ISLAMABAD - The illegal import of goods from other countries, especially from neighbouring states, is having adverse effects on the local local industry as well as economy of Pakistan. During a survey, several traders, shopkeepers and owners of departmental stores as well as small grocery stores in the Capital gave their version to TheNation about cross-border smuggling. The traders that hold business activities in posh as well as peripheral sectors here said the trend of shopping among citizens was increasing with the fast approaching Eid, however, most of the people preferred to buy imported goods, most of which had been brought by several traders without paying any duties and were thus available at low prices. "Consumers preferred imported goods due to their good quality, durability and low prices," said Shaukat, owner of departmental store in G-10. "People are least bothered about the fact that the trend of purchasing non-custom paid items is weakening our indigenous industry," he added. Another trader Sikander Lodhi who owns a departmental store in the sector F-10 said that owing to unprecedented price hike, low purchasing power and deteriorated quality of Pakistan-made items, the consumers from upper and middle classes preferred to buy imported items. He added that the people wanted to save their money and buy a reasonable item within their budget, and thus the purchase of imported items was best available option for them. The traders further revealed that such imported items mostly included clothes, cosmetics, home accessories, crockery, leather bags, leather goods and other related items. They alleged that some moneymakers hailing from Afghanistan and bordering areas of NWFP, especially from tribal belt and northern areas were encouraging smuggling, which was badly affecting local industry. "We have fulfilled all the trade requirements and have obtained NOC's from CDA. We work in complete accordance with the trade laws but some Afghan smugglers as well as Pakistani moneymakers are damaging our business on account of illegal trade," said Simon Gill, a trader in F-7. Abpara Market, G-9 Markaz (Karachi Company), Peshawar Morr in Islamabad while Raja Bazaar, Moti Bazaar, Imperial Market, China Market and Bara Market in Rawalpindi are believed to be the hub of illegal trade where imported goods are available at very cheaper prices. The authorities concerned were least bothered about the existing situation, the traders lamented. Well-informed sources in Pakistan Customs told TheNation that the transit route being used by Afghanistan through Pakistan was the focal point of smuggling. Afghanistan is landlocked state with no access to sea. He said Afghan traders purchased duty-free items from other states and sold them in Pakistan since the demand of these goods was far greater in Pakistan as compared to the war-hit Afghanistan. "The sea route from Karachi and the Pak-Afghan borders at Toorkham and Chaman were considered safe for smuggling," he revealed. "These smugglers bring goods from nearby states in the name of transit trade but sell these items in Karachi from where they are circulated across the country," another official stated, adding this illegal trade is frequent from Central Asian States, Iran, Russia, China and India to Pakistan. The sources blamed the incapable Karzai-led Afghan government is promoting smuggling, drugs and weapons in Pakistan that led to terrorism, instability, unrest and other social vices. "A strong will is required by Afghan government in collaboration with the Pakistani authorities to weed out this problem, which Afghan government lacks," sources added. Meanwhile, local traders demanded of strict check at border areas and sea routes and extensive mobilisation of Customs authorities to discourage cross-border smuggling. "Customs' authorities get heavy shares from smugglers and allow them to operate freely. They must be brought to book," they demanded.