LAHORE, Aug 28: Governor Sardar Latif Khosa has written a letter to the Council of Islamic Ideology chairman, seeking its advice whether or not amendments made by the Punjab Assembly to allow slaughtering of any animal without differentiating between ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ are repugnant to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

In the letter, the governor said the Punjab Assembly recently made legislation on the issue of slaughtering of any animal of any age domesticated in captivity.

“The original provisions of Section 2(a) of the Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act, 1963, are as follow: animal means a bullock, bull, cow, buffalo, buffalo-bull, goat and sheep of any age while under the Punjab Animal Slaughter Control (Amendment) Act, 2012, Section 2(a) has been substituted as “‘animal” means a bull, bullock, buffalo, buffalo-bull, camel, cow, goat, ostrich, sheep or any other animal of any age domesticated in captivity.”’

“It transpires that the definition of the word ‘animal’ has been substituted through the amendment act, thereby including the following animals/birds in the definition clause of ‘animal’, in addition to the already specified animals in section 2(a) of the Act ibid.: camel, ostrich or any other animal of any age domesticated in captivity.”

“Upon presentation of ‘The Punjab Animals Slaughter Control (Amendment) Bill 2012’, I, in exercise of the powers vested in me under Article 116 (2) (b) of the Constitution returned the bill for reconsideration by the assembly in the light of my following observation: Under Section 2(ccc) of the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act, 1974, “exotic” means ‘wildlife species not native to Pakistan. The ostrich is the largest flightless bird, native to Africa, therefore, it comes under the definition of exotic i.e., wildlife species not native to Pakistan. The Section 14 of the Punjab Wildlife Act, 1974 deals with restriction on import and export of animals, trophies or meat, Sub Section 1 of which is reproduced here under: ‘No person shall import or attempt to import into the Punjab any wild animal of endemic or exotic species or any trophy or meat of a kind specified in Second Schedule except under an import permit granted under this Act and if such import be from outside Pakistan except through a customs post of entry and subject to any law relating to control on imports for the time being in force.”

“This clearly envisages that only exotic species specified in second schedule can be lawfully imported and exported and that too, with an import permit.

As the ostrich comes under the definition of exotic animal being wildlife species not native to Pakistan and are not included in the second schedule, therefore, the same cannot be imported. Therefore, domestication of ostrich contemplated under the proposed amendment of Section 2(a) of the Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act, 1963 stands ruled out due to bar on import on account of exclusion from the schedule qualifying Section 14(1) of the Punjab Wildlife Act. Hence, inclusion of ostrich in the category of permissible animals to be slaughtered under proposed amendment shall be anomalous without prior amendment in Sections 2(ccc) and 14(1) of the Punjab Wildlife Act, 1974.”

The governor said the proposed amendment in the definition clause at Sub Section (a) of Section 2 includes any other animal in the category of animals whose slaughter is being governed under the Act ibid. ‘Any other animal’ does not differentiate between ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ animals. Similarly, it does not envisage distinction between species of protected animals, wild animals and exotic animals as compared to the livestock not prohibited from being slaughtered.

The operation of the proposed amendment is likely to entail un-restricted slaughtering of even wild animals in clear violation of the provisions of Section 15 of the Punjab Wildlife Act which prescribes a restriction on a profession, trade or business to buy, sell or otherwise deal in wild animals, trophies or meat thereof.Despite strong objections by the opposition the Punjab government managed to again pass the Punjab Animals Slaughter Control (Amendment) Bill 2012, in the provincial assembly, declaring the largest flightless exotic bird, ostrich, as an animal and allowing slaughter of all domestic animals, without differentiating between halal and haram animals.

“I have not given my assent to the proposed bill due to these reasons,” the governor said.

As the Punjab government has set aside his objections to the bill, the governor decided to move the CII.