Customs foil bid to smuggle foreign liquor worth over Rs80 million in Karachi

A Pakistani official uses a steamroller to crush bottles of liquor in the outskirts of Karachi on February 20, 2020. — AFP

Customs officials have foiled an attempt to smuggle foreign liquor worth over Rs80 million from Port Qasim into Karachi under the guise of diplomatic cargo.

According to a spokesperson from Pakistan customs, the goods declaration showed that the container was being imported as diplomatic cargo for an embassy.

The customs officials intercepted the suspicious container and wrote to the embassy concerned for confirmation; however, the embassy professed to have no knowledge of the imported goods.

According to sources, upon checking, it was revealed that instead of domestic goods, the container was carrying foreign liquor worth approximately Rs85 million.

The customs spokesperson said that the officials had registered a case and arrested one suspect, while investigation and efforts are underway to nab more members of the group involved in the smuggling.

The arrested suspect has been presented in court and remanded for six days, the spokesperson said.

This is not the first case of alcohol smuggling in the port city involving diplomatic cargo. Earlier this year, the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (I&I), Customs, Karachi, seized 12,780 bottles of liquor and beer cans (10,548 bottles and 2,160 cans) worth Rs252 million imported in the garb of diplomatic cargo.

The documents revealed that Absolut Vodka’s 1,080 bottles, Scotch whisky’s 3,000 bottles, blended Clan MCG’s 1,080 bottles, Grants Blended Scoth whisky’s 828 bottles, Chivas Regal’s 888, Sparkling Wine’s 120 bottles etc. were seized by the customs.

According to the documents, the directorate received a specific piece of information that an attempt would be made to smuggle liquor in the garb of diplomatic cargo ostensibly imported in the name of the Embassy of the State of Palestine.