PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday referred the issue of the export and smuggling of cattle and dairy and poultry products to Afghanistan to a provincial government committee for a report on the total production of these products and how much of it could be allowed for export.
Also, Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth extended the ban imposed by it on transportation of cattle and poultry to Afghanistan until the next hearing on Dec 12.
They ordered the committee comprising the provincial chief secretary and the agriculture and livestock and food secretaries to take a decision on the matter within 20 days and produce a report on it. It observed that it would decide about the matter in light of the report on the next hearing.
The bench set terms of reference for the committee having several questions including: what is total production of dairy and poultry products within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and entire country and what is the total demand and to what extent if the production is found surplus its export to Afghanistan could be allowed.
The bench directed that the opinion and view point of the director general of federal and provincial livestock departments should be taken into consideration by the committee. It further directed that all stake holders including representatives of poultry industry and cattle exporters, along with the government quarantine officer, commissioner of animal husbandry department, statistics research officer related to livestock and other connected in any manner with the disputed issue be given full opportunity to present their viewpoint.
The chief justice had taken a suo motu notice of the export and smuggling of cattle and poultry products to Afghanistan over a report prepared by the human rights cell of the court.
On July 23, the court had suspended all the export permits issued by the federal government and had ordered that any permit holder carrying cattle heads of any kind to Afghanistan should be liable to confiscation.
The bench directed that the committee while drawing its conclusion should also keep in view the policy of the provincial government with regard to prevention of smuggling of livestock including cattle heads and meat to Afghanistan.
It was added that alongside the interest of local population the interest of poultry farming industry and exporters should also be taken into consideration.
Attique Shah, lawyer for KP Poultry Association, and contended that the industry was at the verge of collapse due to the ban imposed by the high court. He pointed out that chicken had now been available at the rate of Rs135 per kg and the product was now available in so much abundance that even on that rate people had not been purchasing it. He requested permission for the export of dairy and poultry products to Afghanistan.
The chief justice observed that the court did not want to shut down the industry, but they had also to ensure that the interest of general public was protected.