19,000 missing containers case: Babar Ghouri files plea in SHC against allegations

KARACHI: Senator Babar Ghouri of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement MQM on Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for being party in Karachi suo moto case and calling for refuting allegations of his involvement in the smuggling of a shipload of arms and ammunition in Karachi.

MQM leader along with his counsel Farogh Naseem, filed a miscellaneous application in the apex court’s Karachi registry.

Applicant Babar Ghauri submitted in the plea that on Aug 30 the electronic media aired news that the DG Rangers Maj.Gen Rizwan Akhtar had informed the court that he was responsible in unlawfully clearing 19,000 containers containing arms and ammunition belonging to NATO, which were meant for a route to Afghanistan through Pakistan; and that such arms/ammunition were taken to unknown destination s and used in Karachi.

He said that a statement issued late in the night on the same day was aired by the electronic media to the effect that the DG Rangers had not named any minister but media had distorted his statement. He said that apex court’s order stated that DG Rangers said that in the past and in the connivance with the then minister of shipping, a shipload of arms and ammunition was brought into Karachi and the whereabouts of such arms and ammunition has never been ascertained.

Applicant stated that the apex court constituted a one-man commission on the basis of that statement to conduct inquiry into the allegations that a shipload of arms and ammunition was brought to Karachi in connivance with the then minister for shipping as stated by the DG Rangers and to propose what action should be taken against the persons responsible.

He said that the allegations against him were totally concocted as the ministry of ports and shipping and its minister had nothing to do with the clearance or handling of any cargo.

Former port and shipping minister submitted that port authorities are not engaged in any cargo handling activities and all cargo handling functions were outsourced to the private sector.

He said that the handling of containers was the responsibility of private terminal operators who kept the boxes/containers until its owners completed all the formalities of customs.

Recalling the report of the federal tax ombudsman, Dr Muhammad Shoaib Suddle, on the alleged Nato/Afghan transit scam, he said that he was not held responsible.

He prayed to the court to expunge the parts of its order relating to the allegation against him.

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