According to retired Customs Chief Media Officer, Qamar Thalho, the most common items smuggled out of the country are drugs, currency, gold and antiques. Alcohol and cocaine are generally smuggled into the country as well as electronics.
As was seen last month in May in Karachi, a shipment of heroin was disguised as onions and was headed for Malaysia, which Thalho says is a common tactic.
“We have seen heroin being smuggled in hair clips, potatoes and all kinds of different fruits and vegetables.”
The man attempting to smuggle heroin in a water dispenser was a textbook profiling case. “We questioned the man why he was taking a water dispenser out of Pakistan when usually people bring them in,” Thalho told The Express Tribune. The man reportedly became agitated and started to scream at the officers when they told him they would have to open the water dispenser to check it. Thalho says that agitation was the guilty party’s tell-tale sign. “We opened it and found four kilogrammes of heroin inside it!”
Most of the people caught carrying drugs tend to be “mules”, admits Thalho, and these people don’t even get paid very much. “They are usually offered assurances of cash to their family in case of arrest.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.