PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday sought comments from the climate change ministry and Peshawar Zoo director about a petition challenging the non-issuance of NOC for the import of two elephants for the zoo.
A bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor fixed Dec 12 for the next hearing into the petition asking deputy attorney general Asghar Khan Kundi to get information from the climate change secretary about the issue and update the court.
It asked the climate change ministry, provincial chief conservative wildlife and Peshawar Zoo director to formally respond to the petition separately within a fortnight.
The petitioner, the Mohammad Hanif and Engineer Construction Limited director, Mohammad Hanif, requested the court to ask the climate change ministry to grant NOC for the transportation of elephants for Peshawar Zoo without delay.
Petitioner wants court intervention for import NOC
He asked the climate change ministry to take up the matter with the inspector general of forests and head of the CITES (Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) as well as any other relevant authority to get extension of the reasonable time for the transportation of elephants.
The petitioner requested the court to direct the respondents, including the ministry of climate change, Peshawar Zoo, provincial secretary (forests and wildlife), provincial government through the chief secretary, and others to repay Rs92 million incurred on acquiring elephants to the petitioner in case of failure to extend the time period for transportation of elephants to the zoo.
He contended that the ministry was bound to exercise its powers in the interest of the province and since the import of elephants was in the interest of the residents, the NOC denial for the purpose despite the fulfillment of legal requirements by the petitioner was a violation of Article 148 of the Constitution.
The petitioner said the Peshawar Zoo director had issued a tender on Nov 2, 2017, through an advertisement for bidding of different animals for the zoo.
He added that he had participated in the bidding process to the extent of sambar deer, barking deer, double hump camels, zebra, tiger and elephants along with other bidders and his rates for different animals were accepted as per animal specifications.
The petitioner claimed that he got the work order by the zoo director for the purpose.
He said he had provided sambar deer, barking deer and double-hump camels from the local market, while tigers and zebras were managed from Johannesburg (South Africa).
The petitioner said he had visited Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe in search of the best elephants.
He added that the Zimbabwean government had agreed on the export of elephants to Pakistan subject to the visit of site and environment. The petitioner claimed that the official of the Zim Park Wildlife Department, Zimbabwe, visited Peshawar and found out the site conducive for the living of elephants.
He claimed that he was granted permission by the CITES on Nov 6 for transporting elephants but the same was delayed by the climate change ministry.
He said the ministry officials had verbally denied him NOC claiming that CITES had banned the transportation of elephants.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019