CHISHTIAN: Local police apprehended a man selling donkey meat to restaurants and food stalls in the area.
Chistian police raided the house of two brothers Basheer Ahmed alias ‘Hassu’ and his younger brother Niaz Ahmed alias ‘Najju’ who are allegedly responsible for slaughtering over 15 donkeys in the period of one year.
The brothers would steal donkeys from the surrounding villages, slaughter them at night and dispose off the skins before preparing the meat for sale the following morning. Both brothers are said to have been unemployed and financially destitute before starting this ‘business’ a year ago. “They were living in a makeshift brick corner, which was essentially a plot of land covered with two brick walls and had next to no possessions,” police officials said.
The police apprehended Basheer after he stole a donkey two days ago from Mohammad Ashraf, who had purchased the animal a week prior for Rs19,000.
Ashraf filed a complaint with the Chishtian police station and the station house officer Chaudhery Ghulam Nabi sent out a search party in the nearby areas to look for the culprits.
The police eventually found Basheer and his brother trying to dispose off the donkey’s carcass and feet at night and also found the cut meat from their house. Niaz managed to escape the scene after the police took Basheer into custody.
“They had made all the necessary preparations which are evidence that they have been doing this for some time. The corner of the house has large hooks to dry the meat and there are cutting blocks and knives in the house,” he said. The police also stated that they found a large carrier used to transport the meat to local vendors the next day.
The police discovered that the brothers had been selling the meat to local vendors, restaurant owners and bus stands in the area for over a year. SHO Nabi has taken several restaurant owners into custody and has questioned them regarding whether or not they were aware of the nature of the meat they were selling.
Shahid Butt, a restaurant vendor said that he had no idea the meat they were selling was donkey meat as customers never complained about the meat. Basheer had reportedly been selling the meat for Rs60 per kg. “He gave us a steady supply and we never questioned the matter further,” he said.
Some customers reported that they couldn’t really differentiate between the meat they were eating, except that it tasted a ‘little sweeter and tougher’ than goat meat. Local veterinarian Dr Khawar examined the meat on May 4, 2010 and confirmed that the meat was donkey meat.
He said that the meat was harmful for people’s health as such ‘tough meats’ were hard to digest and caused stomach diseases. Dr Khawar also stated that the meat was haram (prohibited in Islam). “These two brothers have been swindling innocent people for profit and have been playing with people’s health,” he said.
Religious authorities belonging to the Ahle- Hadith have stated that they consider imbibing such meat to be ‘makruh’, which is not forbidden but is frowned upon in Islam and is only permissible when other meat is not available or during war times.
Basheer has been detained in the local prison and has been charged with theft (case number 233/10) under section 379 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and clause 4/5 of the Slaughter Control Act. Police are currently investigating Niaz Ahmed’s whereabouts.
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