Islamabad: Attempt to smuggle foreign currency to Dubai foiled
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Customs have foiled an attempt to smuggle foreign currency to Dubai and arrested two people involved in capital’s flight from the country. The Pakistan Customs thwarted an attempt to smuggle 273,000 Saudi Riyals and 80,000 UAE Dirhams from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport to Dubai.
On Monday at about 9:50 pm while scanning the baggage of passengers, the Pakistan Customs staff suspected the presence of currency in a bag. The bag was examined which led to the recovery of a huge amount of foreign currency beyond the limit prescribed under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947 i.e. US $10,000 or equivalent.
The passenger, who was identified as Ameer Zeb, son of Adil Sher, having Pakistani passport No. BE 5096711, resident of Totalai, Buner, was departing for Dubai via flight No. NL 221. Preliminary inquiry revealed that an accomplice of the passenger, namely Amanullah Khan, son of Umbaras Khan, resident of Totalai, Buner, was standing outside the International Departure Area, who was also taken into custody.
The Pakistan Customs authorities also recovered certain documents from the possession of these men regarding ‘Hawala’ transactions.
According to sources, since May 2012 Pakistan Customs has foiled seven attempts of bulk cash smuggling from the BBI Airport, Islamabad, wherein foreign currency equivalent to Rs265.15 million had been seized, five FIRs were lodged and five persons were arrested. These cases also include seizure of foreign currency equivalent to Rs70,000,000 concealed in toilet of a Dubai bound aircraft which by any standards is a remarkable achievement.
Pakistan is facing a serious problem of flight of foreign currency to other countries regarding which the State Bank of Pakistan has also shown its concerns. In the recent years, smuggling of bulk currency has become a preferred method for drug trafficking organisations and other transnational criminal enterprises to move illicit proceeds across our border, however, in Pakistan main source of transferring money to abroad is ‘Hundi/Hawala’ — a phenomenon in which not currency but value of currency is transferred to another country within a few minutes.
In ‘Hawala’ business smuggling of currency often takes place when Hawaladars (persons engaged in the business of Hawala) offset mutual transactions carried out during a specific period. Currency smuggling is also a concern for developed countries as the unaccounted money may be used in perpetrating organised crimes and terrorism. Strengthening of LEA like Customs with provisions of modern non-intrusive detection equipments and robust investigations may help contain smuggling of currency.