ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, who took charge of his office on Monday, has said pork, donkey and dog’s meat was being sold in the capital. Speaking at the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, the newly-appointed minister said this trend needed to be checked.
The Senate panel discussed the draft of Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill which seeks to set up a food authority in the capital on the lines of the Punjab Food Authority to check quality of edible items and curb adulteration in food items. Senator Azam Khan Swati of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, who has introduced the bill, said there was no check and balance on food outlets and companies in the capital and it was the need of the hour to set up a dedicated authority to ensure hygienic food. “There are 16 companies selling bottled water but nine of them are packing and selling water that is unsafe for human consumption,” Swati said.
Committee Chairperson Senator Rehman Malik directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the reports of some companies bottling and selling unsafe drinking water.
“Nobody can touch those selling yogurt and milk in this country. There is no testing mechanism. Animals should be inspected for their health before they are slaughtered,” Malik said. He said meat being transported hazardously and openly in trucks was a common sight on our roads, which was a threat to public health.
Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan said ensuring of Halal food should also be the purview of the proposed food authority. Chaudhry said a timeline to set up the authority should also be incorporated in the bill.
The lawmakers wanted to increase punishments for adulteration in food. “Punishment should be equal to those selling narcotics,” demanded Senator Momin Khan Afridi.
However, Secretary Interior Yousuf Naeem Khokhar told the committee that a similar draft law prepared by the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration was pending with the Law Division and that this new bill should also be sent to the Law Division.
The committee then referred the bill to the Law Division with the directions to club both and send them back to the committee for approval.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2018.