October 12, 2019
QUETTA: Trade activities between Pakistan and Iran via the Taftan border remained suspended for the fourth consecutive day on Friday as protests against the behaviour of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Pakistan Customs continued.
The strike — led by the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) and supported by a large number of importers, exporters, clearing and forwarding agents — is causing heavy financial loss to the FBR and Pakistan Customs on account of duty and other taxes.
Protestors’ stress they will continue with the strike as long as their problems are not resolved.
“Customs and the FBR suffered a loss of over Rs200 million on account of duty and other taxes on import and export goods during the last four days,” a senior official responsible for tax collection at the Taftan border told Dawn on the condition of anonymity.
Daily collection of the FBR and Pakistan Customs is between Rs60-70m daily at the Pak-Iran border.
Long queues of trucks and other vehicles loaded with import and exports items could be seen on both sides of the border.
“There is no movement of import and export goods at the Pak-Iran border,” a security official posted at the Taftan border told Dawn.
In contrast, the situation at the Pak-Afghan border is normal and trade activities continue as usual. “Trucks loaded with import and export goods from both sides are crossing the border and collection of taxes and duties is happening,” an official of Customs confirmed to this correspondent.
Meanwhile, QCCI Vice President Badaruddin Kakar and representatives of various bodies alleged that the FBR and Custom seniors officials posted in Quetta and Islamabad are promoting smuggling in Balochistan.
They said that on one hand the federal government is encouraging paying of taxes and doing trade, on the other hand FBR and Customs attitude is completely against the government’s policies.
“We are paying duty and taxes properly on items imported from Iran and get these cleared by the Customs. However, despite the clearance our trucks are stopped at the border without any reason,” Kakar claimed.
Responding to Dawn, the Customs official of Quetta Collectorate denied the QCCI allegations. He explained that few days ago, the Customs staff detained three trucks on the information that goods loaded on the said trucks are not scrap.
“We are waiting for the court’s verdict in this regard,” he said.
The official stressed that Customs Quetta is quite efficient and active on the directive of the Collector Customs Quetta against the transport of snuggled goods. We have seized miscellaneous smuggled goods worth millions of rupees, he added.