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January 24, 2020

Customs authorities creating hurdles in Pak-Afghan Transit Trade: SC


January 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday observed that the Customs authorities are creating hurdles in the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade and questioned under what law containers carrying sugar to Afghanistan were stopped at the border.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard a case regarding disallowing of some 262 containers carrying sugar to Afghanistan by the Customs authorities in June 2019.

As per the case the Customs authorities had cleared only 92 containers out of 354 which were carrying sugar to Afghanistan. During the course of hearing Justice Yahya Afridi questioned as to under what law the Customs authorities stopped the sugar containers.

Deputy Director Customs however, told the court that the containers were stopped as they were carrying substandard sugar.

Justice Yahya Afridi than asked when did the Customs authorities start checking the quality of sugar, adding that the Customs authorities were creating obstacles in the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade. “Only the seller and buyers know the quality of sugar”, Justice Afridi remarked.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that goods of high quality should be exported from Pakistan, adding that the Customs authorities could check the quality of the goods if it is empowered to do so.

Deputy Director Customs told the court that as per rules they could check the transportation of dangerous goods.

At this Justice Faisal Arab asked as when did sugar become dangerous?

Justice Yahya Afridi said that Pak-Afghan Transit Trade has its own Rules and Regulations.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial while raising questions over the performance of Customs authorities observed that the court is not being assisted in Customs related cases, adding that even today the Customs authorities are unable to state under what law the transportation of sugar was stopped at the border.

He said that the authority should send those officers to court who know the law as well as complete background of the case.

Meanwhile, the court directed the Customs authorities to make full preparation for the instant case and come up with full details and adjourned the hearing for a week.

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