Khyber road blocked against cattle import ban

Published July 25, 2020
Tribesmen protest on the Torkham Highway in Khyber district on Friday. — Dawn
Tribesmen protest on the Torkham Highway in Khyber district on Friday. — Dawn

KHYBER: The youths on Friday demonstrated the prolonged ban on import of sacrificial animals from Afghanistan via Torkhamborder and blocked the Peshawar-Torkham Road here for eight hours.

The protest was organised by the Naujawan-i-Qabayal Tanzeem, a local youth organisation, in collaboration with the Torkhum Customs Clearing Agents Association and TorkhumMazdoor (labour) Union.

Shouting slogans, the protesters demanded the immediate lifting of the animal import ban, which, they said, was slapped in 2017 without specific reasons.

They agreed to disperse after officials of the local administration and police assured them that they would take up the matter with the relevant authorities before Eidul Azha.

Meanwhile, cattle dealers in Landi Kotal and Jamrud area told Dawn that the import ban had led to the smuggling of sheep from Afghanistan via unfrequented border routes in Balochistan.

Officials promise to take up matter with authorities

Landi Kotal cattle dealer Naurang told Dawn that he had to spend Rs2,500-Rs3,000 to bring in a sheep from Quetta.

He said many sheep died of scorching heat and fatigue in transportation.“Our business is not doing well due to the higher prices of smuggled sheep,” he said.

Jamrud cattle dealer Bacha Qasab said officials at the Torkham border were tight-lipped about the ban.

He said cattle dealers were willing to pay customs duty on imported animals and follow the quarantine condition.

“Cattle dealers used to bring in 35,000-40,000 sheep from Afghanistan ahead of Eidul Azha before the ban was imposed. The exchequer is losing revenue to the ban,” he said.

NUTRITION PROGRAMME: Special assistantto the prime ministeron poverty alleviation and social safety Dr Sania Nishtar on Friday inaugurated the Ehsas Nutrition Programme for pregnant women and newborn babies at the Dogra hospital in Bara tehsil of Khyber tribal district.

She announced that Rs4,500 would be provided to every pregnant woman along with nutritional food for both mother and the newborn baby for at least two years under the programme.

“The initiative is meant to address vitamin deficiency among poor mothers and their children and protect them from diseases,” she said.

She also promised the provision of necessary facilities to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation on Friday inaugurated a livestock market, a fruit and vegetable packing shed and a fruit and vegetable auction shed in Bara tehsil of Khyber tribal district with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development.

A statement said the vegetable and fruit enterprise establishment would support value chain development and improved agriculture practices in merged districts for year round production and provide a viable environment for vegetable and livestock management creating market linkages for farmers amid Covid-19 pandemic.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2020

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