Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to suspend all flights to Dhaka till March 10. Pakistan Foreign Office contacted Bangladesh High Commission seeking clarifications on Bangladeshi security agencies “harassing PIA crew and passengers”.
On February 25, raids were conducted on the Banani house of PIA country manager Ali Abbas. Dhaka Airport Police Station Officer Shah Alam said that Ali Abbas’ driver Alamgir, who was arrested, gave confessional statement before a Dhaka court recently about his involvement in smuggling fake Indian currency notes. Alamgir’s confessions led to the raid on PIA country manager’s house.
PIA country manager was held by the security forces and later deported to Pakistan. Raids were also conducted on the houses of other PIA officials on suspicion of smuggling fake currency notes and other contraband goods. PIA official Irafanullah Shah, who has been serving as Steward for the last eight years in Dhaka, was arrested outside the departure lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
A raid was also conducted on the PIA flight which reached Dhaka from Karachi on February 25 and the plane was searched for about three hours on suspicion of carrying fake Indian currency notes.
Pakistan has now been browbeating Bangladesh government, asking the latter to clear the situation before PIA can resume flights to Dhaka. For Bangladesh the PIA episode comes in the wake of recent reports of contraband goods, among which have been counterfeit Indian currency notes, coming into Bangladesh on PIA flights at regular intervals.
All these years, Bangladesh is being used as a transit route for counterfeit Indian currencies manufactured, supported and controlled by Pakistan. A gang of traders pass them to their Bangladeshi agents who take care of their onward transmission to India.
One Mokleshur Rahman who was arrested in March 2014 in Dhaka with forged bills worth INR 1.50 lakh told his interrogators that he used to work as ‘carrier’ of fake Indian currency which is ‘high in demand’ among illegal cattle traders, smugglers, gun runners and narcotic dealers along India-Bangladesh borders.
It is now learnt that Pakistan has managed to get access to the configuration, specifications and other secret codes of Indian currency notes from some European countries that supply Indian currency papers fitted with security features and another company in Switzerland that supplies security ink used in printing Indian currency note.
The fake notes are printed in government security press located in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta in Pakistan meticulously to evade detection. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence of India has found that Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka among others have fast emerged as routes to push Pakistan-made Indian currencies.
These notes are pushed into India through land, sea and air routes and also through the porous India-Bangladesh and Nepal borders. PIA flights are used to transport counterfeit notes to various countries surrounding India including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Sea-borne consignments are delivered to Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka and to Gujarat directly from Pakistan. Diplomatic bags are also used to carry them to Nepal and Bangladesh.
Media reports in Bangladesh abound in details of persons reaching Dhaka from Pakistan at regular intervals carrying counterfeit Indian notes. A Pak national Rehan Ali was detained by Customs officials in Dhaka on February 12 and fake notes worth INR 1, 04, 00,000/ was recovered from him. Earlier, he traveled to Dhaka on January12 carrying a consignment of counterfeit notes and flew back to Karachi after 10 days. Another Pak national Ayub (PP No 1136652) was arrested on February 13 with fake notes worth INR 70, 41,500. He was traveling on a fake Bangladeshi visa.
Muhammad Ali, a Bangladeshi national was arrested on February 4 from Dhaka airport with fake notes having face value INR 69.97 lakh. He came on a PIA flight from Karachi traveling on fake travel permit.
Pak national Ashraf was apprehended on October 27 last year from Dhaka airport and fake Indian currency notes worth INR 75, 00.000/ recovered from him. He had come from Bangkok boarding Thai Airways flight. Another Pak national Muhammad Nur Ul Alam Baba was arrested with fake notes of INR One Crore on October 18, 2014. He came from Dubai on Emirates flight.
On August 30, 2014, Customs officials at Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport arrested one Khalil Bepari, a Bangladeshi national, with Rupees 1.65 crore fake Indian notes, each of 1000 denomination. He arrived Dhaka from Karachi via Dubai. The currencies were kept in a carton covered in a blanket.
There has been no acknowledgement by Pakistan or any report in major media organizations in Pakistan, of any Pakistani link or involvement in smuggling of fake Indian currency. Even after last month’s deportation of Mohammad Mazhar Khan, Attache at the Consular section of Pakistani High Commission in Dhaka, for running an operation to smuggle counterfeit Indian currency, Pak Foreign Office denied he was engaged in any wrong-doing. Pakistani media also surprisingly kept quiet on the diplomat’s involvement in undesirable activities.
Reports reveal that diplomatic channels are used as launch pads to circulate fake notes to underworld conduits and further to open markets. They also reveal that Pakistan is printing and circulating fake currency notes estimated at INR 10,000 crore annually to destabilize India’s financial system. Surprisingly, there has not been any case of fake currency detection within Pakistan till now despite seizures abroad have clearly established the identity of Pakistani couriers and most of the flights they have used originated from Pakistan or Dubai where ISI has a strong presence.
The Sheikh Hasina government has now expressed firm determination to prevent recurrence of all such acts of anti-India transgressions being launched from Bangladesh. It has made it clear in no uncertain or unambiguous terms that all such Pakistani misdeeds being launched from Bangladesh soil would not be countenanced leniently or allowed to recur.
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