Scouts vehicles being used to smuggle arms and explosives

By Asad Kharal / Creative: Muhammad Suhaib

The report revealed that in some cases women along with infants were also being used to facilitate smuggling. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

LAHORE: Pakistan’s porous western borders, which continue to play host to militancy and terrorism, are now facing a new threat that has developed innovative ways to smuggle arms.

As the country struggles to eliminate terrorism, recent reports suggest that women and children and vehicles used by scouts are now being used to smuggle weapons and explosives in different parts of the country.

Intelligence and law enforcement agencies recently released a report identifying sources of this smuggling mafia. The report states that official scouts vehicles, used as protective cover against authorities, lead the way while a convoy transporting arms and explosives follow them in the northern areas of the country.

Extracts from the report, available with The Express Tribune, explain in detail how the smuggling mafia operates. Smugglers usually use their privately owned vehicles while transporting arms and explosives but a scouts car now leads the way to ensure clearance from the police force at different check posts.

The report revealed that in some cases women along with infants were also being used to facilitate smuggling. Women clad in the burqas usually accompany the smugglers while they are transporting their consignment from one place to the other.

The report states that various police and custom officers also facilitate these smugglers at different check posts.

Besides the porous western borders of the country, Darra Adamkhel, southern Peshawar and Sakhakot Market – situated in the northwestern region of Mardan – are considered to be places where the weapons and explosives are manufactured.

The smugglers follow five routes to smuggle weapons. The first route usually starts from Darra Adamkhel and ends at Rawalpindi. The smugglers travel from Darra Adamkhel to Peshawar from where they go towards Attock, Haripur and then through Wah to reach Rawalpindi.

The other route is from Darra Adamkhel to Peshawar and then moving towards Mansehra from where they go towards Kaghan, Chilas and then Gilgit.

Two other routes begin from the Sakhkot Market and then move towards Mardan from where one route leads to Rawalpindi while the other route ends in Gilgit.

A fifth route that is used by smugglers only during the summers originates through Chitral, passes Ghizer and ends in Gilgit.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2013.

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