KARACHI: The Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Preventive has initiated an anti-smuggling research project to better understand the various modes, techniques and other such intricacies to help curb the menace of smuggling.The Collectorate has deployed foreign-educated persons, a two-member female team of which is approaching various Collectorates and Directorates of Pakistan Customs to seek relevant information. The team visited an official within the Directorate General of Transit Trade on Friday.Sources talking to Customs Today on the condition of anonymity said that the general perception about Transit Trade being a conduit of smuggling of an array of goods back into Pakistan from Afghanistan, for which they were meant to be imported, pushed the Directorate General of Transit Trade undertook an exercise to ascertain whether the perception was really true.
“The exercise included opening of exactly 100 containers laden with tea at the Karachi Ports which were rechecked at the two Custom Border Stations at Torkham and Chaman to ensure that the quantity and the description of the items bound for Afghanistan matched. Everything was found right in this case,” the sources added.
A similar exercise was also carried out with fabric shipments to Afghanistan from the Karachi ports about two months ago and after the 100 percent examination no proof of pilferage enroute within Pakistan was detected.
Sources said that the Directorate conducted the exercise despite having the mandate only to facilitate Afghan Transit Trade through the ports of Karachi and ensuring that it enters Afghanistan and having nothing to do with checking smuggling into the country, which is the responsibility of various anti-smuggling agencies, to ensure that there is no pilferage of afghan-bound cargoes enroute.Statistics made available with Customs Today show that during fiscal year 2013-14 ended June this year Pakistan facilitated transit of 3,000 containers of black tea; 1,400 containers of green tea; 3,200 containers of Fabric; 5,000 containers of edible oil and 4,000 containers of tyres to Afghanistan from the ports of Karachi. It may be mentioned that tea, fabric and edible oil are considered the most smuggling prone items for which Afghan Transit Trade is named a major conduit, wrongly or otherwise.