Despite its efforts, the government has failed to stop the smuggling of goods from India and Iran into Pakistan, causing the economy to bear the brunt in terms of revenue and industrial output.
Sources in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told ProPakistani that hundreds of tons of cloth was being smuggled from India, China, and Iran into Pakistan through different avenues. They said the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement was apparently being used for smuggling.
The cases registered during the calendar year 2021 in the jurisdiction of Faisalabad Customs Intelligence and Investigation were related to illegal cloth, curtains, and vehicles. Statistics show that the Customs officials confiscated 15.1 tons of Indian-origin chiffon cloth packed in bags bearing stamps of “Afghan Transit Trade” in the last year.
The officials also confiscated curtain cloth, weighing 25.9 tons, in their jurisdiction last year while a case has been lodged in this regard. They also confiscated 4.2-ton pile fabric and 15.2-ton curtain in another raid in Faisalabad besides 4.8-ton back coated pile fabric, 5.4-ton curtain/sofa cloth, and 2.3-ton pile fabric embossed in another operation by Faisalabad Customs last year.
According to data, around 63 tons of illegal cloth including 17-ton embossed cloth, 16-ton pile printed cloth, 24.8-ton pile plain cloth, 296-kg blankets (pile fabric), and almost 3-ton curtain/poshish cloth, and 1.8-ton prayer mat was confiscated and the case was registered in 2021.
The list further disclosed that that 17,930 kg parachute cloth of different types and 6.6-ton Tianjin golden bridge welding electrodes were also confiscated during the period under review and last calendar year and the case was lodged.
The Customs officials also confiscated 8.12-ton illegal Iranian skimmed milk, tubeless tires of different brands and sizes, pile fabric, and aluminum foil sheets of different sizes.
In yet another case, around 27.2-ton chiffon and women cloth was also confiscated during a raid by Faisalabad Customs Intelligence. The tires for LTV and Iranian spray-dried powder were also detected. The officials also confiscated Iranian toffee, and ceramic tiles, etc.
A report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) indicated that bilateral trade between India and Pakistan has contracted to below $67 million during the first five months of the current fiscal year due to political tension between the two countries. According to the report, Pakistan’s exports to India were barely $140,000 during the first five months of the current fiscal year and its imports from India stood at $65.9 million from $80 million during the same period a year before.
Pakistan did not import or export anything from Iran due to sanctions on Iran. According to some experts, formal trade between the two countries decreased due to tariff and non-tariff barriers by authorities. During the period, informal trade through other countries including UAE, Iran, and Afghanistan did take place.