Archive for March, 2017

In Defence of Justice

Posted: March 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

Before staring, let me clarify myself that I am not a lawyer. I am just an ordinary citizen of Pakistan who looks at the injustice or delayed justice to fellow citizens and feel the pain. Often it seems that law is being served instead of the justice whereas law may or may not contain justice since judges are bound by law and evidences presented in front of them. Sometimes (Read: Most of the time) it seems obvious that crime is being/ has been committed, in the court it is appears totally otherwise. Sometimes the accused are apprehended based on some initial evidences. The proceedings continue for ages and then the accused are acquitted clean but the question remains as to who did corruption since there was hue and cry about and people suffered.

A similar example is the recent judgement about Ayaan Ali Vs Sate case in which the so-called super model is acquitted from the money laundering case, leaving common citizens of Pakistan, like me, astonished as to why was she apprehended at first place and when proven innocent why wasn’t there any action against responsible authorities. It is evident from the exit of Ayaan Ali from country, the day she got final clean chit, that there was a judgment, there were court proceedings, there was prosecution and then there was a defence. So, questions left answered, which may be stupid insofar as jurisprudence is concerned, just cannot be responded by chest thumping banters and flinging sundry legal terms and judgements at the heads of the common citizens.

The Judgement states and I quote, “Ayaan Ali was apprehended at ASF Counter in the Rawal Lounge of Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, when Waqas ASI, of ASF, considering her suitcase as suspicious, conducted search of the same and recovered therefrom US Dollars 506800. He then handed her over to the Customs officials who booked her in the said case”.

So, why was she travelling with hefty amount of money with her? There is a clear FBR law as USD10, 000 can be taken outside of the country as cash. The paragraph 5 of the judgement states that when Ayaan was apprehended the stage of correct declaration of amount had not arrived. Now let’s take a break and try to find of the answers to the below:

  • Is there any order of precedence mentioned somewhere regarding stages of declaration? Isn’t it duty of the traveler to keep only prescribed amount of money with him/ her or any sum more than USD10, 000 can be taken by just declaring it?
  • But, why declare an unlawful money? Isn’t it as if I take any restricted item without prior approval with me to an airport with an intention to travel and when checked the same, I say, “oh I was going to declare that and after declaring I was going to travel with the same”.
  • What would have happened, anyway, after the declaration of amount? Would Customs let her go or apprehend her for trying to take more than prescribed amount of money outside of the country? In this case, officials arrested her, which seems to be the right thing to do at that point as she was carrying an amount, which was not allowed. Also if someone unlawfully, breaks into a house and when arrested he cannot say that it was duty of police to stop him.

By the way, at every airport the customs counter is the first one along with ASF Security so which stage was yet to be arrived? Secondly, Customs booked her, which clearly implies that Custom Officials were well aware of the situation, and could have told ASF to let her “declare” the amount. However, Custom officials remained silent and instead booked her in the case as she failed to declare the amount at first place. This raises eyebrows on the professionalism of the prosecution as to why this point was not contested and defence of the accused destroyed? Prosecution could have shown the plot plan of the airport to indicate the customs counter.

If Ayaan Ali’s intention, as she claimed, was not to travel with this much money, then what else was that? It is claimed that she wanted to give this money to her brother who was coming on the same flight. In the judgement, it is clearly mentioned that court wanted a probe by prosecution, with reference to this claim. Did prosecution carried out the same or something somewhere was compromised? For example, was the ticket, exit stamp on the passport and boarding pass of her brother was produced by petitioner (Ayaan Ali) in front of authorities in order to establish her claim? Well, the answer to this question may not see the light of the day.

Furthermore, where was she supposed to handover the money to her brother? Clearly, the airports are meant for travelling and not for money transaction. This claim further begs some more questions,

  • If her intention was not to travel but exchange of money, why wasn’t some place other than airport chosen?
  • Why weren’t financial institutions channels used to transfer the money to her brother’s account?
  • If she did not mean to travel, how was she allowed to enter the airport as it is mandatory to produce the travelling documents in order to enter the airport premises. If one is going to greet anyone, one won’t be allowed to go beyond Security Check and wait at Greetings Area.
  • If the intention was not to travel how was she able to access Rawal Lounge without necessary documents? The access to Rawal Lounge is restricted to passengers and dignitaries. Clearly, she is not one of the later and was a passenger with “intention” to travel otherwise would not access the lounge. Under which carpet I should hide the news of Ayaan Ali being supported by PA of some ex-president to access the airport?
  • At a first place officials maintained that they had the ticket and boarding pass of the accused but the judgement said otherwise.

This clearly indicates that prosecution was not up to the mark and correct evidences were not presented in the court in front of judges.

Ayaan Ali maintained that the money she was found with was earned by selling her property in Bahria Town. Now on which wall I should throw the earlier statements of FBR officials where they maintained that Bahria Town negated any such claim.

The material I am forced to buy is that, “you may travel with money more than the prescribed limit, with no details of source whatsoever. If customs book you for not declaring the same you may say the stage of declaration was not arrived yet and you may also negate your intention to travel even, citing that it was supposed to be delivered to such and such person at lounge”.

As a common citizen of Pakistan, I see loopholes and flaws in the Customs Law and unprofessionalism of politicized prosecution. Under such circumstances, none of prosecuting officer would dare make a case against or apprehend you.

The paragraph 6 of the judgement states that the act of taking foreign currency out of Pakistan beyond the prescribed limit was not immoral or anti-social in nature, but was technical and I keep on pondering upon the definitions of “Morality” and “Social” to find my answer(s).

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