KARACHI: A division bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Omar Sial hearing more than a dozen identical petitions including one by Bays International Pvt Ltd as an interim arrangement ordered release of imported consignments on payment of 50 per cent duty with the department and 50 per cent with theNazir of the Court. The petitions challenge imposition of Regulatory Duty on more than 400 items imported from different parts of the world.

Earlier the bench heard arguments by Ghulam Hyder Shaikh of Franklin Law Associates who at the outset submitted that the Regulatory Duty was imposed without sanction by the federal cabinet.He submitted that the new tax is not viable as it would badly impact the imports and entire trade would suffer as hundreds of items imported are not manufactured locally. The counsel further maintained that SRO imposing the RD was issued on Oct 16 while a number of consignments have arrived prior to the imposition of RD. He submitted that if RD is paid by the importers than the imported product would  become costly and importer would not be able to compete in the open market and would sustain unbearable loss. The entire trade activity would suffer, he contended.

The bench after hearing Ghulam Hyder Shaikh as interim arrangement ordered release of consignments against payment of 50 per cent of RD with the department (Pakistan Customs) and 50 per cent with the Nazir of SHC while adjourning further proceedings till Oct 31. The interim relief would save the trade dependent on imports, market sources said.