SHC lifts stay on customs duty for wheat imports

Reserves verdict on maintainability of plea seeking CM’s disqualification


Our Correspondent September 17, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:

The Sindh High Court removed on Thursday a six-year-long injunction on customs duty on wheat imports.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui and Justice Agha Faisal was hearing a set of pleas pertaining to customs duty on wheat imports.

The Customs counsel contended that wheat importers caused hefty losses to the national exchequer by avoiding import duty. The bench observed that departmental action was taken against Customs staff and the importers were issued show cause notices. Six of the petitioners - importers - had acquired a stay from the court. The stay order has been upheld for six years and has given rise to complications. The court sought replies from the importers and directed them to participate in the proceedings.

The bench set aside the six-year-long stay order and stated that the importers could approach the court again to resolve the issue on merit if they have any objections. The government had imposed 20 per cent duty on wheat imports in 2015. Eight importers were accused of misrepresenting the date of the shipments arrival in connivance with the Customs staff to forgo payment of import duty.

Verdict reserved

Meanwhile, the SHC reserved its verdict on the maintainability of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker’s petition seeking the disqualification of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah based on dual citizenship.

A two-member bench, led by SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh and comprising Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed, was hearing Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh’s petition. The PTI leader has contended that Shah was disqualified in 2013 by the Supreme Court for concealing his dual citizenship. But despite this, Shah participated in by-polls and won. The petitioner has argued that the CM is no longer Sadiq or Amin and should be disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Plea rejected

Another two-member bench comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Irshad Ali Shah dismissed a convict’s appeal for acquittal in a narcotics case.

Read More: Wheat import

The court upheld the five year prison term and fine imposed on convict Obaidur Rehman’s by the trial court and dismissed the plea for acquittal.

The case against Rehman was registered at Model Colony Police Station and the trial court had found Rehman guilty of possession of 1,020 grammes of crystal meth.

Gutka sale

The same bench sought a counter reply from a petitioner seeking contempt action against the Sindh IGP and the Karachi additional IGP for failing to take action against the manufacture and sale of gutka.

The Sindh IGP submitted a progress report before the court stating that stringent action is being taken against the manufacture and sale of gutka. According to the IGP’s report, 1,572 such cases have been lodged in 2021 thus far, 2,005 suspects have been arrested and 34,100 kilogrammes of gutka has been confiscated. Directing the police to continue its crackdown on gutka manufacture and sale, the court sought a counter reply from the petitioner.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2021.

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