KARACHI: The Customs authorities have initiated raiding the markets, which are known to be housing smuggled goods.

Director ASO I&I Asif Marghoob Siddiqui had the information that goods smuggled from Afghanistan would be delivered from Yusuf Goth to Bolton Market. Siddiqui secretly formed a raiding party headed by Superintendent Najeebullah Jafri. Additional Director Nadeem Ahsan supervised the raid which recovered cosmetics worth Rs2.0 million.

The ASO I&I had planned three raids on different godowns, but as the ASO team arrived at the second warehouse, a crowd comprising warehouse owners and their workers as well as representatives of various trade bodies gathered on the spot and resorted to protest.

As the protest limited the movement of officials, smuggled goods worth millions were removed from the warehouses. It is interesting to note that Customs officials who have been put duty-off for their reported connections with unscrupulous elements were already present at the second warehouse.

Customnews.pk had earlier informed on the basis of an intelligence report that smugglers would resist against the anti-smuggling operations through their well established links with various trade bodies and media black sheep.

Asif Marghoob has stalled further raids to avoid any law & order situation and a strategy is being formed with the coordination of DG I&I Imtiaz Ahmed, DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar, Chief Collector Enforcement South Zahid Khokhar.

The officers who are supervising the operation include Collector Preventive Tariq Huda, Director ASO Customs Asif Marghoob Siddiqui, Director Customs Intelligence Enforcement Yaqoob Mako, Collector Gwadar Saeed Akram.

Sources said that the unscrupulous elements and smugglers had connections in trade bodies and media and whenever such an operation is initiated these elements use their connections to derail the operation.

It is now proved that one-room trade bodies are activated and there will be protest demonstrations against raids on warehouses, markets housing smuggled products. Moreover, a couple of newsmen are suspected to extend favors to the smugglers and corrupt officials.

Sources said even there were some black sheep in the prestigious profession of journalism, which were causing a bad impression of journalist fraternity, which mostly comprised of honest and professional people.

Sources said certain newsmen belonging to effective Urdu newspapers mainly have been identified who have developed sizeable properties in various cities including Sargodha and Mansehra. It is known that several reporters work teamed-up with colleagues and collect sums to the tune of around Rs2.5 million from trade bodies every month and in turn promote their agenda.

There are reports that certain newsmen use their influence on officers to effect transfers and postings and even the decisions of lodging or not lodging of FIRs. There is an example when an honest officer rejected such a demand, a newspaper run a campaign defaming the officer. One newsman is known to be facilitating medicine import in past. There are several reports where such newsmen allegedly tried to  blackmail office bearers of Customs related trade bodies and importers as well.

Sources said that authorities expect that media and journalist associations would play a positive role and extend the helping hand in the anti-smuggling campaign.