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Pakistan

Customs increases vigilance at Karachi airport in bid to control 'smuggling'

  • Notification says baggage of passengers arriving from 'risky destinations' is being thoroughly scanned at the airport
24 May, 2022

Pakistan Customs said on Tuesday that it has “geared up enforcement” at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) to stop the smuggling of non-essential luxury items that were banned by the government last week.

“Pakistan Customs has geared up enforcement at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi to prevent smuggling of items which have recently been banned by the federal government vide notification/SRO 598(I) 2022, dated 19.05.2022, by including those items in Banned List,” a circular issued by the Pakistan Customs said.

It added that strict vigilance at the international arrival terminal resulted in the seizure of various items which had been brought in the garb of bonafide passenger baggage.

The notification said that the baggage of passengers arriving from "risky destinations" was thoroughly scanned at the JIAP and the following banned items were recovered from various passengers.

  • Food stuff – 76 kgs

  • Fruits – 127 kgs

  • Sanitary ware – 42 kgs

  • Used mobile phones – 213 pieces

  • Branded shoes – 96 pieces

The said items have been detained under Section 168 of the Customs Act, 1969 for violation of the notification issued on May 19, it said.

Authorities seize chocolates from passenger at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi

In a tweet on Tuesday, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the government had increased surveillance at the airports amid fears that its decision to ban imports would increase the smuggling of non-essential items.

“As the govt has banned the import of a few non-essential items, we fear that smuggling of these items will increase. Therefore we have increased enforcement against professional khaipyas. Officials know who they are,” he said, adding that the ordinary citizens bringing in a few items will not be harassed.

His clarification came a day after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) seized a 5kg foodstuff from a passenger who was coming from Dubai under SRO 598(I)/2022.

The food was seized for “contravention of Custom Acts/ITC Regulations /Foreign Exchange Regulations/ Allied Laws.”

Last week, the government imposed a ban on the import of all non-essential luxury items in an effort to steer the country out of its existing financial crisis. A bulging import bill is part of the problem.

The items banned by the government are listed in the tweet below:

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