IGPs’ help sought to recover luxury vehicles

Published October 25, 2018
Customs intelligence is also investigating the customs appraiser and principal appraiser in Karachi.— Reuters/File
Customs intelligence is also investigating the customs appraiser and principal appraiser in Karachi.— Reuters/File

RAWALPINDI: Customs intelligence have sought assistance from the inspectors general of police (IGP) Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to recover 254 luxury vehicles that they claim were brought into the country illegally by evading customs duty and taxes worth Rs6 billion.

Customs intelligence is also investigating the customs appraiser and principal appraiser in Karachi who gave the vehicles customs clearance.

According to sources, these vehicles were imported in the name of a member of the ruling family of Qatar and his relatives and were in the use of various Pakistanis including a parliamentarian.

They said efforts were underway by some PML-N leaders to convince customs intelligence not to pursue the case to recover the remaining vehicles.

Through a letter the IGPs were informed that a customs intelligence wing recovered 21 luxury vehicles in a raid on a Redco Textiles compound owned by former senator Saifur Rehman on Sept 27, located in the limits of the Rawat police.

The investigation revealed that the vehicles were imported in the name of the Embassy of Qatar, and also found that as many as 330 were brought into Pakistan illegally since 2012 after acquiring illegal exemption certificates issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The police was informed that of the 330 vehicles just 50 were re-exported out of Pakistan, while the remaining 280 vehicles imported in the name of dignitaries and members of the Qatari ruling family are still in Pakistan.

“All these vehicles are liable to seizure under section 168 of the Customs Act, 1969. However, 23 such vehicles have been impounded by the customs intelligence so far while the remaining 257 such luxury vehicles are still plying illegally or kept in hiding in Pakistan,” customs authorities said, adding that most of these vehicles have been in Punjab.

A list of 257 vehicles was also sent to the IGPs to help impound them when found, to be handed over to the customs intelligence directorate.

According to customs sources, Customs Intelligence Director General Shaukat Ali, who has been leading the crackdown on illegal luxury vehicles, is likely to be removed from his position in the next couple of days.

A senior customs official revealed that customs intelligence wrote to Qatari authorities in Islamabad but did not receive a response regarding the import of vehicles in the cover of diplomatic immunity.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018

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