KARACHI: Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation, Balochistan has claimed to have made around 100 seizures in ongoing calendar year.
According to official sources, despite the shortage of staff of 27 personnel responsible for carrying out anti-smuggling operations in the province coupled with the insurgency-like situation which badly hampers the movement of intelligence staff, the Directorate has performed exceptionally well during the calendar year 2013.
The Directorate has so far made record number of 100 seizure cases including 73 non-duty paid vehicles and 27 cases of smuggled goods. The total worth of goods seized is estimated around Rs 160 million. Major items seized during these operations apart from smuggled vehicles include diesel, marijuana (hashis), tea, cloth, LPG cylinders filled with gas, vehicle tyre, milk powder and a number of consignments of cement meant for export which was being disposed of locally instead.
More than Rs 50 million have also been deposited into the national exchequer through disposal/auction of smuggled goods and more revenue is expected to be realized in the next auction to be held soon, they informed. The Directorate also keeps facilitating both Customs Collectorates situated in the Balochistan through intelligence sharing in its crackdowns against tax evaders, they maintained.
However, as pointed out by the apex court during several hearings on the issue, a lot more needs to be done, if the menace of smuggling and evasion of taxes is to be effectively contained, they said. Major obstacle in realization of this goal is the severe shortage of staff in all the customs formations present in Balochistan, more so in case of customs intelligence which is working practically without any personnel, officials say. They added that the other main area of concern has been the lack of co-ordination between the agencies active in this part of the country.
However, the new Chairman FBR and the other senior officers of Customs including Director General of Customs, Intelligence and Investigation and the Chief Collector (Enforcement) have held a number of meetings with the senior officers of Law Enforcement Agencies over a period of last 3 months that helped a lot in improvement of inter-agency co-ordination with astounding results in anti-smuggling efforts, they maintained.