LAHORE: In a major crackdown on smuggling, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has seized a truck load of smuggled Irani tiles worth millions of rupees, which had been smuggled from Baluchistan to Punjab with the connivance of Customs officials.

According to FIA sources, the agency received a tip-off from Additional Director FIA about the movement of smuggled Irani tiles to Punjab. A raiding team was constituted, which intercepted the suspected vehicle at Kangni wala market. The driver of the vehicle, Abdul Majeed, confessed that the tiles had been transported from Quetta and that he had paid bribes to Customs check posts along the way.

He also revealed that this was not a one-off incident, but a regular practice of smuggling tiles and other goods from Quetta to Punjab, and that Customs officers/officials were also given monthly bribes as well. He reportedly named some of the Customs officers/officials involved in the racket.

The FIA sources said that these smuggled tiles cause a significant revenue loss to the national exchequer and also damage the local tile industry. An FIR has been lodged and further investigations are underway to nab the culprits and recover the smuggled goods.

The sources added that this operation was part of the anti-smuggling campaign launched by the government.

Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir is taking personal interest in the drive against smuggling and corruption. He has also reportedly ordered sensitive military agencies to monitor the campaign and tender complete coordination to the other law enforcement and security agencies.

It may be recalled that FIA is also pursuing a mega corruption case pertaining to the involvement of Customs officers/officials in facilitating smuggling and receiving bribes from smugglers. The agency has arrested several Customs officers/officials and recovered huge amounts of money and assets from them.