KARACHI: A large number of smuggled cars as well as those brought into the country without payment of duty have been leased out or are under use of leading commercial banks and private leasing companies, according to sources in the Customs department.
The sources told Dawn on Tuesday that the Anti-Smuggling Organisation (ASO) of the Collectorate of Preventive Customs had given a seven-day notice to banks and leasing companies for recovery of such vehicles.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had compiled a list of smuggled and non-duty paid vehicles. After cross-matching of registration data of different authorities, it was learnt that 50,000 vehicles across the country had dual or identical chassis numbers.
The FBR forwarded its finding to the Anti-Smuggling Organisation for action. But on minute scrutiny of the data provided by the FBR, the ASO learnt that out of the 50,000 vehicles, only 2,300 were registered with the Motor Registration Authority, Karachi.
It was also learnt that out of the 2,300 vehicles, 380 had been leased out either by commercial banks or by private leasing companies.
The ASO has begun a drive to collect data about the remaining 1,920 smuggled vehicles or non-duty paid vehicles.
According to official figures made available to Dawn, 380 vehicles are at present on lease or in use by banks and leasing companies.
The highest number of such vehicles are with Muslim Commercial Bank, 97, followed by United Bank (67), Habib Bank (47), Faisal Bank 25, Standard Chartered Bank 21, Meezan Bank 19, Askari Bank 21, Allied Bank two, Al Zamin Bank 21, Dawood Islamic two and Allied Bank two.
Amongst the leasing companies, the highest number of impugned vehicles are with Crescent Leasing (21), Orix Leasing (21) and Pak Gulf Leasing 16.
After the Supreme Court’s Sept 3 order, the Collector of Preventive Customs, Khawar Farid Maneka, had set up three teams for investigation and recovery of smuggled and non-duty paid vehicles.
Sources said these teams had seized 28 smuggled vehicles over the past two months. The haul included nine cars, 11 Land Cruiser Jeeps, four Hiace vans and one double cabin pickup.