This government has been making huge claims of curbing smuggled luxury items, but actions and ground realities betray this shallow rhetoric. Smuggled Indian confectionary items, like Haldiram Nimco products, biscuits, packed food items, shampoo etc are openly displayed and sold by big retailers in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, etc. One such store is located in Y-Block DHA Lahore, adjacent to Jashni Sweets. It is a wholesale market which sells Indian made chewing tobacco called ghutka, banned in Pakistan, and alcoholic spirits.

This store also has numerous other branches in Gulberg and other similar posh localities. In Karachi and Islamabad too, big retailers sell Indian products despite the fact that similar items are also made in Pakistan.

It is reflective of poor governance. Corrupt state institutions created by the state to prevent such illegalities are either blind or incompetent and hence party to these irregularities. Our ruling elites and public officials who frequently shop at such places have seen these stores, but choose to overlook these illegalities. Some people argue that these items are being imported through the Gulf States not only to us but also to India. Such imports from India as of essential spare parts for factories which have Indian made machines or of life saving medicines etc. are understandable but not such unnecessary items as the ones sold by big retailers.

MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore