A recent investigation has revealed that a large amount of tea imported under the name of Azad Kashmir is being smuggled into other parts of Pakistan, causing a huge loss of revenue for the government.
According to the report, Azad Kashmir has a population of 4 million people who mostly drink green tea, also known as Kashmiri tea. The annual per capita consumption of tea in the world is 1.5 kg, which means that Azad Kashmir would need a maximum of 6 million kg of tea per year.
However, the report found that 40 million kg of tea was imported under Azad Kashmir licenses in one year, which is 650 percent more than any consumption rate in the world. The report also claimed that the dollar payments for the tea imports were made from Pakistani banks, resulting in a huge loss of foreign exchange for the country.
The report further stated that if Pakistanis consumed 96 billion rupees worth of tea in six months and the revenue collected was only 30 to 35 billion rupees, then it meant that there was a leakage of 15 to 20 billion rupees in taxes and revenue for the government every year.
The report alleged that the tea imported for Azad Kashmir was dumped in Karachi and then supplied to Punjab and Sindh by local transporters, without paying any taxes or duties. The report estimated that this practice caused a monthly loss of 1 to 1.5 billion rupees to the government revenue.
The report urged the customs department to put tracker systems on the containers imported for Azad Kashmir to prevent the smuggling of tea and to protect the national interest.