PESHAWAR: Keeping in view the rising prices of meat, mutton and chicken, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday suspended all permits of cattle and poultry transportation to Afghanistan till August 2 whether issued by the Directorate of Livestock Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or the federal government.
Heading a division bench, Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan suspended all permits of cattle and poultry after receiving the report submitted by the director Human Rights Cell of the Peshawar High Court.
Following complaints and after collecting information from different sources, the cell had compiled the report about smuggling of cattle-head and poultry products and shortage of meat, beef mutton and chicken that led to their non-availability and high prices. The report said smugglers had been allowed to play havoc with local population. It added that the situation was alarming and might result in revolt-like situation in the near future.
The bench directed that a joint checkpost be immediately established in 48 hours by the police, Frontier Constabulary, food and livestock departments and nominee of commissioner or the district coordination officer to ensure suspension of cattle and poultry supply to Afghanistan.
The chief justice converted the report into writ petition as matter of serious urgency and summoned all concerned officials including acting Additional Chief Secretary Fata Dr Jamal Nasir, District Coordination Officer Peshawar Jawed Marwat, Director General Livestock Dr Sher Mohammad, Director Food Mohammad Anwar, Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Tahir Ayub, Superintendent of Police (Cantonment) Shabbir Hussain and Superintendent of Police (Rural) Shafiullah Khan.
The bench directed that civil administration, police and chief secretary shall ensure that not a single cattle of any category were smuggled beyond the frontiers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Afghanistan through unfrequented and unauthorised routes.
The bench asked all district and sessions judges of adjoining districts of Frontier Region and Fata to depute magistrates at different intervals for surprise checking of joint taskforce and its activities and if any defect/default/omission is detected that shall be directly communicated through fax message to the registrar of chief justice so that quick action should be taken against the officials working in league with smugglers.
The officials concerned conceded in the court that smuggling at large scale was indeed taking place unabated to Afghanistan and cited many reasons for the high prices in Ramazan.
The chief justice also asked the officials, particularly Director General Livestock, as to why the standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid down in the minutes of a meeting headed by Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain had not been given full effect.
The bench directed chief secretary, home secretary, Inspector General of Police, additional chief secretary Fata, director general Livestock and dairy development, director livestock, commandant Frontier Constabulary, secretary food, director food, collector customs, all custom officers including deputy and assistant collectors to supervise exit points from Pakistan to Afghanistan.
The court also assigned this task to commissioners of Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Kohat aqnd Malakand, district coordination officers and deputy inspectors general of these areas, district food controllers in districts adjoining the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Frontier Regions.
The bench directed the officials concerned to give final effect to the SOPs laid down in the meeting within three days and submit compliance report to registrar of PHC. It warned that officers failing to comply with the court’s directives would be taken to task.
However, the bench said quota allotted for each tribal agency i.e. 60 cattle-heads for Khyber Agency and 50 for each of the other six tribal agencies per day was reasonable.The bench said any cattle and poultry products whenever taken through unfrequented routes shall be deemed to constitute smuggling and shall be forthwith forfeited and confiscated. The case was adjourned to August 2.