Pakistan Customs to start 24/7 Customs clearance at Chaman station

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has planned to open Customs clearance at Chaman border 24/7 to facilitate and promote bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, MCC Peshawar started 24/7 processing of trade consignments at Torkham Border. An official said this would multiply the influx of smuggled goods into the country.

Torkham Customs station is quite under-staffed and there are two superintendents, 9 inspectors and 14 sepoys who work in three shifts at Torkham Customs station. An official said most of the smuggling was conducted during night hours. Recently, MCC Preventive Peshawar seized two Japanese made mini-trucks at the terminal.

Sources said smuggling and tax evasion are the tools of financial terrorism plaguing country’s economy. Even the Quarantine and Plant Protection departments with over tightened rules discouraged legal imports.

The Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) traffic has surged multiple times in the last 3 months. Most of the ATT cargo is smuggled back into Pakistan.

An official said Pashtuns were not involved in smuggling. In fact almost all the smugglers are Afghan nationals and they have obtained Pakistan’s CNICs.

The ATT cargo goes to Afghanistan where Afghan government imposes nominal taxes and then these goods find their way back to Pakistan. ATT is an alternate to green channel smuggling and replacement of transshipment cargo.

Whenever, grip is tightened on green channel smuggling and transshipment cargo smuggling, the traffic of ATT increases.

Sources said these Afghan smugglers had developed a very strong network across the country and links in the government, politicians, bureaucracy and security agencies. They are doing this business on ‘done’ basis. These smugglers receive goods in Dubai and make advance payments in shape of PD cheaques of the value of goods plus 10 percent profit to their clients as guarantee that the goods would be delivered at the mentioned destination. In case these goods are not delivered as committed, the cheques can be encahsed.

The practice is going on since many years and the money made through this dirty business funds anti social and terrorist elements.

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