Pilots association threatens to move court; customs says crew members allow Rs3000 to carry

KARACHI: Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (PALPA) on Tuesday threatened to move court against Pakistan Customs in case of failure of the authorities in taking action against customs officials in Lahore.
A press release said that apropos to the news in print and electronic media regarding the incident of PK-758 on September 21, 2014, on which President PALPA Capt. Amir Hashmi, was the operating captain and was illegally detained by the Lahore customs along with his crew.
The Executive Committee of PALPA has taken a very serious note of this event and has requested that an impartial inquiry must be carried out of this incident to identify and punish the culprits behind the plot to frame the president of PALPA, failing which we reserve the right to plan our further course of action or seek justice from a Honourable Court of Law.
President PALPA at no time was neither arrested nor charged with any breach of law or regulations. Contrary to what was reported in the media, Capt. Amir Hashmi had an amount of £2,400/- aprox and no cell phone or any other contraband item in his possession.
The release said that as per the regulations of State Bank of Pakistan, any person is allowed to bring into Pakistan an amount of USD10,000/- without a declaration.
Although being totally legal and legitimate, Capt. Amir Hashmi and his crew were detained by Lahore Customs on the orders of DC Airport Usman Bajwa for over 10 hours, without being in violation of any law of Govt. of Pakistan. During the period of detention, Capt. Amir Hashmi several times requested Bajwa to quote any rule or regulation according to which the entire crew of PK-758 was being detained. Instead of quoting any such rule or regulation, Bajwa was adamant that the crew will only be allowed to go if Chairman FBR advises him to do so.
Bajwa was also unaware of the fact that Appendix-D” of Private Property List (Crew Declaration Form) is for the purpose of declaring Pak rupees only amongst other items and therefore, he kept on insisting that the crew should also declare foreign currency which is contrary to the rules of State Bank of Pakistan (USD10,000/-).
Bajwa also informed Capt. Hashmi that “I had prior information regarding the carriage of cell phones by the crew members of PK-758. Although I have not been able to find any cell phones but bringing any foreign currency into Pakistan is also illegal”.
The aforementioned sequence of events of PK-758 clearly signify that the Lahore customs were acting at the behest of someone to malign and defame the president and the association.
Pakistan Customs, when contacted, said that the customs officials can stop any person for checking purpose irrespective of his position.
Assistant Collector, Mukhtar Sheikh said that crew members can carry Rs3000 and also declare other itmes at the time of going abroad. However, he said, on return they (the crew members) have to declare all the things.
Sheikh said that the crew members are not allow to import anything.

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