Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that up to USD 2 billion is being “moved” from the country’s south to north on an annual basis through private security vans, according to Pakistan based, The News International newspaper.
The minister while addressing a press conference on Friday said that every year, private security vans, carrying USD 2 billion in cash, “move from south to north.” He said dollars are smuggled out from there, the report said.
Dar said that earlier, wheat and fertilisers were smuggled out but now dollars are also being smuggled. He said that they were discussing how to check and stop it.
Recently, another Pakistan-based newspaper, The Express Tribune reported that millions of dollars are being smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan each day. This helps in providing support to the Afghan’s economy after the US and Europe denied the Taliban access to billions in foreign reserves.
According to foreign media, the outflows are worsening a rapidly developing economic crisis in Pakistan.
According to the general secretary of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan Muhammad Zafar Paracha, traders, and smugglers are bringing as much as USD 5 million across the border daily.
That more than covers the USD 17 million that Afghanistan’s central bank injects into the market each week. The illicit flows show how the Taliban are evading sanctions after their 2021 takeover of the country, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.
The smuggling is contributing to the depletion of Pakistan’s foreign reserves and adding to the downward pressure on the rupee as the currency tumbles to record lows. “Currency is being smuggled without any doubt. This has become quite a lucrative business,” Paracha said.
US-based, The Diplomat magazine, recently reported that money exchangers on both sides of the Durand Line have bolstered the Afghanistan-Pakistan US dollar cartel by manipulating trade, both actual and forged.
The Diplomat said the black market is dominated by the flow of US dollars across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which unifies the economic crises of the two countries. (ANI)