KARACHI: Customs Collectorate, Preventive claimed to have seized 22 tons of Acetic Anhydride which could be used as explosives or making heroin powder.

Addressing a press conference, top custom officials including Tariq Huda, Collector Customs, Preventive here at Ghasbander (Karachi Port), said that seizure was biggest ever in the world as the last quantity seized was about 15 tons and that too by a Pakistani agency Anti Narcotics Force. They praised the Port Control Unit of Anti Smuggling Organization (ASO) and Preventive including officers Shamim and Salahuddin.

They worked on simple information that Acetic Anhydride would be smuggled through this port. The rest was their work to find out that how and under what garb the consignment would be taken away from the port. Glacial Acetic Anhydride is a common substance and used for industrial purposes hence it was their vigilance only that lead to the seizure, they said. The chemical seized was valued at rupees 87 Crore. The consignment was meant for transshipment and it was not known that what the final destination of the container was, they said. Our officers get suspicious to found out that chemical came from Tanzania which do not produce it and normally it is imported from China. The container landed in November 2015 and until now, no one came forward to claim the ownership for clearing as now clearance of banned items is next to impossible, they claimed again appreciating the vigilant officers of Port Control Unit. The unit was formed in the after math of the 9/11 tragedy and is now part of the Global Port Control Units. The news of seizure has emanated from Karachi and was well acknowledged and praised world over by international agencies busy in anti terrorism and anti narcotic control operations, the custom officers said.

To a question, they said that export of Acetic Anhydride is well-regulated world over and PEN (Pre Export Notification) is mandatory before a consignment is exported. The Bill of Landing (BL) was in the name of Jamali Brothers, Sialkot but none appeared to claim the consignment, they said to another question.

To another question, they accepted weakness in the system and said a foolproof system is being devised. The tenders have been issue and three firms have been qualified for tracking system and once it comes into operation, every container would be under the vigil of custom authorities and any deviation or abnormal delay by carrier would lead to action by the nearest Customs post or officials.

The Deputy Collector Custom to a question by Custom News correspondent said that chemical analysis/test has been conducted and it has established beyond any doubt that consignment seized is Acetic Anhydride which could be used for terrorism (making explosives) or terror funding (selling of heroin by extremist elements).