Probe says $10m smuggled through Pakistan airports, borders every day

Currency smuggling through borders with Iran and Afghanistan is a frequent occurrence. (AFP/photo)
Updated 11 October 2018

Probe says $10m smuggled through Pakistan airports, borders every day

  • 100 suspects named in money laundering scam
  • FIA report sent to top bodies for further investigation

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.

King Salman holds bilateral talks with Alvi

Updated 12 December 2018

King Salman holds bilateral talks with Alvi

  • Both leaders reviewed matters of mutual interest, including trade ties and investment opportunities
  • President welcomed Kingdom's initiative to increase Pakistani pilgrims' quota to 5,000

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz received Pakistan's President Arif Alvi at the Yamama palace in Riyadh on Wednesday, a statement released by the president’s office read.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed matters of mutual interest, bilateral ties, trade, investment, and economic relations.
Pakistan’s acting ambassador in Riyadh, Zeeshan Ahmed, and consul general in Jeddah, Sheheryar Akbar Khan also accompanied the president in the meeting.
President Alvi was received by the governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar when he arrived in the capital from Madinah.
The president reached Saudi Arabia on Sunday to perform Umrah, marking his first visit to the Kingdom since assuming office in September this year.
Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki also accompanied the president on his journey.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Press Information Department (PID) tweeted on Wednesday that the Minister for Religious Affairs, Noor ul Haq Qadri -- who is also in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah -- met with President Alvi in Madinah and briefed him about the ongoing talks with the Saudi authorities pertaining to the Hajj agreements.
“President welcomed additional 5,000 quota for Pakistani pilgrims granted by Saudi govt,” a statement released by the PID read.
On Monday, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to increase the annual Hajj quota for Pakistan in 2019.
Targeting an increase of 5,000 pilgrims next year, authorities said nearly 184,210 Pakistanis will be able to perform Hajj.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy close bilateral relations, with historic trade ties and religious affinity providing a strong basis of trust between the two countries.