The Supreme Court on Monday remarked that it was the authority of parliament alone or the provincial assembly to approve amnesty schemes, but here, every institution was introducing these schemes on its own.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that it was the amnesty schemes which had ruined the country in an organised way. “One-time amnesty for the smuggled vehicles has been introduced a hundred times,” he added.
The court also expressed annoyance over the non-appointment of the attorney general for Pakistan. Justice Isa remarked that there were more than 5,000 lawyers of SC but the executive was still unable to choose the one for this post.
The court said that as per the law, this important slot couldn’t be left vacant. Whether a bargain was being made on the appointment of the attorney general, it asked.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Isa, dismissed the appeal of Pakistan Customs against the decision of the appellant tribunal for de-seizing of a smuggled vehicle on payment of duties.
Justice Isa remarked that the customs office was incompetent to stop the smuggling of vehicles due to which it used to announce the schemes.
He said that the court could summon record from Federal Board of Revenue regarding the number of amnesties to date. How these schemes could be announced under the law of customs, he asked.
The court observed that the smuggling of gold and silver was understandable but how the vehicles could be smuggled. Vehicles with strange number plates could be witnessed on the roads of the federal capital, Justice Isa observed, adding that the owners of these vehicles might be very influential.
Justice Isa noted that the British prime minister was fined for not fastening his seat belt and he also rendered an apology for the conduct. In Pakistan, the institution was not as powerful to fine even an ordinary officer of CDA on a violation, he said.
Expressing annoyance with the customs office, the court remarked that no one smuggles a vehicle by hiding it in his pocket. But once the vehicle reached here, the department started to chase it, he said.
Justice Yahya Afridi said the customs department should end up the dispute after collecting its duties. The customs’ lawyer adopted the stance that if a vehicle was smuggled here, it fell in the jurisdiction of this department. At this, Justice Isa said that there was no answer to the basic question that how the vehicle was smuggled into the country.
The court subsequently dismissed the appeal of Pakistan Customs against de-seizing of a smuggled truck which was seized in 2018 by the department.
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