Smuggling is the illegal transportation of objects, substances, information or people, such as out of a house or building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations. It means to import or export secretly contrary to the law and especially without paying duties imposed by law.

It has become a huge problem in Pakistan. Smuggling across Pakistan’s borders with Iran and Afghanistan continues to plague the country’s economy. According to the report, from 2014 to 2018, the volume of goods smuggled into Pakistan increased nearly threefold. In terms of value as a share of Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), smuggling went up from 3.88% to 11.25% in that period. According to the report, smuggled goods have penetrated several sectors of Pakistan’s economy. These range from cellphones and fuel to daily-use items like toiletries and tea.

Smuggling is highly harmful to any country. Firstly, the country loses a lot of money by way of unpaid taxes and duties when goods are smuggled in or out. Secondly, the industries of the country are badly affected when foreign goods are sold at prices lower than their market prices inside the country.

Authorities should take the necessary steps to check and stop smuggling. First of all, we should ask the people through newspapers, radio, and television and through public speeches. Not to buy smuggled goods. Secondly, we should develop industry and trade inside the country so that most of the attractive electronics and other goods of daily use are produced properly inside the country. Thirdly, we should take care that the quality of goods produced inside the country is better or at least the same as that of foreign goods. Fourthly, we should punish smugglers heavily so that the smuggling of drugs and other banned goods stops forthwith.

However, while curbing smuggling on a massive scale steps should be taken to provide alternative jobs or employment to the smugglers. If you can’t set up industries and can’t provide gainful employment to the so-called smugglers, say, in the NWFP and Baluchistan, how will the businessmen be able to earn and live?

ALI HASAN SHERAZI,

Sargodha.