KARACHI: Federal government has expressed concerns over the unchecked transportation of smuggled goods to the far flung areas of the country.
On the instructions of PM Imran Khan, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sent a letter to MCC Quetta, MCC Hyderabad and MCC Multan, and warned that for any smuggled goods seized in Lahore, the supervisory officers in MCC Quetta, MCC Hyderabad and MCC Multan will be held responsible.
It may be mentioned here that these three Custom stations are very important as smuggled goods are transported from Quetta, Baluchistan via Hyderabad, Sindh to Multan, Punjab for onward distribution.
FBR mentioned the recent incident in Lahore in which MCC Lahore and Directorate of l&I Lahore in a joint counter smuggling operation seized four containers of smuggled goods worth Rs300 million belonging to Haji Sadiq Achakzai.
Moreover, recently the customs formations at Lahore have also seized smuggled goods in huge quantities in different raids on godowns and vehicles coming from Balochsitan and coming all the way to Lahore.
Reportedly smuggled goods are shifted from containers to Mazda trucks in Faisalabad area. The raids on godowns located in urban areas of Lahore puts Customs squad at greater risk, as in all these cases there was strong resistance from smugglers.
“Needless to mention here that had these containers been apprehended on their way to Lahore, these situations could have been avoided easily,” FBR noted.
FBR has also initiated an investigation on how the phenomenon of transportation of smuggled goods from the border areas of Balochistan is taking place, in spite of the fact that MCC Quetta has presence at checkposts on all important routes, to intercept these vehicles carrying smuggled goods from Balochsitan to Punjab, Sindh & KP.
FBR has advised the above mentioned Custom stations to deploy all resources at their disposal to check smuggled goods from Balochistan to Punjab.
It may be mentioned here that only Customs Lahore is efficiently and rigorously pursuing the anti-smuggling drive.
In Lahore custom history, unprecedented moves are being undertaken by having joint operations under the auspices of Director Asad Raza and Collector Preventive Basit Maqsood Abbasi.
It is added here that Additional Director Hassan Farid is instrumental in devising all joint operations and strategies against formidable smugglers like Haji Sadiq, Nabhi Bakhash and Baali Kakaar etc.
It will not be out of place to describe that Lahore Custom coined best operational method of intercepting vehicles on road having pure smuggled items to inflict damage on known smugglers who pay to custom staff heavy amounts for giving them the space and time to move their vehicles with impunity.
This model based on symbiotic relationship between custom staff and smugglers is being stamped out only in Lahore.
In other parts of the country, Custom officers tasked for anti-smuggling operations are relying on old model of symbiotic relationship with smugglers for payments on monthly basis. As all other field formations conduct operations on godowns owned by private business men because smugglers are off the hook after delivering goods to their premises and these businessmen are sitting ducks.
Apparently, field formations except Lahore manage to post good figure on monthly reports sent to the Board and DG custom intelligence office Islamabad by opting to raid only godowns.
Despite all adversity and scant resources, Lahore custom is undaunted and persevered in its commitment to eradicate the menace of smuggling in their area of jurisdiction at least by all accounts.
Moreover, FBR has issued letters to IG police and secretary interior for providing security to at least two senior officers in Lahore custom in wake of severe life threats by smugglers.