Export of animals as 'gifts' challenged

IHC issues notice to former premier’s principal secretary, senior government officials


Rizwan Shehzad June 16, 2018
The Punjab authorities have warned the general public against hiring unskilled butchers.PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued noticed to the prime minister's former principal secretary and several key government officials in connection with a petition challenging export of hundreds of thousands of animals under the garb of gifts.

The notices were issued by a division bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani while hearing an Intra-Court Appeal (ICA) of a petitioner Haris Aziz, a shopkeeper, on June 13.

The petitioner, through his counsel Khawaja Azhar Rasheed, had filed an ICA challenging Justice Athar Minallah’s order of May 28 which had dismissed his petition.

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The IHC had issued notices to the former prime minister’s principal secretary and several key government officials including the Commerce Ministry secretary, the Chief Protocol Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the animal quarantine director and the research directorate at the National Food Security Ministry, member custom of the Federal Board of Revenue and the AQ Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Abdul Qayum with directions to submit reply in a fortnight.

In the ICA, the counsel said that a public interest litigation had been turned into some narrow private interest, whereas the petition was filed on a matter concerning every citizen of the country.

Rasheed appealed that since no definite gift policy exists in Pakistan, therefore, dubious gift schemes are being utilised to launder money from Pakistan. One consequence of this was to raise the price of meat besides adding to its scarcity.

In the ICA, Rasheed said that a ban had been imposed on the export of live animals in 2013, mainly because of the “export of hundreds of thousands of live animals to the Gulf states under the grab of gifts.”

Surprisingly, he said, a shortage of live animals in the local market still persists.

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A “certificate of the health of animals for exportation” accompanying the petition is stamped by the animal quarantine department as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ protocol officer while the consignor is AQ Enterprises and the consignee is HRH Prince Saud Bin Abdul Rahman Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family.

The letter is dated August 22, 2017, and stamped on August 25, 2017.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2018.

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