The use of smuggled and unregistered cars has become common and no authority, whether Customs or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), pays any heed to the matter.
Afghan-smuggled cars are now being sold openly on numerous websites, including Pakwheels, Olx, and Facebook. Commonly known as non-custom or Kabli cars, they are being sold at throwaway prices to thousands of customers.
When contacted, the FIA director said, “This comes under the jurisdiction of the Customs. We do not oversee such matters in any capacity.” Nevertheless, the websites do in fact come under the check of the Cyber Crimes Unit – a department of the FIA.
Violators go scot free, while Customs and the FIA pass the buck between each other. The sources in the FIA confided to Pakistan Today that several elected representatives were use protocol vehicles on which the custom has not been paid.
The sources claimed it has become much more difficult to smuggle cars after the Pak-Afghan border was closed following the recent terror attacks. However, cars worth billions of rupees smuggled before the closure were still in the market.
The sources added that the smuggled vehicles were bought to bargain centres in FATA and Malakand. The car dealers have also set up markets in the towns close to the border in Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost and Paktika owing to the growing demand of non-custom paid vehicles.
A source said that Maskani in Lower Dir district had become a hub of smuggled vehicles where dealers from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies and Malakand were buying non-custom paid vehicles. He said that the smugglers either used the routes from Zakhakhel Bazaar, Shalman Khule or ferried the vehicles through the Kabul River at Malagori.
Despite the deployment of paramilitary forces at several check posts and checkpoints along highways, vehicles were easily being smuggled from Afghanistan to Jamrud, from where they proceeded to Malakand division and then spread to the rest of the country.
Balochistan is also known for the use of smuggled cars and auto parts. Most of the non-customs paid vehicles are allegedly brought to Pakistan through the Chaman border near Quetta. In 2016, the Quetta traffic police impounded 9,500 unregistered vehicles and 58 non-custom paid vehicles worth Rs 9 billion.