KARACHI: A whopping $10 million is smuggled out of Pakistan every day in the form of different currencies and 60 percent of this is sent through western borders, including the Taftan border with Iran, officials said on Thursday.
Detailing the findings of a report by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Zafar Paracha, Secretary General of the Exchanges Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) said that while $10 million is an average estimate, the number can go up to $30 million, too.
The FIA’s report -- sent to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for further investigation -- states that the US dollar, pound sterling and several other foreign currencies are being smuggled on a massive scale through Iran land route.
A senior FIA official, who chose to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the matter, told Arab News that the agency suspects 100 people -- travelling to Iran through the Taftan border between April 15 and July 17 this year -- are allegedly involved in currency smuggling.
“Currency smuggling through borders with Iran and Afghanistan is a frequent occurrence and the FIA’s letter to the MOF and the FBR is aimed at checking the credentials of 100 frequent travelers, who may be involved in money laundering,” the official said, adding that the smuggling can’t be quantified.
“There are no measures to quantify the illegal transfer of money except in those cases when it’s confiscated so the successful illegal transfer can’t be quantified,” he said.
Malik Bostan, President of the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP), estimates that the currency smuggling to Iran and Afghanistan, is on a higher side. Bostan says he has evidence to support facts that up to $8 million are smuggled to Iran and Afghanistan from Pakistan on an average every day.
He said that the interim regime’s decision to seal the borders with Iran and Afghanistan in August and the State Bank of Pakistan’s banning exchange houses from moving Pakistani currency from one city to another by air, had resulted in the highest trading month for the exchange companies.