ISLAMABAD: Despite a persisting ban on export of livestock animals, as many as 15,000 animals were exported as gifts to Gulf countries during the first five months of 2018.
Sources told this scribe that former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had given the approval to gift 15,000 animals, including cattle, sheep, and horses to the royal families of Gulf states.
Sources were of the view that gifting of such a huge quantity of animals contradicts the very purpose of the ban imposed to keep the prices of meat controlled in the country.
Contrary to that, only 300 to 400 animals were gifted or exported to the Gulf countries in the years 2015 and 2016, and no animals have been gifted to the royal family members since June 2018, sources added.
A nexus of a powerful group sitting in important ministries and those belonging to some foreign missions are involved in this business, who had used fictitious names to seek the required permission from the PM, which amounts to money laundering, the source stated.
Sources told that powerful people are earning money through smuggling of animals. Further, it was claimed that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research’s Annual Quarantine Department (Karachi) has exported these animals after attaining forged health certificates.
Officials told that powerful group with the connivance of political agents, Customs and other intuitions cleared the animals on fake documents.
Interestingly, the Foreign Office (FO), rather than Ministry of Commerce (MoC), is authorised to oversee the exports of live animals after which it merely notifies the MoC about no objection certificate (NOC) to export animals.
It is pertinent to mention here that Haris Aziz through his counsel Khawaja Azhar Rasheed has also filed an intra-court appeal in Islamabad High Court (IHC) in which he has contended that cattle are being sent to other countries in the grab of gifts, arguing that there is no law backing the said transactions.
The federal government had imposed a ban on the export of live animals in 2013 due to the reason that export of livestock animal creates a shortage in the local market, however, PM can give approval of export of animals.