Misuse of the Afghan Transit Trade facility

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The chief justice has done a lot of good for the country, but there is one kind of crime which has escaped his notice. It is the rampant looting of the country's exchequer by smugglers and unscrupulous importers who connive with customs officials to get goods into the country without payment of duty (as in Afghan Transit Trade facility or the recent case of using ISAF containers). This kind of crime has the potential of destroying the country's economy and in that sense it is more dangerous than the issue of terrorism. If the national exchequer had the money which is looted every year through these nefarious means, there would not be that much poverty in the country. And it doesn't require much effort to check or curb these crimes. All that the government has to do is to recover sales tax from all the major markets in the country where smuggled goods are sold, like the Karkhano Bazaar outside Peshawar which alone has the potential to generate five hundred billion rupees every year.

Those customs personnel who are found to have colluded with unscrupulous importers misusing the Afghan Transit Trade facility or ISAF containers should be tried in anti-terrorism courts and punished heavily. But it is doubtful if the government will do it. The judiciary should take action against these criminals. This is the only way to stop them from destroying Pakistan.

Shakir Lakhani


The News, May 26, 2010