KARACHI: The government’s anti-smuggling campaign has entered into the next phase and the border forces have sealed borders with Afghanistan and Iran eliminating all transportation of goods except the legal ones.

Mohammad Zahid Khokhar Chief Collector Enforcement South told Customnews.pk that Frontier Constabulary (FC) had spud a 400 KM long ditch along with Balochistan border, which has almost eliminated transportation of smuggled goods into the country. IG FC Major General Sher Afgan is the driving force behind this anti-smuggling drive on part of FC.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is pursuing a rigorous anti-smuggling campaign, which is reflected in the legal trade vis-à-vis revenue collection details.

Zahid Khokhar said it was for the first time that Customs was Rs30 billion ahead of the collection target otherwise they always were chasing the targets.

Crackdown against smugglers and smuggling has resulted in significant increase in the legitimate trade. The overall revenue collection by Pakistan Customs in July-December 2015 has surged by 7.5 percent to Rs499 billion as against Rs464 billion in the same period last year July-December 2014.

Customs Enforcement South seized smuggled goods worth Rs3.424 billion involving duty and taxes of Rs1.093 billion in the half year ended December 31, 2015. Last year, smuggled goods seized were values at just Rs737 million.

Illegitimate trade is a menace that has multi-pronged impacts on the economy. First of all, the government is deprived of its duty/tax revenue; un-tested and sometimes hazardous products find their way into the country’s market and most importantly the local industry is faced with an unfair competition.

Zahid Khokhar said that the Board was quite serious in rooting out smuggling adding this was probably the first time Board was operating at full liberty without any political influence.

Another official said money made through smuggling was the prime source of funding of terrorist and anti-social elements. This is the reason that law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces are onboard in this campaign, the official said.

According to Customs officials, a large quantity of clothing, electronics, mobile phones, auto parts, tea and cosmetics etc are smuggled into the country from Afghanistan. Mostly these goods are the same which are transported from our seaports to Afghanistan through the transit trade, the same find their way into country’s market without payment of duty and taxes. Moreover, significant quantity of petroleum products is smuggled from Iran.

Pilferage of transshipment cargo is another source of smuggling. Certain quarters import consignments under vague descriptions and file transshipment permits (TP) for different dry ports. These consignments are pilfered during the transit and distributed to local traders.

It may be mentioned here that duty and taxes on TP consignments are collected at destination dry ports and these containers/trailers are not affixed with trackers.