KARACHI: Customs Reforms and Automation Director Abdul Majid Yousufani has said that the Government of Japan had given assurances for providing three drug scanners, which were expected to be installed at Port Qasim and, East and West Wharf at Karachi Port by 2016.
After availability of the scanners, Pakistan would be able to scan 100 per cent cargoes of Afghan Transit Trade besides other national export consignments at seaports properly. Pakistan Customs with co-operation of Banks Associations is going to introduce a proper mechanism to stop the misuse of Form-E and the process has now entered final stage, Yousufani claimed.
Director General of Anti-Narcotics Force Regional Directorate, Brigadier Abuzar had earlier said that the existing scanners installed at Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim are ‘incapable’ to detect the drugs in export cargoes.
During a meeting with exporters, Brigadier Abuzar said that special scanners were required to detect the drugs concealed in the cargo as the existing machines were not helping in this regard. He said export cargoes were inspected randomly; however, sometimes on tipoff ANF carried out its operations to examine the doubtful consignments.
During the meeting, he informed that ANF had received 10 drug-smuggling cases during the year 2013 and recovered a huge quantity of hashish and heroin from the export cargoes at seaports. Since January 2014, ANF had caught two drug-smuggling cases already, he added.
“A huge quantity of drug is produced in Afghanistan which is one of the biggest challenges for Pakistan’s smooth export. Elements associated with that business were trying to smuggle drugs to different countries through Pakistani seaports,” he said.
ANF, according to its risk management system, conducts inspection of exporting containers, as in 2013 the team had inspected some 2.2 per cent of country’s total annual exports, he added. “ANF inspections are crucial for the sake of both exporters and country, because if any smuggled drug was exported and found in the international market like EU and America, it would leave a negative impact on the country’s image. In that case, the company would also be black-listed forever.”
He also suggested port operators not to issue one window service and said that exporters should send their clearing agents at seaports at the time of cargo inspection carried out by ANF. “The clearing agent concerned must ensure his presence during the re-packing of exporting products. ANF does not take any fee charges on account of services provided to exporters; however, sometimes exporters were seen making complaints about clearing agents who are allegedly charging in the name of ANF.”
He suggested the exporters to keep their eyes open regarding their staff working at seaports because then smugglers might offer them substantial money in a bid to smuggle drugs through export cargoes, as in such cases it has happened. The exporters must not sale their original form-E which can be used for smuggling purpose. As per law, a person who is involved in smuggling of even 1 kg heroin would be imprisoned for 14 years.