PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday ordered the suspension of cattle export to Afghanistan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and directed the deputy commissioners of the relevant districts to check cattle smuggling.
A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar observed that as Eidul Azha would be celebrated next month, drastic steps were needed to stop cattle smuggling and export to prevent the shortage of sacrificial animals in the province.
It added that if the current practice of transporting the cattle to the neighbouring country continued, there would be a shortage of sacrificial animals for the local people.
Last month, the high court had ordered the suspension of the transportation of poultry products to Afghanistan over the rising prices in the local market.
The poultry prices in the province recorded a substantial reduction afterward.
Observes measures needed to prevent shortage of sacrificial animals ahead of Eid
The court had ordered the deputy commissioners of the relevant districts to continue stopping the transportation of poultry products to Afghanistan until the normalisation of their prices in the province.
The court was hearing a petition filed by resident Malik Sheharyar last year regarding dairy products, including adulteration in milk.
From time to time, the court has been taking the notice of hike in prices and hoarding of essential commodities, including sugar, wheat flour, meat and chicken.
Food secretary Khushal Khan told the bench on Thursday that after the high court took notice of the increases prices of poultry products and placed a ban on its transportation to the neighbouring country, their prices came down to a great extent.
He said before the court order, chicken was sold for Rs345 per kg but the price later declined to Rs186 per kg.
The bench wondered if that task had to be performed by the court, then what the district administration was up to.
The chief justice observed that the court had taken notice of the issue as during the fasting month of Ramazan, it had become next to impossible for the common people to purchase poultry products.
The bench observed that with the festival of Eidul Azha approaching, the ‘mafias’ would increase cattle smuggling.
It fixed June 29 for the next hearing directing the food secretary to submit a report about steps taken for curtailing cattle smuggling to Afghanistan.
An official of the animal husbandry section at the food security ministry informed the court that at least eight million sacrificial animals would be required for the upcoming Eidul Azha.
Representative of the Meat Exporters Association Fayaz Khan informed the bench that if the government was interested, they were ready to set up eight outlets in the provincial capital for the provision of meat at cheap rates.
The bench directed him to hold a meeting with the food secretary and commissioner of the food ministry’s animal husbandry section in that respect.
The food secretary told the bench that at least 18 outlets would be required in Peshawar for the sale of meat at reduced prices.
A representative of the Poultry Products Association told the bench that in light of the directives issued by the high court, there was a reduction of almost Rs160 per kg in chicken prices.
He said the government had banned the import of day-old broiler chicks, which had affected their business. He requested the bench to issue directives for relaxing that ban.
The bench asked him and others to hold a meeting with the food secretary and animal husbandry commissioner on the issue.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021