QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution seeking a curb on the smuggling of livestock from Balochistan to neighboring countries. In the session presided over by Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, members demanded that the federal government review the policy for issuing permits regarding export of cattle.
PML-Q’s Jaffar Mandokhel had tabled this adjournment motion in Thursday’s session and it was approved for a twohour- long debate. Mandokhel said that a large number of animals, including cows, goats, camels and sheep, were being smuggled to Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East, causing shortage of livestock in the province.
“Massive smuggling is the main cause of increase in prices of mutton and beef, and if appropriate steps are not taken, prices would go beyond the reach of the common man,” he said. He demanded a ban on the export of Balochistan’s livestock and asked the government to take the issue seriously. He also suggested an increase in allocation of livestock while making the budget. The motion was supported by ministers Muhammad Nawaz, Mir Asim Kurd, Sarwar Musakhel, Nasrin Kihtran and Jan Ali Changezi.
They said that this was a crucial issue as a majority of the people in Balochistan relied on agriculture and livestock sectors for their livelihoods. They said that dozens of trucks loaded with animals could be seen in Dalbandin (the town bordering Iran) and Chaman (the town bordering Afghanistan). They also said that commissioners and deputy commissioners should be authorised to control smuggling in these areas rather than empowering officials from customs department or the Frontier Corps who they alleged for being involved in smuggling.
Responding to questions, home minister Mir Zafar Zehri said that permits for export were issued by the federal government so the matter should be discussed with the Balochistan chief minister and the finance minister. The provincial government, he said, has already ordered the relevant commissioners and their deputies to control smuggling at the district level.
Members also demanded cancellation of all permits issued by the federal government and asked Speaker Bhootani to approve the motion as a resolution so that it could be properly presented before the federal government. The House unanimously adopted the motion in the form of a resolution. Earlier, Mandokhel tabled an adjournment motion regarding skin diseases and said that the mysterious disease had so far claimed 60 lives in the Landi Khosa area of Kachhi district and the health department confirmed 18 deaths from the disease.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010.