ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) has granted bail to customs officers who are facing charges of patronizing and facilitating smuggling and receiving bribes from the smugglers. The officers have been denied bail by all the lower courts.

The bail matter was heard by Bench consisting of Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Essa, Justice Amin Uddin Khan & Justice Athar Minillah. The applicant accused were represented by Advocate SC Shaukat Hayat assisted by Advocate SC Zain Jatoi and Advocate Allah Wasaya Zubair.

The bench observed that the accused officers were entitled to the benefit of doubt and that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

The prosecution had accused the officers of being part of a smuggling and bribery racket, in which they used to receive money from the smugglers and convert it into gold bars. The gold bars were then distributed among senior customs enforcement officers, including former collectors Saquif Saeed, Aamir Thaeem and others. The prosecution had alleged that the officers had caused a huge loss to the national exchequer and had violated their oath of office. The prosecution had also presented various evidence, such as bank statements, call records, and CCTV footage, to support their allegations.

The accused officers had denied the charges and had claimed that they were being victimized for performing their duties honestly. They had also challenged the jurisdiction and validity of the investigation and the trial. They had requested the SCP to grant them bail and to quash the proceedings against them.