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LAHORE: The Customs authorities have sought help of the ministries of interior and foreign affairs to capture the Manchester-based principal accused who allegedly used a 21-year-old woman of Czech Republic to smuggle heroin abroad from Pakistan.

“The authorities have sought help of the ministries of interior and foreign affairs in capturing Manchester-based accused Tariq through Interpol and bring him to Pakistan for initiating legal proceedings,” an official of the Customs Lahore told Dawn on Wednesday.

A Czech national, Ms Tereza Hluskova (bearing passport No 44116526), was caught on Jan 10 by the Lahore Customs authorities at the Allama Iqbal International Airport for trying to smuggle 8.5kg heroin worth Rs85 million by an Abu Dhabi-bound flight.

The accused during preliminary and detailed investigation revealed the names of those who used her for smuggling heroin to various places from Pakistan and other countries. However, the authorities after completing the investigation on the basis of FIR No 1/2018 lodged under section 16-15-9C-14-8-7-6 of CNSA-1997 sent her to Kot Lakhpat Jail.

“She (Ms Hluskova) is likely to be produced in court on Feb 7 and subsequently tried. An accused (Shoaib alias Sunny) who had handed over to her the bag filled with heroin in secret pockets at the airport has also been arrested and is being investigated,” he said.

While sharing the update of the investigation, the Customs official said Tariq (who is known by his Mr T sobriquet among the members of the racket) had met Ms Hluskova in Manchester, UK, and told her about “his business of introducing and promoting good-looking young women for modelling through photo and video shootings.” For this Tariq had also set up a studio in Manchester, where he would not only conduct photo shoots of Hluskova but also developed friendship and illicit relations with her.

“Once he (Tariq) told Hluskova to visit Pakistan for modelling to promote products of a leading fashion brand, she accepted the offer on the promise of handsome payment. She came to Pakistan and resided in Gujranwala for a few days before coming to Lahore airport to fly for Abu Dhabi with heroin bag given to her by Shoaib,” explained the official.

He said Haroon Pathan was the main supplier of the heroin and he would hand over the stuff to Shoaib in Gujranwala. Shoaib had engaged some people to pack it in bags and informed Tariq through Sajjad, who lives in China, about the plan.

The official said Hluskova was well aware of the illegal business as she had earlier visited various countries including France.

The investigation team, said the official, also traced the complete address of Tariq and shared this along with other documents of the case with the ministries for his arrest through Interpol.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2018