Three containers of banned firecrackers seized
ISLAMABAD: Directorate General of Intelligence & Investigation Customs has seized three containers of banned firecrackers having explosive material at West and East Wharves of Karachi Port.
According to sources, it is of the biggest anti-smuggling operation against the smugglers of fire crackers in the country. Directorate General of Intelligence & Investigation – Customs, following the instructions of its Director General Shaukat Ali, has spotted three (03) containers at West and East Wharves of Karachi Port and, on examining those containers in association with the local Customs staff, found that more than 95% of each container was stuffed with firecrackers which are banned for import into Pakistan because they contain explosive material. The firecrackers have been seized along with the containers under the relevant provisions of the Customs Act, 1969 and other laws.
As per details, the containers had been imported by a Peshawar-based company by the name of M/s Mehran Enterprises and, in accordance with Customs procedure, were destined to be transported to Peshawar Dry Port under Customs seal, without being examined by the Karachi Customs. The aforementioned company had unlawfully imported the seized firecrackers under the guise of Mosquito Coils, Tissue Papers, Plastic waste in Bales and Plastic Films in rolls. The fraudulent importer wanted to take permission for transportation of the banned material to Peshawar Dry Port with the intention of misappropriating the gards en route to Peshawar. However, despite the security seal affixed by Karachi Customs the containers would have been opened en route to Peshawar and refilled with junk for presentation before Peshawar Customs and paying nominal amount in duty/taxes as part of the modus operandi, taking the banned firecrackers out of the containers. This manner of replacement of costly and banned imported goods with junk, en route to various Dry Ports of the country from Karachi is called swapping in Customs parlance. Quite a few companies have been involved in this menace for quite some time. However, concerted efforts and the continuous deterrence generated by Customs Intelligence recently has significantly brought down incidents of en route replacement of contents of Dry Ports-bound containers.
Preliminary investigations conducted by Customs Intelligence indicate that smugglers namely M/s Mehran Enterprises, masquerading as importers, have caused revenue loss of billions of rupees to the Exchequer over a period of time. Two such consignments of this importer are already pending clearance at Peshawar Dry Port, after having been detained by Peshawar Customs Intelligence. Those two consignments have not yet been cleared by Peshawar Customs which is believed to be making extensive enquiries from shipping lines and other sources to ascertain which goods had actually been imported vis-à-vis the goods which have been brought to Peshawar Dry Port. In the meantime, the importer, fearing that Customs Intelligence might chase and seize the goods at the time of replacement of the goods with junk goods en route, decided to hold the three containers (now seized by Customs Intelligence) at Karachi Port and wait for favourable circumstances to develop which, obviously, has not happened.
In the meantime, Customs Intelligence was able to get knowledge of the whereabouts of the suspected containers at West and East wharves of the Karachi Port.
Goods like Glassware, Tearing strip on spool and Printed paper Roll for Cigarettes had placed on front parts of the containers just to cover the firecrackers which constituted 95% of the containers’ contents. Import of fireworks / pyrotechnic articles is banned / prohibited vide S.No.23 Appendix-A and S. No. 50 Appendix-B part-I of the Import Order Policy 2016. Therefore, the aforesaid containers / goods have been seized and FIR is being lodged. Value of seized goods is estimated to be Rs 70 million, they added
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