ISLAMABAD – Hearing a case of arbitrary export container clearance by custom officials to Afghanistan, a three-member bench of the supreme court questioned under what law has the export of cane sugar containers was been stopped.
A deputy director of customs submitted that the cane sugar being exported to Afghanistan was sub-standard. This prompted Justice Yahya Afridi to ask since when has it become the job of the customs to check the quality of sugar. “Custom officials are hampering the Pak-Afghan trade”, Justice Afridi observed adding, “quality is an issue between the buyer and the seller only”.
The bench was led Justice Umar Ata Bundial with Justice Faisal Arab as its third member who had an interesting exchange with the representative of the customs department. Earlier Justice Bundial had observed that only quality goods should be exported from Pakistan but noted customs officials couldonly check quality if they have the authority to do so. The customs official said rules allowed customs to stop export of dangerous goods. This led Justice Afridi roasting the official with his sarcastic remarks. “Since when has sugar become a dangerous good”, he asked.
Justice Bundial also castigated the customs noting the court seldom gets good assistance from the department. “Officials are still unable to tell under what law they have stopped export of sugar”, he observed before adjourning for one week.
Custom officials had arbitrarily stopped export of 262 containers loaded with cane-sugar to Afghanistan. Only 92 containers were cleared which led the grieved exporters to move court. Hearing will resume next week.
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