ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Customs thwarted an attempt to smuggle a cache of mobile phones from China into Pakistan via the Khunjerab Pass.
Syed Imtiaz Hussain, Assistant Collector Customs at Sost Dry Port, informed Private Media on Sunday that they confiscated 720 mobile phones valued at Rs40 million near the Khunjerab summit in Sost.
The smugglers had abandoned the mobile phone cartons near the Khunjerab summit before reaching the customs checkpost in Sost.
They had intended to retrieve the mobile phones using a local vehicle and bypass the checkpost without inspection, he added. Acting on a tip-off, anti-smuggling scouts conducted a raid at the location, seized the cartons, and impounded them.
The official mentioned that this marked the second such attempt this year to smuggle mobile phones through the Khunjerab Pass.
In July, authorities seized 1,480 mobile phones valued at Rs13.68 million near the Khunjerab summit.
He noted that a similar effort had been made in the past to smuggle mobile phones using a passenger vehicle traveling from China to Pakistan. Mr. Hussain explained that the scrutiny of passenger vehicles traveling through the Khunjerab Pass from China to Pakistan had been intensified.
Collector Customs Arshad Khan, speaking to Private Media , stated that customs had increased their scrutiny of imported goods from China, as well as vehicles and passengers. He mentioned that the anti-smuggling scouts regularly patrolled the area from Sost to the Khunjerab summit.
Mr. Khan also confirmed that normal trade between Pakistan and China through the Khunjerab Pass continued. Additionally, he expressed confidence that customs would meet the tax collection target set by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for Sost Dry Port. The Khunjerab Pass stands as the highest paved Sino-Pak border at an elevation of 15,500 feet.
As per an agreement between the two nations, trade and travel through the pass are permitted from April to November. Moreover, there is a daily bus service from the Sost valley in Gilgit-Baltistan to China’s Xinjiang province.
The outbreak of Covid-19 in China had led to the closure of the Khunjerab Pass in November 2019. After over two and a half years, the pass was reopened last year solely to facilitate the transportation of containers filled with goods from China to Pakistan, while travel resumed in April this year.