SHC seeks technical assistance on “Type approval” in case of imported cellular phones

KARACHI:  A divisional bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Anwar Hussain on Wednesday ordered respondents including Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Deputy Attorney General and Pakistan Customs to explain what is “Type Approval” in respect of imported mobile phones. The bench was hearing a constitution petition filed by Muhammad Iqbal, Mian Ilyas and Kashan Haroon, importers and distributors of mobile phone devices, service providers to different telecommunication companies in Pakistan.

Anwar Tariq advocate appearing for the petitioners submitted that the business of the petitioners is badly hampered due to the restrictions and detention of the imported mobile phone sets by the custom authorities on pretext of some notification issued by the PTA. The action by customs is based on instructions from PTA which were pursuant to a policy devised in 2004, submitted Kashif nazeer advocate, counsel for Pakistan Customs.

Does it mean customs will be checking the IME number of each set; the bench inquired adding that what is the concern of the Customs department. It may be that on one IME number many sets could be brought in, the bench observed.

Kashif Nazeer affirmed and said it is one of the concerns, Let the item comes into Pakistan, then it will be in the hands of your department, the bench said.

The counsel for petitioners submitted that Pakistan Customs or FBR has nothing to do with the IME numbers and it was the prerogative of the PTA to check the IME. In the alternative PTA can delegate this power to Customs or any other agency in terms of section 9 of the PTA act, he contended. He also submitted that the notification upon which respondents are relying was not gazette and thus was of no legal value.

The bench asked about the notification but lawyers for respondents failed to do so. The bench also asked about “ Type Approval “ and set so far no one from the petitioner side or respondents were able to inform the bench about technical detail of “ Type Approval” . The bench later put of further proceeding until Feb 8 asking the respondents to seek all details and assist the court on the issue so that the controversy is decided.

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