A series of shocking revelations have exposed the involvement of Pakistan Customs officials in various crimes and corruption, including armed robberies, kidnapping for ransom, fraud, facilitating smuggling and sale of hazardous goods. These incidents have raised serious concerns about the integrity and accountability of the government employees who are entrusted with the duty to protect the country’s economy, trade and national interest.
A video has surfaced on social media, showing Intelligence Officer Customs Hyderabad Irfan Ghani making a deal with smugglers of hazardous betel nut and supari. In the video, Ghani is seen fixing a monthly extortion/bribe amount for facilitating the movement and sale of the smuggled goods in his jurisdiction. He is also heard threatening the smugglers with dire consequences if they fail to pay him.
This is not the first time that Ghani has been caught in such a scandal. He was earlier nabbed counting bribes in Jodia Bazaar Karachi in 2018, but he was saved by then DG I&I Shaukat Ali, who is also accused of corruption. Ghani is said to be the front man of a senior Customs officer in Hyderabad, who has also been in the custody of NAB earlier for being involved in corruption.
In another shocking case, Police has arrested three persons, including one Customs Inspector of Customs Khuzdar Abdul Fateh, for kidnapping and ransom. The accused had abducted one Wajahat in Karachi and kept him in Sukkur. They had demanded a ransom of $50,000 in crypto currency for his release. The police managed to rescue the victim and recover his belongings, such as wallet, mobile phone, ID cards, from the arrested accused.
Moreover, an FIR has been lodged at Preedy Police Station against Customs Enforcement Karachi officials Azhar Malik, Customs House Karachi official Nadeem Malik and others for armed robbery and short-term kidnapping.
These incidents have cast a shadow over the ongoing anti-smuggling campaign launched by the Customs department under the instructions of General Asim Munir, the Chief of Army Staff. The campaign is being supported by security agencies, including Rangers, FC, and Coast Guards, as well as district administration, police and other agencies. Sources said ISI and IB are also extending technical and intelligence support to Customs. MI is monitoring the entire anti-smuggling campaign.
However, the involvement of Customs officials in crimes and corruption has raised doubts about the effectiveness and credibility of the campaign. It has also exposed the lack of oversight and accountability within the Customs department. The public has demanded an exemplary punishment for the culprits and a thorough investigation into the matter.