ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has increased enforcement against the smuggling of contraband items, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said on Tuesday, days after the South Asian country banned luxury imports to stop the outflow of precious foreign exchange.
Pakistan last week announced a complete ban on imported cars and non-essential items as its current account deficit continues to spiral out of control and foreign exchange reserves tumble, pushing the Pakistani rupee to historic lows against the US dollar.
The banned items include imported cars, home appliances, cellular phones, home appliances, shoes, cosmetics, chocolates, among others.
"As the government has banned the import of a few non-essential items, we fear that smuggling of these items will increase," Ismail said on Twitter.
"Therefore, we have increased enforcement against professional khaipyas (bootleggers)."
The minister, however, said that common citizens bringing in a few items from abroad would not be harassed.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Customs said in a statement it had increased enforcement at the Karachi airport to prevent smuggling of items, which had recently been banned by the government.
As a result of heightened vigilance, it said, officials had seized hundreds of kilograms of food stuff and fruit as well as sanitary ware, used mobile phones and branded shoes.
"The enforcement staff has been directed to ensure deterrence in future and to make sure that unscrupulous elements may not use air travel to circumvent the recently imposed ban," the Pakistan Customs added.