KARACHI: Collector Irfan-ur-Rehman Khan, MCC of JIAP Karachi while keeping in line with his fearless attitude and adherence to law is said to proceed on procedures to confiscate all face mask consignments for not providing NOC for clearance. The Collector stopped many consignments of face masks including N95 and KN95 which were being cleared without NOC of DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan). Some of the consignments belong to highly influential people backed by senior bureaucrats and politicians.
Collector Irfan-ur-Rehman Khan directed Deputy Collector Tausif Aman Gurchani, MCC of JIAP Karachi, to check all the consignments from 16 May and stop those without DRAP NOC. Even DRAP issued a notification saying that under ruler 24 of the Medical Devices Rules 2017, it will facilitate the importers who intend to import medical devices for patients in hospitals. Therefore, importers having valid supply order of any procurement agency including the National Disaster Management Authority or any public or private hospital / institution / charitable trust may submit an urgent application to the DRAP for issuance of NOC for import. The DRAP will issue the NOC within 24 hours. But still face mask consignments were being cleared by lower staff without DRAP NOC and this continued till Collector Irfan-ur-Rehman Khan personally intervened and put one of his relied upon officer Gurchani on the task.
Sources said that AFU KHI Collector Irfan-ur-Rehman Khan may confiscate all face mask consignments for not providing DRAP NOC and other AFUs in the country including Lahore and Islamabad will also have to follow suit as law has to be implemented by Customs Department similarly at all sea and air ports of Pakistan. This action by Collector Irfan has sounded alarm bells to all the other collectorates of Pakistan that are clearing face masks without DRAP NOC. Sources further said that importers of these consignments were putting immense pressure on the Collector for clearance of their consignments and high-level government officials, ministers and senior political personalities also contacted him and tried to pressurise him to clear these consignments without NOC. The Collector is known to abide by the law and did not succumb to the pressure and stopped these consignments following set rules and regulations. He showed full commitment with his official duty without regard to any fear or favour.
On the other hand, importers, traders and customs agents are of the views that these face mask consignments should be cleared without the said NOC due to Covid-19 disaster situation. They are giving briefings to customs officials to convince them but sadly on the other hand they are putting illegal pressures and offering favours to the collectorate for this purpose. It remains to be seen whether the Collector Irfan ur Rehman can sustain the pressure further and confiscate the face masks not having DRAP NOC or if he is forced by influential quarters to give way to illegal practice.
DC Tausif Aman Gurchani