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January 7, 2020

Traders protest as Customs seizes ‘smuggled goods’ in Tariq Road raid


January 7, 2020

Following a meeting with the provincial governor on Monday night, traders called off their strike against an early morning raid of the Customs at a mall on Tariq Road.

According to Customs authorities, they seized smuggled clothing items worth millions of rupees during the raid, which was conducted at a mall on Tariq Road on a tip-off about the presence of non-customs paid clothing items, according to the Customs.

The seized goods were shifted to the Customs House in five trucks for further investigation and legal procedure, said Customs authorities. When traders came to know about the action, they staged a protest in the afternoon and also announced a strike.

Angry protesters blocked the main road of the busy market area, causing traffic jams on the adjacent roads. The protest lasted for hours, with some demonstrators throwing dustbins and other items on Tariq Road. However, after a meeting with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail at the Governor House, they called off the strike and also ended their protest.

In the meeting, the governor said he would talk to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Syed Shabbar Zaidi, about the matter. The governor assured the traders that he would do his best to make sure that their problems were solved.

The governor also assured the delegation that a representative group of the traders would be invited to attend a meeting of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Customs on January 22. The meeting was also attended by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Bilal Abdul Ghaffar.

Six month report

Around 10 billion rupees were collected by Customs authorities during the first six months of the current fiscal year, according a press statement issued on Monday.

The spokesman for the newly established Model Customs Collectorate, Irfan Ali, said they collected Rs10.836 billion between July 2019 and December 2019 at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi.

The estimated target for the six months was Rs10.254 billion, he said, adding that the collected amount was six per cent more than the estimated one.

In comparison with the corresponding periods of fiscal years in 2017 and 2018, he said, the current year’s collection was 25 per cent more. The spokesman said goods worth Rs202 million were seized in the six months and they included mobile phones, liquor and beer, diamonds, narcotics and other merchandise items.

In addition, he said, as per the directions of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the vigilance against smuggling of currency was enhanced and as a result, foreign currency equal to Rs33 million was seized from various passengers.

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