KARACHI:

In a historic case of international importance, Pakistan Customs foiled a major smuggling bid, helping the Afghan officials intercept container with drugs worth $546 million in international market.

The container was en route to Afghanistan from UAE via Pakistan and was carrying 6 metric tons of Iodine, which is also used as a precursor for methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system and is an international and included in the US Drug Enforcement Agency controlled list.

Pakistan Customs Port Control Unit in Karachi, in a joint international counter narcotics operation, shared information about the suspicious container with Afghanistan Customs officials under UNODC [United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime] Container Control Programme.

Under international transit law, Pakistan could not intercept the prohibited material on its own.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Collector Customs Preventive Saqif Saeed said after being tipped-off about the container by the Pakistani authorities, Afghanistan customs officials with the assistance of US and UN anti-narcotics agencies conducted a joint operation and seized it as it entered into the Afghanistan’s territory.

The seized Iodine had the potential to produce 4.5 metric tons of methamphetamine, having market value of Rs91.670 billion ($546 million).

Moreover, the seizure of illicit drugs has also averted the flow of this huge amount which would ultimately be used in terror financing.

The international agencies have appreciated Pakistan Customs’ effective planning and professional handling in execution of the case with other international law enforcement agencies.

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