Peshawar High Court declines to relax ban on chicken export

Published October 27, 2021
A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali declared that the chicken transportation ban would continue until the prices were reduced in the local market. — PPI/File
A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali declared that the chicken transportation ban would continue until the prices were reduced in the local market. — PPI/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday declined to relax the recent government ban on the transportation of chicken to Afghanistan due to the increasing prices, but allowed the export of day-old chick.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali declared that the chicken transportation ban would continue until the prices were reduced in the local market in accordance with an understanding reached among different stakeholders last month, including the food department and the poultry association.

Allows transportation of day-old chicks to Afghanistan

Last month, the court had vacated a stay order against the transportation of cattle and poultry products to Afghanistan and permitted their exports. However, action on the decision was linked to the reduction of their prices in the local market.

The court, however, allowed the food department to ban the export of poultry products in case their increases go beyond the one decided by the stakeholders.

A few days ago, the food department banned the transportation of poultry products, including chickens and day-old chicks, to Afghanistan.

The bench was hearing two petitions filed by citizens Hafeezur Rehman and Malik Sheharyar on different issues, including high prices of dairy products, adulteration of milk, etc.

The bench fixed Nov 16 for next hearing, asking the food department and other stakeholders to hold a meeting and formulate a viable solution for addressing the issue.

The court had ordered the deputy commissioners in May this year to stop the transportation of poultry products including its smuggling to Afghanistan.

In June, it had again ordered administrative officers of different districts to ensure stoppage of smuggling of cattle to Afghanistan.

Besides additional advocate general Syed Sikander Hayat Shah, several officials also appeared before the bench, including food secretary Khushal Khan, who has earlier been nominated as the focal person by the court in these issues, and a representative of livestock department.

Advocates Isaac Ali Qazi, Babar Khan Yousafzai, Bahlol Khattak and Ijaz Khan Sabi appeared for different poultry associations and companies, including the provincial chapter of the Pakistan Poultry Association.

The food secretary informed the bench that last month it was decided that if the price of chicken increased from Rs231 per kg, then the ban would be placed on the transportation of poultry products. He said as prices were on the rise, they had to impose the ban.

The secretary said after the ban, the price of chicken has reduced to Rs236 per kg on Tuesday.

He said the department had been ensuring to enforce the orders earlier issued by the high court for keeping the prices of poultry products in the permissible range.

Lawyer Babar Khan said as the rate of chicken had increased from Rs231 per kg, the government had banned the export of day-old chick.

He said the court had declared that if the price of chick increased from Rs70, then its export should be banned.

The counsel, however, said the price was below Rs70, but despite that, the government had banned its export.

Advocate Isaac Ali said around 120 million chicks were produced every month in the country and was a source of earning foreign exchange through the export of surplus quantity to Afghanistan.

He added that the price of chicken couldn’t be linked with that of the chick as there were multiple factors responsible for increase in prices specially the feed for broilers.

Bahlol Khattak also said mostly, maize and soybean were used in poultry feed but recently, there was an increase in the prices of those commodities.

He said for containing the prices of poultry products, it was necessary to control the rates of soybean and maize.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2021

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