ISLAMABAD: Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) seized huge quantity of smuggled cigarettes worth Rs5 million from a vehicle coming from Peshawar.
Sources told Customs Today that Collector Zulafqar Ali Chaudhry received credible information that huge quantity of foreign-origin cigarettes will be smuggled via GT Road Rawalpindi to Peshawar.
Sources said that he immediately constituted a team under the supervision of Deputy Collector Sadia Usman and also consisting of Superintendent Abid Hussain, Superintendents Malak Abid, Farrukh Satti, Inspectors Ziaul Islam and Javaid Khalid and other supporting staff. The team intercepted a Hiace wagon bearing registration no: LET-6022 near Attock Khurd.
During checking of vehicle, the ASO team recovered huge quantity of non-customs paid cigarettes. The Customs staff asked the possessor of smuggled goods to show any proof of legality of loaded goods but he failed to provide any proof against the smuggled goods. The Customs squad seized the cigarettes and brought them to State Warehouse.
Sources stated that the seized cigarettes were packed in 67 cartons of 50 sleeves. The estimated value of seized cigarettes is Rs5 million.
A case has been registered and forwarded to Investigation and Prosecution (I&P) for further investigation.
The sources said that illicit trade of cigarettes in the country is causing an estimate loss of Rs40 billion annually to the national exchequer. The sources added that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should be appreciated for unprecedented crackdown against illicit trade in cigarettes and the government should continue to develop and implement strategies to combat illegal cigarette trade in Pakistan. In this regard, the Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) FBR was established last year who seized approximately Rs1.63 billion non-duty paid cigarette sticks and raw material of illicit cigarettes.