GILGIT: Pakistan Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle a cache of mobile phone sets from China to Pakistan through Khunjerab Pass.
Syed Imtiaz Hussain, Assistant Collector Customs at Sost Dry Port, told Dawn on Sunday that they seized 720 mobile phones worth Rs40 million at Sost near the Khunjerab top.
The smugglers had dropped the mobile phone cartons near Khunjerab top before reaching the customs checkpost at Sost.
The smugglers had planned to pick the mobile phones through a local vehicle and cross the checkpost without being checked, he added. On a tip-off, the anti-smuggling scouts raided the spot and seized the cartons and confiscated it.
The official said this was the second attempt this year to smuggle mobile phones through Khunjerab Pass.
In July, 1,480 mobile phones worth Rs13.68 millions were seized near Khunjerab top.
He said previously in same way an attempt was made to smuggle mobile phones by a passenger vehicle travelling from China to Pakistan. Mr Hussain said checking of passenger vehicles travelling from China to Pakistan through Khunjerab Pass had been tightened.
Collector Customs Arshad Khan told Dawn that the customs had tightened checking of imported goods from China, vehicles and passengers. He said the team of anti-smuggling scouts patrolled the area from Sost to Khunjerab top on a daily basis.
Mr Khan said normal trade between Pakistan and China through Khunjerab Pass continued. He also said the customs will achieve the tax collection target set by FBR from Sost Dry Port. The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved Sino-Pak border (15,500ft).
Under an agreement signed by the two countries, trade and travel through the pass are allowed from April to November while there is a daily bus service from the Sost valley of Gilgit-Baltistan to Xinjiang province of China.
The outbreak of Covid-19 in China led to the closure of the Khunjerab Pass in Nov 2019.
After remaining closed for more than two and a half years, Khunjerab Pass was reopened only to facilitate transportation of containers loaded with goods from China to Pakistan last year while the pass was opened for travel in April this year.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2023