector Preventive Tariq Huda are forming a special intelligence team of well reputed Customs officers; this team would collaborate and cooperate with Pakistan Rangers and another sensitive agency in rooting out the entire cartel, that has been plaguing the national economy and security.
Sources said that several officers and officials are being considered for the Customs special intelligence team, the members would be finalized soon. Sources maintained that Assistant Collector Syed Mohammad Raza Naqvi is being considered to lead the team.
Moreover, the team would comprise of four Superintendent Preventive Service (SPS) for which Sardar Abdul Qayyum, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Khalid Masood, Munir Ahmed and Sohail Naqi are under consideration. The team would also include six Inspector Preventive Service (IPS) for which Syed Samar Hussain, Dedar Ali Magsi, Nasir Hameed Khan, Samsam Qadir, Javed RAza and Allahwasaya are candidates.
There will be 14 Senior Preventive Officer (SPOs) in the team for which Zahid Mehmood, Sardar Yousuf, Masood Ahmed, Shamim Akhtar, Bashir Bhutto, Jabbar Niazi, Mohammad Shuja, Tariq Mehmood, Mohammad Nadeem, Mohammad Ejaz, Ejaz Khoso, Azhar Mehmood and Azam Khalid are under consideration.
Preventive Officers Mohammad Tayyab Khan and Akbar Ahmed are also likely to be the part of this team.
This Special Intelligence Team would study the markets of Karachi including, Gul Plaza, Electronics Market, Jama Cloth Market, Motan Das, Tariq Road and other markets where imported and pilfered goods are being sold.
The team would identify the actual buyers of these imported and pilfered goods, as it had been found that several small and medium scale traders of imported items avail the service of one party known as ‘the carrier’.
These carriers have warehouses in UAE where they kept a large variety of products. They collect money from their clients and bring consignments mostly from Dubai, for which TPs are filed and actually imported goods having high values are replaced with low value products.
It has been known such consignments are declared under just one vague PCT heading, while the consignments are stuffed with goods scores of different PCT headings attracting higher tariff.
These carriers are the real targets. A sensitive agency has identified a couple of these ‘carriers’ and evidence has been recovered including telephonic conversations suggesting close ties of some senior Customs officers with these smugglers known as ‘carriers’.
A sensitive agency has calculated that goods worth billions of rupees were pilfered in this manner and it is suspected that contrabands including arms and ammunition was also pilfered from these transshipment consignments.
The money so earned fuelled the law & order crisis particularly in Karachi as well as terrorism.
A federal agency would lead this joint campaign being planned between Rangers, Customs and the federal agency. Sources said the team would have the power to keep suspects in custody for 90 days, as this has become a matter of national security.
Markets in Karachi are flooded with imported goods including electronics, toys, computers, mobiles, cloth, garments and even those products, which are banned to be imported in Pakistan.
Earlier, these goods were brought into the country by ‘Khaipya”, as they had created links in Customs and on payment of miniscule duty and bribes, the goods were cleared. Since, this practice has been eliminated in the Customs, these markets have found a new source to bring duty evaded and smuggle foreign origin goods in the country.
It may be mentioned here that Director Asif Marghoob Siddiqui has also duty off Superintendent Akmal Hasmi, Deputy Superintendent Haji Aslam and three sepoys for their suspected link with transshipment cargo scam.