QUETTA: As the Customs Baluchistan is tightening noose around the smugglers and illegal trade, the business community of Baluchistan, Customs clearing agents, importers, exporters and transporters have suspended all business activities in protest against the conduct of FBR and Customs authorities.
The business community of Baluchistan is also meeting with Chairman FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi on Wednesday to apprise him of their grievances.
An official said the traders were actually protesting against the presence of check posts. On the directives of Chief Collector Zulfiqar Chaudry, Collector Dr. Iftikhar made it mandatory for the traders to present original GD at the check posts, which has irked the traders as they had been using one GD to transport dozens of consignments of non-duty paid goods.
Moreover, the traders are of the view that Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) must not examine the consignments once it was cleared from the Customs. The official said the consignments which are cleared from Customs are stuffed with smuggled goods for transportation to rest of the country. These goods are smuggled from secret routes to Pakistan from Iran and Afghanistan.
The official said the influential lords in Baluchistan and politicians were involved and patronizing in this dirty business.
The business community of the province in a press conference the other day alleged that FBR and Chief Collector Customs were intentionally discouraging the legal trade on one pretext or the other, and were promoting smuggling.
They alleged that goods were legally imported from Iran and all duties and taxes were paid, but still the Customs Preventive was harassing the traders.
An official said such strikes were not new adding that whenever a crackdown was launched on illegal trade, the business community of the province particularly importers and clearing agents resorted to strikes and protest to pressurize the Customs authorities.
It may be mentioned here that Customs Quetta on the directives of Collector Dr. Iftikhar has been quite efficient against the transport of smuggled goods and seized miscellaneous goods worth millions of rupees.
Additional Collector ASO Jameel Baloch is keeping strict vigilance on passenger buses which are largely used to transport smuggled goods such as betel nut, cloth, auto parts, electronics and chewing tobacco etc.
An official said that Customs acted on the basis of information and only the vehicles carrying smuggled goods were intercepted.