FAISALABAD: Directorate General of Training (Customs) conducted a training course on the topic of smuggling. The participants of the training course comprise BS-16-18 officials of Customs Lahore, Sialkot, Faisalabad and Multan, and Customs Intelligence Lahore.
Federal Board of Revenue ex-member Tausif Ahmad Qureshi, was the resource person. He elaborated the concept, phenomenon and methods of smuggling which manifests in flow of banned, restricted and smuggled goods from supply areas to demand areas.
He attributed smuggling to a number of socio-economic factors. Firstly society’s craze for prime quality foreign origin goods has overwhelmed all restrictions and prohibitions which has established an acceptability in the society.
Secondly government has failed to net trade failures and to regulate fiscal policies. The failures emanate from lack of alternate business opportunities. Thirdly the society has developed a conspicuous pattern of consumption of consumer goods irrespective of the fact whether the goods are duty paid or not. Fourthly the Government has imposed high tariffs on finished goods in order to protect local industry. This aspect has ignited the trend of smuggling. Lastly among other causes, smuggling entails huge financial and pecuniary gains.
Mr. Tausif Qureshi stated that phenomenon of smuggling emerged in Pakistan’s tribal areas during 1960s. At that point of time, the Government did not attempt to curb this menace due to two main reasons. Firstly industry and agriculture did not exist in the area. The smuggling provided avenues of employment and living in the form of hotel, labour and transport to the local population. Secondly at that time, Afghanistan was playing up the issue of Pakhtoonistan. Government of Pakistan did not want to earn the animosity of tribal people. At that juncture, any action could create disturbance and unrest in the area. Now this phenomenon has assumed the shape of a monster to be reckoned with.
The resource person explained the penal provisions relating to smuggling as envisaged in clauses 8,9,89 and 90 of Section 156 of Customs Act, 1969. The major smuggling prone items are vehicles, tyres, fabric, cigarettes, diesel and mobil oil. He explained the relevant provisions of Customs Act, 1969 for carrying out anti-smuggling functions.
The provisions related to power to search on reasonable ground, persons to be searched may desire to be taken before gazetted officer of customs or magistrate, power to screen or X-ray bodies of suspected persons for detecting secreted goods, power to arrest, power to issue search warrant, power to search and arrest without warrant, power to stop and search conveyances, power to examine persons, power to summon persons to give evidence and produce documents or things, person escaping may be afterwards arrested, seizure of things liable to confiscation, things seized how dealt with, procedure in respect of things seized on suspicion by the police, and when seizure or arrest is made, reason in writing to be given.
Tausif Qureshi also drew focus of the participants about procedures contained in certain provisions which are closely connected with the smuggling activities and seizure of goods.
These pertained to power to detain packages containing certain publications imported into Pakistan, procedure for disposal by High Court of applications for release of packages so detained, power to require production of order permitting clearance of goods imported or exported by land, power to prevent making or transmission of certain signals or messages, power to station officer in certain factories, restriction on the possession of goods in certain areas and punishment of persons accompanying a person possessing goods liable to confiscation.
At the end, the ex-member FBR distributed certificates among participants of the training course.