KARACHI: The authorities of Pakistan Customs (Adjudication) were restrained from taking coercive action against clearing agents who were show caused in Afghan Transit pilferage case of 2011.

Faheem Shah Advocate appearing for Qazi Habib-ur-Rahman submitted that his client was served with three show cause notices. The role of the clearing agent is limited. Once the consignment is cleared and handed over to the carrier or owner, responsibility of the clearing agent ends, contended the counsel for petitioner. He said that according to allegation, consignment meant for trans-shipment to Afghanistan as it contains supplies for the NATO and ISAF forces fighting Insurgents/Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

The bench noted that copy of the petition was not provided to the respondent side, at which the petitioner presented the receipts from TCS and said notice as well as copy of the memo of the petition was sent to the respondent side.

Masooda Siraj advocate appearing for respondents including Collector Custom sought time to seek instructions and requested for a direction to the petitioner to provide a copy of the petition to them.

Some 8000 to 27000 container were alleged to be missing by 2011 while on their way to Afghanistan. Some of the missing containers/consignments were allegedly pilfered and items contained of sensitive nature like binoculars and others made their way to the open local markets becoming available to terrorists.

Federal Tax Ombudsman and later FBR into the issue of missing containers made investigations but according to sources, investigators were misled, prosecution was weakened to give benefit to the accused. According to insiders of Pakistan Customs, some clearing agents became billionaire because of pilfered Afghan Transit trade containers.

The customs issued show cause notices to the petitioners/accused in 2011 and now they were asked to appear before the Collector Customs (Adjudication) after which they moved the SHC.

The Adjudicating authority was allowed to proceed but was stopped from any coercive action against the petitioners until passing of final order. The bench later adjourned further proceedings until Jan 26.