PESHAWAR : MCC Peshawar is unmoved with the strike and protest of Customs clearing agents at Torkham, as the authorities are committed to eradicate smuggling and illicit trade. The trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan via Torkham border came to a halt after local traders and custom clearing agents went on an indefinite strike against the alleged high-handedness of customs and National Logistic Cell officials. Traders complained that the customs department had increased duties by up to 40 percent without taking traders into confidence. The traders demanded speedy clearance of fresh fruits and vegetables and expediting of the process of imported goods examination. They complained custom officials had handed over the control of the import terminal and export gate to the National Logistic Cell against the will of the clearing agents and transporters. They said the custom officials had declined the demand for declaration of mix import and export items on an equal ration basis, while they unlawfully seized fresh fruits and vegetables, which were mistakenly loaded onto trucks. Customs officials said the protestors were actually demanding leniency in the process while they were demanding that gate passes should be given to them without due process. It may be mentioned here that the Customs authorities close the gate-in at 5pm, and the processing continues till 7-8pm. It was also known that these traders were clandestinely removing the loaded vehicles in the garb of protest and strike. However, MCC Preventive Peshawar staff comprising Collector Asif Saeed Laghmani, Additional Collector Ghulam Mustafa, Inspectors Rehmat Ali, Nazim Ali Shah, Afaq Hussain and others have decided not to succumb to the pressure. It may be mentioned here that a crackdown against smugglers and elements involved in illicit trade has been initiated across the country after Deputy Collector Preventive Quetta Abdul Qudoos was attacked by smugglers.