The Customs officials in a successful raid last night seized smuggled mobile phones worth around Rs. 1 billion, reports 92 News.
The authorities have filed a case against the importers who tried to deceive them by changing the bill of lading to show that they were importing refrigerator and cloth.
According to the report, the smuggled mobile phones were ordered by four companies in Lahore through misdeclaration. Deputy Collector Customs has shared that the authorities are still investigating how the mobile phones were being imported into the country.
The seized smuggled mobile phones also consisted of many devices that are banned in the country which raises a serious question of national security since their presence cannot be traced in the country.
Mobile phone imports are facing serious concerns thanks to the daunting regulatory fees which have opened a channel of opportunity for grey importers. Aside from the duties slapped during Budget 2017-18, FBR also put additional fees on the import of cellular devices last year paving the way for smuggled mobile phones in Pakistan.
In October 2017, PTA also introduced a new system called ‘Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System’ (DIRBS), to discourage smuggling and theft of mobile devices in the country. In principle, the system will use the distinct IMEI number of each device, along with other parameters, to help in identifying, monitoring and regulating such devices but we still have to see the system in action.