PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial government to respond to a petition against the livestock department’s ban on the export of broiler chickens to Afghanistan.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Shahid Khan fixed Sept 8 for next hearing into the petition by the Provincial Poultry Association against that chicken export ban.

The petitioner claims that the livestock director had overstepped his jurisdiction and issued an illegal order regarding the ban.

Lawyer Zafar Tahirkheli appeared for the petitioner and contended that the Constitution didn’t allow the director to slap a ban on the export of an item.

He argued that the federal trade and commerce ministry was empowered to deal with the issues of export and import and not the director (livestock).

The counsel contended that the ban imposed by the director had adversely affected poultry traders in the province and that no suitable reason was given for the move.

He argued that if the provincial government had any problem with the export of broiler chickens to Afghanistan, it should raise the issue with the federal government, which was empowered to take decision about it.

The lawyer said that the livestock director had assumed jurisdiction without any legal backing.

During hearing, Justice Roohul Amin observed why the traders had been exporting chickens from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and why they were not getting a quota from Punjab for exporting the same.

The bench observed that apparently, broiler chickens meant for the province had been exported to Afghanistan causing their shortages for the residents.

Mr Tahirkheli said the export had been taking place from Chaman and other border crossings but the same wasn’t allowed via Torkham in an illegal move.

In May last year, the high court had ordered the relevant deputy commissioners to stop the transportation and smuggling of poultry products to Afghanistan.

However, the stay order was vacated next Sept with the court allowing the export of those products to the neighbouring country. Action on the decision was linked to the reduction of chicken prices in the local market.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2022

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