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Pakistan Customs, Railways scrutinising export consignments to India

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by ajtr, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr BANNED

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    Pakistan Customs, Railways scrutinising export consignments to India

    LAHORE: Reports in the Indian media of seizure of narcotics from trains carrying Pakistani exports from Wagah to India in the last three months have led to stricter scrutiny of export consignments by Pakistan Customs and Pakistan Railways.

    According to the Indian media, in the first week of October, Indian customs authorities seized 105 kg of heroin from a Pakistani goods train carrying cement from Wagah to Amritsar. Media reports said that the wagon was sealed at the time it was inspected at Indian town of Attari and the broken seal was discovered in Amritsar. Accordingly, Indian officials accepted that the seal had been broken on the Indian side.

    However, the development has raised several eyebrows in Pakistan and trade and industrywallahs fear it could potentially derail the fledgling trade liberalisation process between the two countries. “Since broken seals invite suspicion, it’s unlikely that anyone would risk putting a drugs consignment worth billions of rupees into the wagon by breaking the seal,” says leading clearing agent and former vice president Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Aftab Vohra. “The other possibility is that the smugglers themselves broke the seal at Attari and planned to unload the drug midway between Attari and Amritsar but didn’t manage to.”

    However, Vohra and others familiar with trade procedures aren’t dismissing the possibility of the drugs having been planted with a view to derailing Pak-India trade. “We can’t discount the fact that elements within the Indian bureaucracy have been opposing the liberalisation of trade with Pakistan, which is evident from the fact that the many non-tariff barriers that the Indian commerce minister had promised to remove are intact six months after Pakistan has almost fully liberalised its trade,” says customs clearing agent Saad Mukhtar.

    However, Muktar also points out the fact that the heroin seized earlier by Indian customs officials at Amritsar was found in sealed wagons. “Since the quantities were smaller – between one to two kg – it’s safe to presume the attempts were probably those of amateurs since smugglers are unlikely to use formal routes.”

    Meanwhile, the Additional Collector Customs Lahore Region Dr Asif Jah says that Pakistan customs has successfully eliminated narcotics smuggling to developed economies and is capable of doing so at the Wagah checkpost as well. “This last incident cannot be blamed on Pakistani officials as the wagon was sealed when it crossed the border,” he said. “However, since these episodes have adversely affected cement exports, Pakistan Customs and the Pakistan Railways authorities have agreed to increase vigilance and take more stringent measures to eliminate the chances of drugs going into India through Wagah,” says Jah.

    Foreign ministry officials, meanwhile, say they’re aware of the developments. “The Indian government has not yet taken up the matter with us officially but we have seen these media reports and the Foreign Office has forwarded these reports to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Narcotics Control,” an official told The News. “We can only provide a formal response once they get back to us on the conclusion of their investigations.”

    In the meantime, those who were looking forward to doing business with India are choosing to sit on the sidelines till the issue is resolved. “The Indians withhold even finalised orders when a few grams of drugs are caught,” says Syed Mansoor Abbas, who was hoping to export tractor parts to India. “We need to be extra cautious because every time drugs are seized from Pakistani consignments, the Indian buyer is grilled by the Indian law enforcement agencies. And that’s bad for business.”
     
  2. Kaniska

    Kaniska SENIOR MEMBER

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    Beleive me there are many inductries and crooks are there on both sides to derail the positive activity between both of us....So security agencies should be vigilant towards these incidents....
     
  3. Supply&Demand

    Supply&Demand FULL MEMBER

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    wait a minute !! can u show me a non-pakistani source where the above is mentioned!

    Unbelievable !! Now it is the Indian bureaucracy to be blamed when just a news of an MFN status to India created a storm in Pakistan! huh !