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SC orders Customs to probe into missing containers case

SC orders Customs to probe into missing containers case

KARACHI: The Supreme Court has ordered Customs officials to investigate the case of 19,000 containers reportedly missing from the Karachi port.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, was hearing the case over the implementation of the court’s verdict in the Karachi law and order case at the Karachi registry.

Issuing an interim order, the bench also directed Rangers and police personnel to report to court how many of the missing containers carried weapons and ammunition. The court further ordered law enforcement agencies to conduct door-to-door search for illegal weapons in the city.

The SC further ordered Customs officials to investigate weapons brought legally into the city, after which Rangers and police should also carry out a similar investigation to determine for what purposes the weapons were brought into the metropolis.

During the hearing, Director General Transit Trade informed the apex court that no arms had been brought into the city through containers while the CJ asked him how many arms containers had been misused out of total 19,000 containers.

DG Transit Trade informed the SC that 19,000 containers did not have any arms and ammunition.

Furthermore, Attorney General Munir A Malik submitted a report by the federal government detailing the steps to prevent the smuggling of weapons and drugs.

The AG informed the apex court that one scanner each is installed at Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Port Qasim respectively while more scanners and sniff dogs are needed to stop the illegal trade. He revealed that the smuggling is also being carried out in the oil-tankers running from Karachi to Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Muneer A Malik further apprised that the arms and drugs smuggling is being continued from the areas including Sohrab Goth, Yousuf Goth, Katti Pahari, Nusrat Bhutto Colony, Banaras and its other adjacent areas.

Justice Jawwad A Khawaja in his remarks said that the Supreme Court wants action and implementation instead of lip service.

Advocate General Sindh, during the hearing, requested the court to allow it to impose curfews in parts of the city where an operation would be carried out to recover illegal weapons; to which the court replied that such an authority was only with the government.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Bajwa informed the apex court that out of total population of 180 million only 0.8million people pay tax.

Justice Jawwad A Khawaja while quoting the news of a local newspaper said that around $30 million have been transferred abroad. The CJ in his remarks said that millions of dollars have been transferred out of the country by air from Karachi and Islamabad.

Member Customs, DG Customs Intelligence, DG ANF and Director Customs Intelligence were also present in the court. The case was subsequently adjourned until Nov 11. The next hearing will be held in Islamabad.