The Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation-Customs Karachi foiled a major attempt to smuggle a huge quantity of liquor under the garb of diplomatic cargo.
The directorate received specific information that an attempt will be made to smuggle liquor in the garb of diplomatic cargo ostensibly imported in the name of the Embassy of the State of Palestine.
In pursuance, a consignment being imported under an exemption certificate in the name of the First Secretary Embassy of Palestine said to contain household effects was blocked after the GD was assigned to gate out.
In line with the provisions of article 36 of the Diplomatic and Consular privileges Act, 1972 read with Article 36(2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Islamabad was requested to approach the Embassy for sending an authorized representative for joint examination. The MOFA requested the Embassy to depute a representative for examination on the scheduled date.
However, no representative of the Embassy appeared on the date. The MOFA provided the Embassy with the last chance to nominate a representative for examination but again no one from the Embassy joined.
Eventually, MOFA informed the Directorate that the Embassy has disowned the consignment and had conveyed that the shipping line wants to re-export the consignment. The MOFA referred the matter to the Directorate to take appropriate action as per the Government of Pakistan’s laws.
The Directorate conducted scanning of the consignment which revealed the presence of a huge quantity of bottles. Thereafter, it proceeded with the examination of the container. On opening of the container, a small number of assorted plastic chairs and plastic flowers were found stacked in front of the container behind which 17 pallets consisting of 1,057 cartons of assorted liquor bottles and beer cans were hidden having approx. value of Rs. 252 million.
The sticker of the shipping line “Ocean World Lines International LLC” with destination Karachi was found pasted over transparent wrappings of all the pallets. This aspect effectively negates the shipping line’s reported claim that the container was misdirected.
It is abundantly evident from the examination report that the information was correct and a clandestine attempt to smuggle liquor in the garb of diplomatic cargo has been effectively foiled by the Directorate. After examination, the recovered goods were re-stuffed in the container and re-sealed and Musheernama-cum-inventory of the goods was prepared on the spot and duly signed by all present. The goods have been seized under Section 168 of the Customs Act 1969. Accordingly, the seizure report has been forwarded for adjudication and criminal proceedings have been initiated.
Picture is for the purpose of illustration.