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Customs plea for confiscating Ayyan’s passport dismissed

Customs plea for confiscating Ayyan’s passport dismissed

ISLAMABAD: The customs authorities were knocking the wrong door since November last year to stop supermodel Ayyan Ali from leaving the country as Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday threw way their petition seeking the confiscating of her passport released to her under the order of a customs court.

The IHC rejected the petition filed against the order of the special court of customs, excise and taxation Rawalpindi for handing over of the passport to the supermodel.

Justice Athar Minallah, while dismissing the petition citing a lack of jurisdiction, observed that any order of the special court Rawalpindi could only be challenged in the appellate court of the jurisdiction.

On November 25, 2015, the customs court accepted the petition of Ayyan and directed the officials to hand her back the passport. The customs officials challenged the order before the IHC contending that the order was not issued following a due process of law.
IHC says customs court Rawalpindi’s order can only be challenged in appellate court of the area

Ayyan’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa contended that customs court’s decision could only be challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) which had been given the appellate jurisdiction for the customs courts. He said the federal government had also issued a notification in this regard.

But the counsel for the customs authorities said both the IHC and the LHC had the jurisdiction as no special judge was nominated in the case. The counsel, however, could not satisfy the court when asked under what law the case fell within the ambits of the IHC.

In the petition, the customs counsel maintained that Ayyan was arrested ‘red-handed’ while travelling abroad with foreign currency amounting to $506,800. The customs authorities had confiscated the passport after arresting her at Benazir Bhutto International Airport on March 14, 2015.

The counsel said Ayyan could not travel with the passport because her name was included in the ‘Exit Control List.’ Despite her name in the ECL, he expressed the apprehension that Ayyan might escape the proceedings through an unauthorised route since she had higher stakes abroad as compared to Pakistan.

Besides, he stated, the passport was a material piece of evidence and it could conveniently be subjected to mutilation, destruction or loss in any eventuality. He added that it was necessary for the sake of justice that the passport may be kept in the safe custody of the government. He requested the court to vacate the impugned order.

Following the arguments, the court dismissed the customs’ petition.

Earlier, the customs court had indicted Ayyan in a money laundering case which was previously deferred for a number of times. The model, however, had pleaded not guilty to the charges of money laundering and said she would defend herself in the case in which she had been purposefully implicated.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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