KARACHI: Sale of smuggled goods in Pakistani markets has become so common that now the practice was not even considered as a crime both by the sellers and buyers.
Smuggled cloth, undergarments, electronic items, beauty soaps, shampoos, other cosmetic items, stationeries, mobile phone sets, watches, radio sets, different toys and many other goods can be seen everywhere in different markets of Sadder, Karachi, while the situation in other markets in the city and other parts of the country is not different.
Though statistics are not available about the numbers and quantity of goods and items being brought to Pakistan illegally and about the loss being faced by Pakistan in terms of its economy, it is clear that if all these items had been imported through a legal way, the government would have collected huge amounts of money in shape of taxes.
Besides depriving the government from a huge amount in head of tax, smuggling also harms the home industry as a result, unemployment is soaring day by day.
Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation (DGI&I), a department of Federal Board of Revenue, is responsible to take action against sale of smuggled goods but it seems unable to curb the situation so far.
When contacted, an official of the department, Haris Iqbal, said that they were taking action on received information about presence of smuggling goods in a warehouse or stock room or when it is transporting from one place to other in a big quantity.
To a question, he said his department had not taken any action against the shops selling smuggling goods so far but has started an awareness campaign against the illegal business. “Presently our focus is on curbing smuggling of cigarettes as it causes a big loss to government in term of taxes,” he said.
Atiq Mir, President All Karachi Tajir Ittehad, said that his organization do not allow any of its members to sell smuggled goods or indulge in any other activity which harm the country. “I will welcome any government action against the traders selling smuggled items but first of all, action should be taken against those involved in smuggling and against those custom official who support the smugglers,” he added.
Atiq said that 75-80 percent Indian made products were coming Pakistan through smuggling, adding that if government controlled only 50% of smuggling, it would earn more than Rs 10 billion in tax annually.
Saleem Siddiqi, an industrialist, said that Pakistan is a good market for electronic items but due to smuggling of these things from China and other countries, local manufacturers were struggling for their survival. He said that if government completely curbed the smuggling, it would boost the local industry and reduce unemployment significantly.
“Smuggling is one of the biggest reasons of unemployment in Pakistan as many industrial units are shut or partially run due to less demand of their products in local markets,” he concluded.