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ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has endorsed the order of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), directing the Collector of Customs, Lahore to immediately release machines used to give radiation to cancer patients in public-sector hospitals.

The president has rejected a representation filed by M/s Gerry’s Dnata (Pvt) Ltd assailing the orders of the FTO.

Mayo Hospital, Lahore had imported a Cobalt-60 Source which is used to give radiation to cancer patients and is the only machine available for patients in the public sector hospitals. The said Radioactive Cobalt-60 Source is lying in the shed of the Collectorate of Customs, AIIAP, Lahore, since March 4, 2023, due to the non-availability of funds to pay the outstanding charges allegedly payable to M/s Gerry’s Dnata (Pvt) Ltd.

The consignment contains a radioactive source which must not be placed at public place and needs to be moved to its destination immediately where it is kept safe avoiding any harm to human life keeping in view the guidelines issued by the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA).

The Customs authorities had forwarded the matter to the Manager Cargo, M/s Gerry’s Dnata Shed, AFU, AIIAP, Lahore, which had refused to release the consignment without payment of outstanding charges. The complainant requested to waive the charges and the release of the equipment on an urgent basis but to no avail.

The president has also confirmed the directions of the FTO that the Collector of Customs, Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIAP), Lahore to immediately coordinate with M/s Gerry’s Dnata (shed operator) and get the Delay and Detention Certificate issued by Assistant Collector of Customs under Section 14A (2) of the Customs Act, 1969, implemented within seven days and release the goods. In case of non-compliance, the Collector shall initiate the necessary proceedings as per law.

The president has confirmed that the FTO had rightly observed that the provisions of section 14-A (2) are binding on M/s Gerry’s Dnata (Pvt) Ltd and the Collector of Customs (AIIAP) Lahore had not implemented his order/DDC from the licensee shed operator vis M/s Gerry’s Dnata (Pvt) Ltd in violation of said provisions which falls under the ambit of maladministration.

The FTO had rightly directed the Collector of Customs (AIIAP) Lahore to get the Delay and Detention Certificate dated 12.12.2023 implemented by releasing the goods as the actual sufferers in this case are no one else but the cancer patients and the poor people of Pakistan who get treatments from public sector hospitals of the country.

It is unfortunate that M/s Gerry’s Dnata (Pvt) Ltd did not consider this matter as a serious issue causing damage to the people of Pakistan by this delay and insistence on a very huge payment. Exploitative business in this manner without compassionate understanding of issues is regrettable. The president has been pleased to reject the instant representation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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