KARACHI: A few shipping lines, their agents with connivance of PICT are blackmailing importers to get additional demurrage and detention charges. These shipping lines with the help of some senior customs officials are robbing businessmen to the tune of Rs 15 billion per year. Various importers have filed 13 applications to lodge FIRs against these shipping lines and their agents including officials of Evergreen, Greenpak, KMTC, United Marine, COO PICT Khurram Aziz Khan and Chairman Marine Group Capt. (R) Haleem Siddiqui who was once director of PICT.
Sources said innocent importers of Pakistan get trapped by seeing these low rates offered by agents of these shipping companies. When the goods are given to the shipping lines in China then they do not give back the goods to importers at Pakistani ports.
Sources said as importers have filed applications against these shipping companies for their corrupt practices, the officials of these companies in an attempt to save themselves, have stooped to such levels to malign the media who have exposed these people and allegedly paid Rs. 2,000 each to one ‘illiterate’ person who cannot even write proper English. The illiterate person has launched a website that shows itself as a ‘news’ website. But the fact is that he not only has any relations whatsoever with journalism but also is an illiterate person who is misusing his website to spread rumours. His so-called ‘news’ organisation has no address where someone can send legal notices and also has absolutely no registration with any government body which is mandatory for any newspaper.
Sources said he speaks against several senior journalists and anchor persons of various high profile TV channels and newspapers so as to malign them and to protect the corruption of this nexus of PICT and shipping lines. He goes about on his motorcycle to various shipping lines, PICT and customs house and these people pay him a few hundred or a couple of thousands to protect them in their corrupt practices. The proof of this is also that he roams about freely in Customs House premises where irrelevant people are not allowed entry although he is not a clearing agent or importer or registered media person.
Sources revealed he has also earlier threatened media persons physically and a letter was given to the chief collector Abdul Rasheed Sheikh to stop entry of this ‘criminal’ in Customs House and all Customs premises but still implementation of this is awaited as the ‘illiterate’ person has links with some corrupt elements within the customs department.
Sources further exposed that there is a strong nexus of customs officials like Dost, Noor Akbar, the shipping lines and PICT where goods are delayed unnecessarily by customs and then shipping lines and PICT charge demurrage and detention amounts of their choice and will.
Sources said this nexus of customs staff with the illiterate person is proved when he writes in favour of some customs staff like Dost, Noor, etc. and protects them from getting exposed. Whenever any media house exposes corruption and illegal activities of someone or some organisation then immediately the illiterate person takes Rs 500-2,000 from those corrupt persons and organisations and starts protecting them by writing in their favour.
Sources said importers have approached NAB and FIA to start probe against the entire nexus of Haleem Siddiqui, Khurram Aziz Khan, others of PICT, KMTC, United Marine Agency, Evergreen Lines, GreenPak, ‘illiterate’ person in Rs. 15 billion demurrage and detention scam.