Point to ponder: Recovery of NATO’s arms

A huge cache of arms and ammunition containing significant amount of goods stolen from NATO containers was recovered in Karachi posing a question mark on the claims of US Embassy in Pakistan that none of the NATO containers were even went missing. It is also confirmed that NATO and US Army transit cargo to Afghanistan contained arms and ammunition.

Supreme Court of Pakistan took a suo moto notice of the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi. It was the government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). During the proceedings of the case, US Consulate submitted a written statement that none of NATO/ISAF/US Army container was ever pilfered or stolen.

The police captured a huge cache of arms, including anti-aircraft guns, assault and sniper rifles, light- and sub-machines guns, rocket launchers and ammunition running into hundreds and thousands, as well as tactical gears hidden in a customized 10-by-10 feet tank of a 120-square-yard house in Azizabad. This also includes arms used by NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Apparently, these weapons were transported through Pakistan under Afghan Transit Trade. It is still unclear whether the government of Pakistan knew that weapons were being transported through the country, as these consignments had immunity and were cleared un-declared.

This recovery links back to a little earlier event, whereas Pakistan Customs found thousands of US Army containers at two warehouses in Karachi owned by M/s Bilal Associates. Interestingly, M/s Bilal Associates happened to be the authorized contracted of US Consulate. More interestingly, US Consulate’s authorized contractor was destroying these empty containers. However, US Consulate in a statement clarified that these empty containers were mistakenly landed Pakistan so these were parked at the warehouses waiting re-export. In the record of Customs, there is no requisition or application mentioning their intentions of re-export.

Pakistan Customs has been quite efficient against the pilferage and theft of transit cargo particularly NATO/ISAF/ US Army cargo. It is reported that huge quantity of goods weapons and US dollars were leaked into the hands of terrorist groups and anti-social elements in Pakistan. These reports are confirmed by the recovery of NATO’s arms and ammunition belonging to a political-militant group.

Justice Special Court Customs & Taxation Faiz Rasool Rashidi in 2015-16 took a suo moto notice and ordered MCC Preventive to raid certain warehouses. The raids resulted in recovery of US Army containers. On the directives of Justice Rashidi, MCC Preventive lodged the FIR against M/s Bilal Associates and others.

Shahid Ansari of M/s Bilal Associates had also approached Ministry of Law requesting to transfer the case from Justice Rashidi. Ansari claimed Justice Rashidi had gone personal. Later, the request was withdrawn.

Directorate General of Transit Trade has lodged three FIRs pertaining to the pilferage of reverse cargo of US Army. Directorate General of Intelligence & Investigation –FBR also lodged FIRs in this regard.

Several international quarters have been trying to create chaos in Pakistan but the efficiency and professionalism of country’s law enforcement as well as defense agencies have thwarted all such conspiracies. It is suspected that previous to Zardari government, foreign spying agencies were accommodated and they strengthened their networks. These agencies patronized several groups who carried out terrorist activities in country including attacks on law enforcement as well as defense agencies.

But, now the agencies particularly Army have taken things in control and thwarted all conspiracies aimed at increasing chaos vis-à-vis civil war like happened in Arab countries.

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