PHC lifts ban on cattle, poultry supply to Afghanistan

Published September 17, 2021
This file photo shows the Peshawar High Court. — APP/File
This file photo shows the Peshawar High Court. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday recalled its stay order against the transportation of the cattle and poultry to Afghanistan and allowed their export.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed Arshad Ali took exception to the reports about milk adulteration, especially the mixing of formalin (formaldehyde) chemical into it, and ordered the livestock department and district administrations to ‘permanently seal’ all shops involved in the ‘heinous’ act.

It directed the federal government to consult the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa livestock department for the improvement of the cattle export policy.

The court was hearing two petitions filed by residents Hafeezur Rehman and Malik Sheharyar about high prices of dairy products, adulteration of milk and other issues.

Orders crackdown on milk adulterators

The court had ordered the deputy commissioners in May this year to stop the transportation and smuggling of poultry to Afghanistan. It issued fresh orders in June to the administrative officers of different districts to ensure an immediate end to cattle smuggling to Afghanistan.

Besides provincial advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt and additional advocate general Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah, provincial food secretary Khushal Khan, who was earlier nominated as the focal person by the court in the issues, and a representative of the livestock department also attended the hearing.

Lawyers Isaac Ali Qazi, Babar Khan Yousafzai and Ijaz Khan Sabi appeared for poultry associations and companies, including the Pakistan Poultry Association’s KP Chapter.

The food secretary informed the bench that after consulting the poultry association, the department had decided poultry rates keeping in view of the chick price and if the rates went beyond that limit, then chick export would be banned.

He said if the rate of one-day-old chick was Rs50, the chicken would be sold at Rs214 per kg and if the chick price was Rs70, the chicken would be sold at Rs230 per kg.

Lawyer Isaac Ali Qazi said around 120 million chicks were produced every month in the country and of them, one million chicks were exported to Afghanistan to earn foreign exchange of several million dollars.

He contended that the day-old-chick couldn’t be supplied to Afghanistan from the province due to a ban imposed by the court and there was a likelihood of some other country occupying the Afghan poultry market to the loss of Pakistan.

Lawyer Babar Yousafzai requested the bench to lift the ban on the transportation of chicks to Afghanistan saying poultry traders have been facing irreparable losses due to the restriction.

He said militancy had already badly hit businessmen in the province.

Counsel Ijaz Khan pointed out that the ban on the transportation of poultry and cattle existed in KP only, so chicks were sent to Afghanistan from Balochistan.

The bench accepted their plea and decided to recall the stay order it issued against the transportation of cattle and poultry to Afghanistan.

It, however, directed the government’s representatives to monitor their prices to check any arbitrary increase.

The bench pointed out that there were reports about an increase in milk adulteration, especially by the mixing of formalin into it. It wondered what action had been taken against the culpable people.

The representatives of the livestock department said raids were regularly carried out to check the quality of milk, while scores of shops were sealed over milk adulteration and adulterated milk was disposed of in large quantity.

The bench directed the officials to check the slaughtering of unhealthy cattle saying the meat of such animals is not fit for human consumption.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2021

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