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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has taken up an intra-court appeal (ICA) against dismissal of a petition seeking a ban on the export of livestock to the Gulf States under the garb of gifts.

The petitioner, a local trader, alleged that gift schemes were used by powerful people to launder money from Pakistan and that 2,000 to 3,000 live animals were exported/gifted on a single no-objection certificate (NOC). He said these animals were sold in the commercial markets of the Gulf States.

A division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, issued notices to the respondents, including secretary to the Prime Minister, secretary Ministry of Commerce, chief protocol officer Ministry of Foreign Affairs, director animal quarantine Ministry of National Food Security and Research Directorate and member customs Federal Board of Revenue. The court sought their reply in a fortnight.

The scheme is used by powerful people to launder money from Pakistan, says intra-court appeal

Haris Aziz in his ICA challenged IHC single-member bench’s order dated May 28.

He stated that since no definite gift policy existed in Pakistan, dubious gift schemes were being utilised to launder money from Pakistan, raising the price of meat by creating a shortage of animals.

He said a ban was imposed on the export of live animals in 2013 mainly because of the “export of hundreds of thousands of live animals to the Gulf States under the garb of gifts.”

A “certificate about the health of animals for exportation” attached with the petition was stamped by the animal quarantine department as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ protocol officer. The letter dated August 22, 2017, was stamped on August 25, 2017.

He said if there was no ban on export of live animals, the normal export would have brought huge foreign exchange and taxes paid to the government exchequer. However, he said, fictitious gift schemes deprived the country of foreign exchange.

“Huge amount of ill-gotten wealth is laundered under these gift schemes every year. Such contraptions are used for encouraging corruption in the country.”

He alleged that only two or three exporters were assigned the task to export animals under these schemes and they were front men of powerful people.

“The fundamental rights of every Paksitani are affected when meat is sold at exorbitant prices,” he stated, adding the export of animals was the reason behind the increasing price of meat in the local market. The ICA requested the court to set aside the single bench’s order and declare gift schemes of live animals as void being contradictory to the law and of Export Policy Order 2013 and 2016.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2018