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February 15, 2021

Crackdown on counterfeit, smuggled cigarettes intensifies

National

February 15, 2021

ISLAMABAD: In pursuit to the vision of prime minister to curb the menace of trade of counterfeit/non duty paid cigarettes, which are not only hazardous to the health of general public but is also causing huge loss to the government exchequer, the Federal Board of Revenue has urged the Inland Revenue and Customs field formations to beef up the enforcement measures to control it.

The chairman FBR has issued directives to expedite the administrative and enforcement measures against the trade of counterfeit, non-duty paid and smuggled cigarettes. During the period July 2020 to January 2021, the IREN network conducted 65 raids across the country to curb the trade of counterfeit/non duty paid cigarettes.

In the aforesaid raids, 44.827 million counterfeit cigarettes sticks were confiscated, which were worth Rs97.507 million. Revenue amounting to Rs95.678 million was involved in aforesaid confiscated counterfeit cigarettes out of which Rs2.2 million were recovered and for remaining, mandatory legal proceedings are underway.

Similarly, the Pakistan Customs has taken a number of preventive measures to curb the smuggling of cigarettes in particular and other contrabands/goods in general. The Customs staff posted at airports, sea ports and land custom stations have been instructed to be more vigilant to control smuggling of cigarettes. Anti-smuggling squads, mobile units and staff posted at the Customs check-posts have been sensitized to interdict smuggling of cigarettes.

In pursuance to specific information, raids have been conducted on godowns wherein cigarettes and other smuggled goods have been stored and thus huge quantities have been recovered. The auction rules have been modified, thus, imposing a ban on auction of seized/smuggled cigarettes and have been included in the list of goods to be destroyed w.e.f. 23rd July, 2020 to discourage the use of auction papers for transport of smuggled cigarettes. Trainings/seminars have been arranged in coordination with leading cigarette manufacturers to educate the Customs officers/staff about the latest trends in smuggling of cigarettes and also sharing of information for effective seizure of cigarettes. Since July 2020 to January 2021, the Pakistan Customs has seized 7,152,265 smuggled sticks of cigarettes having value of Rs549 million.