28 held, illegal currency shops closed in FIA crackdown in Peshawar

Published September 8, 2023
Sarafa Bazaar at Peshawar’s Chowk Yadgar presents a deserted look on Thursday after an FIA raid. — White Star
Sarafa Bazaar at Peshawar’s Chowk Yadgar presents a deserted look on Thursday after an FIA raid. — White Star

PESHAWAR: As part of a crackdown on illegal forex trade and smuggling of US dollars, the Federal Investigation Agency on Thursday raided multiple shops in Chowk Yadgar here, the province’s largest currency market.

More than 45 shops were closed in the “hub of illegal currency business” in Peshawar, according to FIA deputy director Afzal Khan Niazi.

“No one can deal in foreign currency without getting permission from authorities,” he told Dawn.

Mr Niazi said that the crackdown on illegal forex trade was launched by the FIA’s Commercial Banking Circle, whose team was accompanied by the personnel of police and other law-enforcement agencies.

Official says Rs102.27m also seized in Peshawar

He said the currency shops operating in the provincial capital without obtaining licences from the State Bank of Pakistan had been closed.

The official said that the FIA carried out more than 27 raids in the last 20 days leading to the arrest of 28 people for doing hundi-hawala business and the recovery of Rs102.27 million cash from them.

“It’s a huge [currency] market, which is open to licensed operators only. Those without legal documents can’t do this business,” he said.

Mr Niazi said the FIA’s drive against currency smugglers, hundi-hawala dealers and other illegal forex traders would continue and all those outlaws would be tracked and dealt with according to the law.

The FIA’s Commercial Banking Circle had sealed four plazas in Chowk Yadgar area on December 12, 2022, over illegal currency business, according to officials.

They said the Chowk Yadgar plazas were used for hundi-hawala trade and currency smuggling and raids were carried out there by the FIA along with an intelligence agency.

ARRESTED: The FIA’s Anti-Corruption Circle has arrested five National Database and Registration Authority employees for allegedly facilitating people in getting “forged” computerised national identity cards.

“The accused helped 59 people obtain identity cards,” read an official statement issued by FIA.

It added that the accused were taken into custody after their pre-arrest bail applications were rejected by special judge (anti-corruption and immigration) Rajab Ali Khan.

The Nadra employees named in two cases are being investigated, according to the statement.

GOODS SEIZED: The Collectorate of Customs, Dera Ismail Khan, has seized Rs389 million worth of smuggled goods in the Darazinda area of Dera Ismail Khan district.

Officials told Dawn that three trucks and five containers seized by customs officials were loaded with smuggled tyres, yeast, cloth, welding electrodes, black tea, dry yeast, glassware and plasticware.

They said that the value of seized goods was Rs389 million and that of vehicles and containers Rs130 million and that they all were seized in active coordination with the local police.

The officials said the items were shifted to the anti-smuggling office, enforcement division, Collectorate of Customs, DI Khan.

“This is the biggest smuggled goods capture in the history of the collectorate, both in terms of value and quantity, and one of the biggest recoveries made by the Pakistan Customs in the recent years,” an official told Dawn.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2023

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