KARACHI: Chief Collectorate Appraisement South Abdul Rasheed Sheikh has rejected the recommendations that all consignments coming from Dubai and Jebel Ali should be put on red channel, which is surprising given detection of several cases of mis-declaration and betel nut smuggling through green channel.

Collectorates of Customs Appraisement South had forwarded recommendations to Chief Collector Customs Appraisement South Abdul Rasheed Sheikh to put all consignments coming from Dubai, Jebel Ali on red channel to check mis-declaration and smuggling.

However, Abdul Rasheed Sheikh has rejected the recommendations and a significant number of consignments are being cleared through green channel.

After the government imposed certain phytosanitary and plant protection measures in October 2017, a number of importable goods were stuck at ports as the same did not fulfill the criteria explained by the government through amendment in Import Policy Order.

Pakistan imports a large quantity of betel nut from Indonesia and these imports have stopped and the importers finally filed re-export GDs. The situation resulted in a surge in betel nut smuggling. Green channel and transshipment (TP) cargo replacement became the tool of smugglers.

Customs authorities seized several containers, which were found to be filled with betel nut contrary to the declarations made in the GD. Iron and steel scrap is allowed to be cleared through the green channel at appraisement south. Taking advantage of this leniency smugglers imported inferior quality betel nut and cleared the same through green channel in the garb of iron & steel scrap and other low tariff goods.

Moreover, certain elements imported consignments declared to be certain low tariff goods and filed transshipment permits (TP) for upcountry dry ports so that the contraband could be pilfered/replaced with goods as per the declaration.

Director of Risk Management Customs Shahnaz Maqbool detected smuggling of betel nuts in the garb of galvanized plain sheets and seized three containers for which transshipment permit (TP) had been filed for dry port Lahore.

Given the circumstances wherein it is established that attempts would be made to smuggle betel nut and other goods through mis-declaration, it seems unwise to reject the recommendations that all consignments coming from Dubai, Jebel Ali should be put on red channel.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Kiryana Merchants Association apprised Ministry if Food Security and Research that it’s been five months that plant protection department was not issuing permits of daily use commodities, as a result local markets and the government revenue suffered huge revenue loss.

The association notes a particular group of people i.e. smugglers was benefitting with the situation, which is not done without the vested interest of some people in plant protection department. The association demanded detailed inquiry into the issue, which has causged huge loss to the people as well as government.