ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Customs announced on Saturday it had launched a crackdown on smuggling operations across several parts of the country, resulting in the confiscation of essential commodities valued at Rs2.25 billion ($73.2 million).
Essential commodities, such as sugar and urea, are usually transported out of Pakistan illicitly, while products like petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) are smuggled into the country through less-traveled routes along the Afghan and Iran borders. These contraband items are then further distributed using trucks and, in the case of passenger vehicles, smaller quantities are transported to major urban centers.
In light of this growing concern, the customs department said in a statement it had intensified efforts to combat smuggling in Pakistan.
“During the last fortnight, Pakistan Customs seized large quantities of essential commodities worth approximately Rs2.25 billion in various operations across the country, including in Quetta, D.I. [Dera Ismail] Khan, Multan, Karachi, Sargodha, and Lahore regions,” the statement said.
“The major seized essential commodities included sugar, urea, POL, currency as well as tires, black tea, betel nuts, vehicles, iron, steel, and other goods,” it continued.
The statement added that in the southwestern Balochistan province on September 2, the Customs Enforcement-Quetta seized 1,637 tons of sugar worth approximately Rs1 billion ($32.5 million) from smugglers in a convoy of 15 trucks.
Following this incident, there was a “massive seizure” of smuggled goods and vehicles, totaling Rs519 million ($1.7 million), on Daraban-Darazinda Road in D.I. Khan on September 3. This operation was carried out in collaboration with the local police.
Additionally, Customs Enforcement-D.I. Khan confiscated around 218,000 liters of smuggled POL/diesel, valued at approximately Rs137.6 million ($448,000).
During the past week, Customs Enforcement-Karachi intervened to halt the illegal transportation of smuggled POL, apprehending 115,000 liters of diesel and 30,000 liters of petrol of Iranian origin.
Strict instructions to the anti-smuggling formations, including mobile squads of the collectorates and airports, have been issued to keep vigilance on the illicit movement of essential goods/commodities, Iranian POL, and currency, the statement said.