Lahore: ‘Customs seized 230 automatic weapons’
LAHORE: The Air Freight Unit of Customs Department has seized 230 automatic weapons, which were imported from Turkey, and registered a case against illegal importers and clearance agents for further interrogation.
Customs Department had also registered two separate FIRs on the import of 610 prohibited automatic weapons after the Inspectorate of Armaments (IA) at GHQ declared the weapons as automatic by design. However, Customs Department has yet to recover 610 automatic weapons from the accused persons.
It was said by Customs Department Additional Collector Asif Jah during a press conference held at his office on Monday. Asif Jah told reporters that some consignments of automatic weapons were got cleared by some importers last year, declaring weapons as semiautomatic. However, he said that suspecting the weapons automatic, samples of the seized weapons were retrieved and were sent to the IA at GHQ for verification.
On receipt of the verification report that the weapons were fully automatic by design, two FIRs (19/11 and 20/11) were registered on September 30, 2011 by the Lahore Customs against the importers and their clearing agents for mis-declaration and fraud. The accused persons Mirza Hassan Askari Baig, Tariq Butt, Mirza Muhammad Ibrahim, Humayun Baig, Syed Irfan Ali, Shahzada Khurram Khan, Muhammad Riaz Qureshi and Shams Nasir Pirzada were involved in importing 240 pistols and a case, No 19/2011, was registered against them on September 30, 2011.
The accused persons, identified as Sultan Ali Khan, Syed Irfan Ali, Shahzada Khurram Khan and Shams Nasir Pirzada were involved in importing 370 automatic pistols and a case, No 20/11, was registered against them on September 30, 2011.
The additional collector told the media that another FIR, No 21/11, was also registered on November 25, 2011 for identical offence and over 230 automatic weapons had also been seized which were illegally cleared in March 2011. He said that the accused persons identified as Yar Muhammad, Noor Zaib, Bilal Saeed and Muhammad Khalid were involved in importing 230 automatic pistols and a case, No 21/2011, was registered on November 25, 2011. Asif Jah said that a parallel process had also been initiated to determine the role of customs staff so that action against the delinquent staff could also be initiated.
Asif Jah said that the investigation of the cases was still underway to bust the network of illegal importers. About the initial investigations, Asif Jah said that a group of weapon dealers and their financers had been involved in this scam.