KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered federal organisations and agencies to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to control smuggling of arms and narcotics into Karachi.
A larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the case on Wednesday at the Supreme Court's Karachi registry.
In an interim order issued today, the chief justice directed the Attorney General to convene a joint meeting of Customs, Maritime Security Agency (MSA), Coast Guard officials as well as Rangers and police personnel to evolve a comprehensive strategy to control the smuggling of arms and narcotics.
The court moreover directed the Attorney General to submit a report on Thursday to the bench about the joint action plan on the issue.
During Wednesday’s hearing, counsel for the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Khawaja Irshad rejected the contents of a letter sent to the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) by the US Ambassador Richard Olsen pertaining to the alleged disappearance of 19,000 Nato containers.
The advocate general informed the court that the US ambassador had written a letter to the FBR clarifying reports of the disappearance of the containers.
The ISI lawyer said Pakistan's economy had suffered a loss of Rs65 billion due to the alleged disappearance.
Irshad also pointed the apex court toward nine reports pertaining to the alleged incident, which were summoned by the chief justice.
It was also observed during the proceedings that smuggled arms and ill-gotten money from narcotics were being used by the criminals disturbing law and order in Karachi.
Prior to the hearing, a report submitted in the court stated that arms brought to Karachi in 1994 were still present at the city’s port.
Former customs official Ramzan Bhatti’s report stated that only food stuffs were supplied to Nato from the Karachi port and not weapons and arms, upon which the Chief Justice questioned how high-tech weapons were entering Karachi if Nato weapons were not being smuggled through the port.
Advocate General Sindh Khalid Javed Khan informed the court that the provincial government would soon carry out a campaign against illegal weapons in the city, adding that door-to-door search operations would be carried and curfews would be imposed in different areas of the city with the help of police, Rangers and the government.
On this occasion, the Chief Justice asked Chairman of FBR Tariq Bajwa as to how much time would be required for smuggling to completely end.
Chief Justice Iftikhar moreover said that containers filled with weapons were brought to the port and questioned as to who had brought them, adding that consignments were present at the port since 19 years and the matter had still not been resolved.
The hearing of the case was subsequently adjourned until Thursday.
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