ISLAMABAD - The Ambassador of Palestine to Pa­kistan Ahmed Jawad AA Rabei on Wednesday challenged a show-cause notice issued by the Feder­al Revenue Board (FBR) regarding import of a duty-exempted luxury vehicle and later its sale to a local businessman in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). 

A single IHC bench comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Mi­nallah will conduct hearing of the petition filed by the Palestinian En­voy though his counsel Sikandar Naeem Qazi Advocate. 

In his petition, the ambassador prayed to the court to declare the petitioner and his property immune from the penal jurisdiction of the cus­toms department in light of the Vien­na Convention on Diplomatic Rela­tions 1961 read with The Diplomatic and Consular Privileges Act 1972. 

He also requested the court to de­clare illegal actions of the customs department which were undertaken without consultation of the Secre­tary Foreign Office. He prayed to the court to “set aside the impugned no­tice as it suffers from want of juris­diction to the extent of the petition­er and his property.” 

The petitioner contended that sei­zure of the petitioner’s vehicle with­out notice and without informing the FO Secretary is illegal. 

He cited the FBR, several customs officials, the seizing officer and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as re­spondents in the petition. 

It was August 4 when the FBR is­sued a show-cause notice to the am­bassador for allegedly importing a duty-exempted luxury vehicle and then selling it to a local business­man. The show-cause notice, issued by the FBR, told the recipients in­cluding businessman Basil Ahmed Affendi that the vehicle might be permanently confiscated and they might also face penalties of up to 10 times of the value of vehicle while this breach also carries punishment of up to three-year imprisonment. 

However, after backlash on social media, the FBR withdrew its notice issued to the ambassador and ten­dered an apology for the inconve­nience caused to him. 

Later, a press release issued by the FBR stated, “It was brought to the notice of FBR that Collector of Cus­tom (Adjudication) Islamabad has issued a show-cause notice to an ambassador for violation of Custom Act, 1969.” The FBR clarified that the issuance of the show-cause no­tice was not in conformity with the privileges available to the diplomats under the Vienna Convention. 

It added, “Therefore, upon FBR’s directions, the Islamabad Customs has modified the seizure report and the show-cause notice is also being modified accordingly. The inconve­nience caused to the worthy ambas­sador is regretted.”