The Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuked the federal government for not taking steps to control the smuggling of arms, ammunitions, drugs as well as tax evasions on the imports.
Headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the larger bench resumed hearing of Karachi law and order case at the apex court’s Karachi registry.
“The black money earned through tax evasions, drugs and arms smuggling through the ports is fuelling the fire in the entire country including Karachi,” remarked Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, another member of the bench.
Customs officials admitted that arms were being smuggled through land routes but no major haul was seized by them. “It means there is a complete failure on the part of the customs’ intelligence and prevention departments,” the bench remarked.
The apex court said the law and order situation could not improve without pulling in loopholes. It also scolded the officers for not divulging correct information about the arms, ammunitions smuggling and taxes evasion.
The court summoned the heads of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Anti-Narcotics Force to apprise it on Wednesday (today) as to what steps they had taken to stop the illegal smuggling of arms to Karachi.
At the outset of Tuesday’s proceedings, the deputy attorney general filed a sealed confidential report of the interior ministry and the director-general of Pakistan Coast Guards.
Advocate Shahid Anwar Bajwa also filed a report on behalf of Sindh Rangers director general, informing the court that the paramilitary force had arrested 34 criminals during ongoing targeted operations and that the cases were lodged at three police stations jointly run with the police.
Chief Justice Chaudhry directed the authorities to ensure speedy trials of the culprits under the law, including recently promulgated Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO).
“The problem of Karachi cannot be resolved until the trials are not conducted,” the CJ remarked. He asked: what was the overall impact of the ongoing operation against the criminals.
Additional IG Karachi Shahid Hayat told the court, “The intelligence agencies are evaluating complicity of the policemen with the criminals or political parties.”
Justice Chaudhry observed that criminal elements with political backing were waging a turf war for economical gains.
The bench also issued notice to AIG Shahid Hayat to file comments to a petition filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) Chairman Afaq Ahmed seeking removal of no-go areas, and for re-settlement of his party;s displaced leaders and activists in their homes. The court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2013.