Taking several steps to control smuggling of currency from Pakistan, customs authorities have launched a major crackdown at Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad by deputing vigilance teams to monitor international flights destined to Dubai, China and Bangkok, besides special checking at VVIP Lounge.
Sources told Business Recorder here on Wednesday that Dr Arslan Subuctageen, Collector of Customs, Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Islamabad, has taken proactive measures to curb smuggling of currency and gold at the Islamabad airport.
For the first time, the VVIP Lounge would be strictly checked and monitored by the special staff of the customs. Moreover, body search of members of other agencies would be carried out on random basis at the airport.
On receiving credible reports of attempts of currency/gold smuggling, Dr Arslan has immediately enforced measures at the said airport on Wednesday.
The smuggling of mobile phones at the Islamabad airport has already been completely eliminated and new measures would intercept any attempt to smuggle currency or gold from Islamabad airport.
Customs authorities have made special efforts to check smuggling of currency by implementing a foolproof plan here on Wednesday.
In this regard, a full-fledged plan has been enforced covering all aspects to control any possible attempt of currency or gold smuggling outside the country.
According to the enforcement plan implemented at Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad, it has been learnt through credible sources that attempts of currency smuggling shall be made in next few days through Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
Collector of Customs Dr Arslan Subuctageen has issued new instructions to the customs officers at the said airport to be followed in true letter and spirit.
Firstly, all flights destined to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, China and Bangkok may invariably be rummaged by vigilance staff. Secondly, at Rawal Lounge International Departure Side, one inspector may remain there to oversee the scanners and carry out body search and personal baggage search.
For this exercise help of lady searcher Magdline may be sought as and when required.
Thirdly, the Vigilance Wing may also make its presence felt at the waiting area of International Departure Hall, washrooms and cafeterias to detect any suspicious activities being carried out.
Fourthly, body search of members of other agencies may be undertaken on random basis. Food trolleys and stocks of shops located in departure area may also be examined to create deterrence against any probable attempt.
Fifthly, inspection of engineering and catering, services, entering through gammon gate, especially at the time of sensitive flights, may be undertaken as previously ordered.
Sixthly, random examination of luggage passing through ASF scanners located at exit points on departure side may also be undertaken.
Seventh, vigilance wing will ensure continuous announcement/display by CAA for creating awareness regarding prevalent rules related to taking in/out of currency, customs instructions added.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar chaired a high-level meeting yesterday, participated by Secretary Interior, Secretary Finance, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, DG FIA, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Joint-Director Intelligence Bureau and other senior officers concerned and directed all the agencies to take strict measures immediately against criminal elements involved in the smuggling of gold and currency and take them to task as per the country’s law.
The finance minister said that action will be taken against forex and bullion smuggling which is detrimental to the interest of Pakistan.
He said that action will also be taken against those who are behind this illegal practice. He directed FIA, IB, Custom Intelligence and the State Bank of Pakistan to keep strict vigilance in this regard and all airports and other entry points should be kept under strict surveillance to curb this menace of currency and bullion smuggling.
He again dispelled the rumours about the demonization of Rs 5000 currency notes and withdrawal of Rs 40,000 prize bonds, freezing of lockers which are being spread by the vested interest to harm the economy of the country.
He further said that as clarified earlier, there is no such proposal under consideration of the government. -PR