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Customs seizes smuggled goods worth Rs15.7b in three years

Customs seizes smuggled goods worth Rs15.7b in three years

ISLAMABAD: Customs authorities, as part of their anti-smuggling drive, have seized goods worth Rs15.736 billion in the last three fiscal years.

During fiscal year 2010-11, the authorities seized goods worth Rs5.502 billion, in 2011-12 they confiscated goods worth Rs4.905 billion and in 2012-13 goods valuing Rs5.329 billion were taken into custody.

According to officials, the main source of smuggling goods into Pakistan is the long porous border with Afghanistan. However, there is no mechanism to gauge the real quantum of smuggling. In its absence, the loss to the national economy cannot be determined with certainty.

In an effort to curb the smuggling, the customs department has reinvigorated its enforcement measures which include intelligence sharing, launching joint operations and support and facilitation from law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to the customs authorities.

Highlighting the significance of these steps, the officials said the Frontier Constabulary Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had been entrusted with the task to take anti-smuggling measures within 20 km of the international border. Joint efforts are also being undertaken by the customs department and other law enforcement agencies.

Additional steps taken by the authorities include constant vigilance at major entry points or smuggling routes by the customs department with the assistance of LEAs.

Anti-smuggling powers are being given to the Pakistan Coastguards and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency to curb illegal flow of goods in the coastal areas and high seas. Scanners have also been installed at airports for scanning of the baggage of incoming passengers.