IHC di­rects MNFSR to sub­mit de­tailed re­ply within a week

Saudi dates to last Ra­mazan at BBIA as min­istry refuses to re­lease fruit

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES -

ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—Jus­tice Athar Mi­nal­lah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Mon­day di­rected the food min­istry of­fi­cial to sub­mit re­ply within a week with re­gard to with­hold­ing of Saudi dates or­dered by a Di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Is­lamic Univer­sity (IIU) Ab­dul­lah Al-Afifi at the Be­nazir Bhutto In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Min­istry of Na­tional Food Se­cu­rity & Re­search has held the dates for weeks claim­ing the con­sign­ment lacked proper per­mis­sion and bilin­gual quar­an­tine certificate from the Saudi min­istry.

Di­rec­tor of the IIU has moved the court against the MNFSR’s ac­tion. On Mon­day the court gave the direc­tion and sought a de­tailed re­port. The Min­istry keeps in­sist­ing there should be proper pa­per work or they would not al­low the dates in­side Pak­istan.

It seems af­ter the or­der of the court the 350-kg con­sign­ment of Saudi dates will re­main at the air­port till the end of the holy month of Ra­mazan and the pur­pose for which they were sent for would die down.

In the last hear­ing, the court had di­rected “ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion” be taken in the mat­ter and had granted time the in-charge of the quar­an­tine de­part­ment, Shahid Ab­dul­lah, to seek in­struc­tions from the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity to re­solve the is­sue.

When the case was taken up on Mon­day, Ab­dul­lah ap­peared be­fore the court but could not pro­vide sat­is­fac­tory an­swers to the ques­tions raised by the court. Sub­se­quently, Jus­tice Mi­nal­lah or­dered the DG to sub­mit a re­ply within a week.

IIU Di­rec­tor Ab­dul­lah Al-Afifi had sought the IHC’s in­ter­ven­tion af­ter the con­sign­ment, im­ported from Saudi Ara­bia, was held at the air­port be­cause the re­quired Saudi doc­u­ments were in Ara­bic rather than bilin­gual — English and Ara­bic. The im­porter had instead at­tached a trans­la­tion of the Ara­bic doc­u­ment. Jus­tice Mi­nal­lah had is­sued no­tice to the Min­istry of Na­tional Food, Se­cu­rity & Re­search af­ter Al-Afifi filed a pe­ti­tion seek­ing re­lease of the con­sign­ment at the ear­li­est. Al-Afifi claims that the con­sign­ment con­tains per­ish­able items and was de­tained with­out any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

He main­tained, through his coun­sel Re­hanud­din Khan Golra, that the cus­toms au­thor­i­ties had no ob­jec­tion to the shipment, but food min­istry of­fi­cials stopped the con­sign­ment and or­dered that a quar­an­tine certificate is­sued by the Saudi Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture be pro­duced.

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