SHC orders release of Q Mobile consignment imported by M/s Zawa Impex

KARACHI: A divisional bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Arshad Hussain on Tuesday ordered that consignment of Q mobile phones imported by Zawa Impex Lahore be released after verification of Rahim Mirani, importer/owner’s credentials.

The bench earlier heard arguments by Zain Jatoi advocate, counsel for  petitioner who produced the petitioner/importer before the court as per directions issued on previous date of hearing as customs raised the issue of ownership submitting a letter by Commissioner Inland Revenue Lahore accompanied by an affidavit purportedly by Rahim Mirani disowning the consignment in question.

The petitioner is before the court in compliance of the orders of this bench and we have paid all custom duties taxes and even additional duty as ordered by the court submitted Zain Jatoi.

To a query by the court regarding Sales Tax liability of the petitioner/importer he said that Sales Tax is under another Statute and “consignment in dispute” is under another dispute and both are independent nature of cases. No show cause was given to my client. He is ready to appear before the relevant authorities at Lahore and contest his case but this has no relation with the instant consignment.

The counsel for petitioner also drew the attention of the court to the contents of the application by the Customs and said only issue of ownership was raised by the respondents who themselves have stated that consignment could be released after issue of ownership is decided.

Kashif Nazeer advocate, counsel for respondent, Additional Collector A.I.B Muhammad Saleem Memon , Deputy Collector Aftab Rana, Principal Appraiser Muhammad Ahmed and Javed Khalid tried to convince the court about ownership but the court refused and said it is passing the order as per contents of the application made by the customs department.

The bench then ordered the Nazir to personally or through his representative verify the antecedents of the petitioner/importer and then ensure release of the consignment today.

The bench also rejected a request by the custom officials to exempt them from personal appearance in a related contempt of court proceedings. They have to attend the court till contempt proceedings are decided, said the bench adjourning contempt proceedings to a date to be fixed later by the 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. As the orders of the court for release of the consignment were not implemented, the bench initiated contempt proceedings on an application by the petitioner/importer.

Deputy Collector Aftab Rana has issued the release order for the release of the consignment.

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