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Hundreds of tonnes of ironworks daily smuggled to Pakistan

Hundreds of tonnes of ironworks daily smuggled to Pakistan

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May 15, 2017 - 21:55

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Hundreds of tonnes of ironware is daily smuggled to neighboring Pakistaninfo-icon, the Afghanistaninfo-icon Industrial Association (AIA) said on Monday, claiming strongmen backed by some government officials were complicit in the roaring business.

The AIA warned continued ironworks smuggling would cause iron melting factories in Afghanistan to collapse. Owners of some iron melting factories have also complained against involvement of some customs officials and police in the smuggling of old ironware.

However the Ministry of Interior (MoI) says police have taken some towards preventing illegal smuggling of ironworks and has so far received no report about police involvement in the act.

Mohammad Karim Azimi, AIA’s executive board chairman, told Pajhwok Afghan News that former president Hamid Karzai had banned exports of old and used things made of iron.

However, currently hundreds of tonnes of scrap iron was smuggled under various pretexts via Spin Boldak, Khost and Torkham borders to Pakistan every day, he said.

“Highways and customs officials and local strongmen are involved in the smuggling. Lorries are loaded with iron and no one can prevent them.”

He called old iron’s smuggling a big blow to the national interest. Without going into details, he added “big hands are involved in smuggling of iron and if the government does not prevent it, iron melting factories will collapse in the country.”

He said iron hadn’t been extracted in Afghanistan so far and raw material used in melting factories was consisted of old iron.

Azimi added the AIA had many times complained to the MoI, the Ministry of Finance and the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon’s complaints commission, but failed to elicit a positive response.

Parwaiz Khwajazada, an iron melting factory deputy in-charge, expressed concern overthe smuggling of iron to Pakistan, saying approximately about 400 to 600 tonnes of iron was being smuggled to Pakistan via Spin Boldak and Torkham border daily.

He accused Pakistan of unhealthy competition that hit hard iron melting factories in Afghanistan. Khwajazada said Pakistan had lowered customs duty on iron imports from Afghanistan as compared to other countries in order to encourage people towards smuggling iron.

sns/ma

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