SIALKOT-The business of smuggled items is at its peak in the Gujranwala Division markets under the nose of corrupt officers of Customs Department.

The local markets in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad and Gujranwala districts are filled with the smuggled clothes, cosmetics, threads, electronics, LCDs, LEDs, computers, laptops, mobile phones, tea, cigarettes, tyres etc.

According to local businessmen, the big quantity of the smuggled clothes of the international brands, cosmetics, foreign auto parts, laptops, mobile phones and other electrical appliances were constantly being provided in big vehicles to the local markets. They said that the nasty practice goes unchecked and unabated by the Customs officials.

The perturbed businessmen added that the international brands’ smuggled clothes worth Rs10 million were being supplied to the local markets daily in Gujranwala Division, which has broken the backbone of the industry by causing the big financial loss to the local industry.

The people indulged in the illegal business bring these smuggled articles/products to the central Punjab from where these smuggled items are supplied to the local markets in Gujranwala Division through the check post established by the Customs Department at River Jhelum, River Chenab, Kamonki Toll Plaza, Saadhokey Check Post, Nandipur Check Post and at other places, disclosed the traders.

In Sialkot, the local markets in Sialkot Cantonment, the shopping malls, show rooms and shops in Sialkot city’s Chowk Shaheedaan, Tehsil Bazaar, Gohadpur and surrounding areas are full of the smuggled items. When contacted, Customs officials said that they had been making effective measures to curb smuggling.

Meanwhile, tightening its noose around human traffickers, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) launched a crackdown and arrested 80 suspects including 30 notorious proclaimed offenders (POs) in Gujranwala Division.

According to FIA Divisional Deputy Director Khalid Anees, the 30 POs had gone underground or living their life in a new guise in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad and Gujranwala districts.

The arrested accused had been running their illegal business of sending the innocent people abroad especially to European, African, Middle East Countries and the Gulf States illegally. He added that the FIA has sent the accused behind the bars after registering separate cases.

FRONT DESKS ORDERED: Regional Police Officer M Tahir announced to establish 87 front desks in different police stations.

He was addressing a meeting of the senior police officials held at Sialkot. He added that 17 front desks would be established at different police stations in Sialkot district, 14 in Narowal district, 22 in Gujrat district, 11 in Mandi Bahaud Din district, 10 in Hafizabad district and 13 front desks would be established at different police stations in Gujranwala district.

He said that earlier 10 desks have already been working in Sialkot where total 3,266 complaints were registered on which 158 online cases were registered, 3,095 applications were filed while 13 were under process during the last five months.