PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday issued a stay order stopping the federal government from issuing new permits for the export of cattle to Afghanistan until the end of the three-day Eidul Azha festival.
However, the existing cattle export permits will remain valid, ruled a bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan.
The bench directed the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to check the smuggling of sacrificial animals to Afghanistan.
Asks govt to check animal smuggling to Afghanistan
It issued the order during a hearing into a petition jointly filed by lawyers Ashfaq Ahmad Khalil and Mohammad Yasir Khattak against the ‘unchecked’ smuggling and transportation of sacrificial animals to Afghanistan and their massive export, which, they said, caused shortages on the local market.
The respondents in the petition are the KP government through chief secretary, secretary of the agriculture and livestock department, inspector general of police, Peshawar capital city police officer, commissioner of Peshawar division, and deputy commissioners of Peshawar and Khyber districts.
Lawyer Yasir Khattak said Muslims in Pakistan and other parts of the world would celebrate Eidul Azha next month.
He said in the past, the government had banned the export of cattle to Afghanistan from the province ahead of Eidul Azha as both lawful and unlawful transportation caused a serious animal shortage and price escalation troubling the residents.
The lawyer said the cattle prices had surged across the country, especially KP.
He said a shortage of sacrificial animals had increased prices manifold ahead of last Eidul Azha.
The lawyer said animal prices would go up in the province as the government hadn’t stopped their export to Afghanistan.
He claimed that the smuggling of cattle to Afghanistan continued through different routes as the authorities concerned had turned a blind eye to it.
The bench wondered how it could suspend the cattle export to Afghanistan as the permits were issued by the federal government in a lawful manner.
It asked the lawyer whether the court could order the suspension of trade between two countries.
Mr Khattak said the petitioners had not sought a permanent ban on the export of cattle and instead, they wanted that restriction until the third day of coming Eidul Azha.
He said the Afghan government had already banned the export of sheep and goats to Pakistan.
The bench observed that the cattle exporters whom the government had issued permits for Afghanistan would have purchased cattle, so it couldn’t suspend those permits.
The petitioner requested the bench to issue a stay order against the issuance of new permits by the federal government for the export of sacrificial animals to Afghanistan.
He said it was a religious obligation for all resourceful Muslim to sacrifice cattle on the occasion of Eidul Azha to please the Almighty Allah.
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2019