Q Mobile phones case: Petitioner denies ownership, summoned to appear before court

Rahim Mirani filed the petition as importer of a consignment of Q mobile Phones maintaining that although he has paid all custom duty, taxes etc under the Custom laws but his consignment was being detained. The petitioner maintained that while his consignment was about to be out bound ASO staff turned up and took the consignment into custody. My consignment was being delayed as a result of friction between the Appraisement  (Valuation) and ASO, he maintained. Later Pakistan Customs raised a number of technical issues like IME number, certification from PTA and after a number of hearings ordered the release of the consignment. As the consignment was not released the petitioner initially represented by Ismat Mehdi filed a contempt of court application in which a number of senior custom officers are facing charges of contempt. A bench comprising Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Mahmood A Khan on June 15  ordered the importer to submit the differential amount of value with the Nazir of the SHC.The bench also ordered to continue with the contempt proceedings against respondent officials of Pakistan Customs for non-release of the consignment. Earlier on that date Kashif Nazeer advocate conceded that type approval which was earlier disputed by the Pakistan Customs as being a tampered document was genuine. He assured that consignment would be released on payment of differential amount and also assured that a delay detention certificate would also be issued.

At today’s hearing, Kashif Nazeer Advocate, Ilyas Ahsan, Principal Appraiser Law , Pakistan Customs and Asim Mansoor Khan, Deputy Attorney General for Pakistan appearing before the court argued an application for urgent hearing moved on behalf of the alleged contemnors. The counsel for alleged contemnors stated that they removed the hold on the consignment on June 23 and till June 27 no one from the petitioner/ applicant side came to take away the consignment. They maintained that in the meanwhile, they got a letter from Commissioner , In Land Revenue, Faisalabad alongwith an affidavit duly signed by petitioner/ impoter Rahim Mirani who denied the ownership of the consignment in dispute.

The court was told that as per  affidavit, Rahim Miran has said that he is just a beneficiary and gets rupees 10000 per container by Zawa Impex. a Lahore based company. Kashif Nazeer Advocate for Customs said that application was moved with prayer to the court that before release of the consignment issue of ownership be decided for collection of duty and taxes.

The counsel for petitioner opposed the plea made by the alleged contemnors and said it was another attempt to deride the series of orders passed by the SHC for release of consignment. He said that issue of ownership is meaningless at this stage when the petitioner  has paid all taxes, custom duty and other payables. The petitioner is duly represented by an Attorney present before the court, he submitted praying the court to proceed with the contempt proceedings. The alleged contemnors are not in attendance, he pointed out.

The counsel for alleged contemnor Custom Officers said that today, application was fixed for hearing and therefore the contemnors were not required to attend. The bench however ordered the attendance of the alleged contemnors on next date of hearing while petitioner was also ordered to appear before the court on July 12.

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