KARACHI: A custom appellate bench of High Court of Sindh headed by Justice Junaid Ghaffar on Tuesday ordered Pakistan Customs to process all case of provisional release withing two days from today.

The bench was hearing eight identical petitions filed by Makka Hardware, M.A.T. Enterprises and other importers whose consignment were held at port over valuation dispute.

The bench noted that petitions are directed against inaction on the part of Collectorate concerned where by requests for provisional release under section 81 of the Customs Act 1969 have been denied. In all these cases, petitioners have challenged the Valuation Ruling under section 25 D before the Director General (Valuation) or have approached the valuation department for determination of values afresh.

The bench heard lawyers for petitioners including Rana Sakhawat, Imran Iqbal, Aneel Zia, Sardar Muhammad Ishaq and others. The respondents including FBR were represented by Kafeel Ahmed Abbasi, Khalil Dogar and others who appeared along with Sardar Amin Farooqui AC East, Raaza Naqvi DC West, Ms Raisa Kanwal DC East, Asad Aleem AC East and Salman Javed AC West.

The official respondents submitted that in most of the cases, the provisional release has been allowed or is under process and all the collectorates/ departments undertake to decided these cases expeditiously.

The bench was however expressed dis-satisfaction and observed that impugned action of the respondents/department is apparently in clear violation of the judgments of this court passed in the case of Danish Jehangir also approved by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Kafeel Ahmed Abbasi referred to an Ordinance dated 15-9-2021 and said power of the department has been taken away in certain cases and therefore the department has refused such provisional release. He added that now the said Ordinance has expired and thus department is ready to follow the directions as contained in the judgments referred to by the court/bench.

The bench after detailed hearing directed the Chief Collector Appraisement & Facilitation (South) and  Chief Collector (Enforcement) to file a reply to the effect that they will ensure implementation of directions given in the aforesaid judgments.

The bench also ordered decision on all cases of provisional release expeditiously within two days time.

The bench also summoned a compliance report while fixing June 23 as next date of hearing in all these petitions.