KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday extended till unspecified date its injunction, precluding Sindh government from purchasing armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for the security agencies.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Amir Hani Muslim adjourned the hearing to a date to be fixed later. The court had taken up an application filed by Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, a civil rights campaigner, who moved the court against the procurement of armoured personnel carriers (APCs).
During hearing, Advocate Farooq H Naik, who represented Sindh government, submitted that the government was satisfied with the deal as it was finalized after examining the several international companies.
The court inquired about whether the government had invited the tenders from various international companies and subsequently received any response. To which, the counsel said the government had approached the international companies and after going through their quotations finalized the deal with Serbian company.
To a query, he said the government had also invited details from the Heavy Industries Taxila for the purchase of APCs but the APCs manufactured by it were not up to the mark.
However, an official of HIT belied the claim of the Sindh government lawyer. He told the judges the HIT was producing advanced APCs, named B-7 level and Dragon, which were more updated than vehicles required by Sindh government. He added it was also providing Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa’s security agencies these advanced APCs. He told the court that the government was given necessary information but it did not respond.
In an application, Naqvi submitted that provincial assembly passed the Sindh Emergency Procurement Bill, 2014 on February 7, 2014 for purchase of the different items required for the security agencies. Subsequently, the provincial authorities made an agreement with a Serbian firm for the purchase of APCs worth Rs8 billion on inflated rates without issuing any legal procurement tender.
Naqvi claimed that APCs being purchased have already been scrapped in Serbia and were not up to the mark but still the Sindh government was purchasing the same at exorbitant rates.
He stated that the same vehicles can be purchased from America at a relatively lower price of Rs40 million each. He claimed that several top officers were removed when they refused to become part of this controversial deal, adding previous inspector general of Sindh police was also transferred for the same purpose.
Naqvi said that Sindh government enacted the law with malafide intention in order to purchase the APCs and other equipment including bulletproof jackets, helmets for the law enforcement agencies, illegally. The court was pleaded to declare the Act and subsequent procurements as unconstitutional and set aside the new law.
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