SC dismisses Leave to appeal in Afghan Transit Sugar case on FBR’s request

ISLAMABAD: A  special full bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Munib Akhtar on Wednesday dismissed a leave to appeal filed by Federal Board of Revenue in a case known as Afghan Transit Sugar Case.

Earlier, an application was filed by FBR through ASC Raja Muhammad Iqbal in the morning seeking permission of the court to allow withdrawal of the appeal.

The apex court has granted leave to appeal against order of High Court of Sindh which ordered release of the over 50 consignments of Indian Sugar in transit to Afghanistan.

The consignments were detained after physical verification by Pakistan Customs, Gaddani on pretext that it has a pungent smell, brownish in colour and unfit for human consumption.

The importers have taken the plea that Pakistan Customs can only verify that item listed is in transit and it has no concern or authority over the quality of the item in transit.

The case was forcefully contested by the Directorate of Afghan Transit Trade up to High Court of Sindh. Raja Muhammad Iqbal ASC argued the leave to appeal for twenty days before the apex court after which the judgment was reserved.

Today the bench perusing the application for withdrawal allowed the same and dismissed the case as “Dismissed as withdrawn”.

It is reliably learnt that FBR’s sudden move to withdraw the appeal was due to pressure from MNA’s from KPK and Balochistan who were instrumental in doing away with 100 per cent scanning of the consignments under transit to Afghanistan and also in ending the stamping which read “Only For Afghanistan”. Sources also maintained  that this was all done to appease Afghan government and in the instant, developments were made after Prime Minister Imran Khan;s maiden visit to Afghanistan. Pakistan has become so weak internationally that even small countries can make it “do more”, the sources said.

According to business sources this would encourage the pilferage and abuse of transit facility and items meant for Afghanistan would be opened and sold in Pakistani territory causing huge loss to revenue as well as local industries.

Custom News also learnt that officer of Directorate of Afghan Transit Trade who contested case would soon be penalized or at-least would face departmental action. This case may demoralize custom officers who are performing duties honestly and toiling hard to earn more revenue for the State but ends up facing pressure, humiliation and sometimes either forcibly retires or voluntarily leaves the job.

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