ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has proposed to re-export within two months the luxury vehicles that were seized by Customs Intelligence during a raid on Redco Textile Mill owned by former senator Saifur Rehman.
According to the details, the ministry has proposed that it may give a period of two months to the Qatari Embassy to re-export the vehicles back to Qatar, keeping in view both the country’s bilateral relations.
In its submitted reply to Customs (Adjudication), MoFA stated that Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) code 9905 allowed duty-free imports for personal effects and vehicles for the projects undertaken by the dignitaries listed in PCT 9905.
MoFA issues exemption certificates for duty-free imports of personal effects and vehicles of the listed dignitaries, however, the ministry does not mention PCT code in the exemption certificate.
It is pertinent to mention here that under 9905, the government has allowed 14 dignitaries of UAE and eight of Qatar to import household articles and personal effects, including vehicles and goods for donation to projects established in Pakistan, subject to the given conditions.
Besides this, MoFA stated in its reply that in terms of PCT 9905, it can also recommend duty-free import of vehicles and cargo for the dignitaries not listed in the said list.
“Since PCT 9905 does not restrict the number of vehicles to be imported and the time duration too, some of the vehicles imported under this code are stationed in Pakistan since long.”
The 21 vehicles under question were imported after an approval from the competent authority. There is no discrepancy involved in the duty-free import of the vehicles and later in 2016; the name of the dignitary was also included in the list of PCT 9905.
It is worth mentioning here that the issue of Qatar vehicles surfaced in September 2018 when Customs Intelligence seized more than 20 luxury vehicles from Redco Textile Mill situated in the outskirts of Islamabad.
The Customs Intelligence had informed the FBR chairman that MoFA has not only issued illegal and incomplete exemption certificates, but details of the diplomatic mission were intentionally left blank and customs officials eventually cleared the vehicles on these exemption certificates.
Earlier, MoFA had kept mum on the matter and it is the first time that it has made a statement on the matter.
When contacted, MoFA spokesperson Dr Faisal said that he would update the scribe after speaking to the officer concerned, however, no other response was received till the filing of this report.
Customs Intelligence director general, on the other hand, told Pakistan Today that MoFA had only proposed to re-export but the procedure to do so was not clear. “The matter is in court and the vehicles can only be exported if the parliament brings in a new law on this matter.”