Pakistan cracks down on cattle smuggling to Afghanistan ahead of Eid

Heavy vehicles head toward Afghanistan via Ghulam Khan border in North Waziristan tribal district. Following a ban slashed by the Peshawar High Court on sacrificial animals’ export to Afghanistan, authorities in tribal areas intensified efforts to control illegal smuggling of cattle ahead of Eid-ul-Adha to avoid artificial inflation in local market (Jan 31, 2019). File photo AN
Updated 17 July 2019
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Pakistan cracks down on cattle smuggling to Afghanistan ahead of Eid

  • Peshawar High Court orders federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to check illegal trafficking of animals from tribal areas
  • Officials say more personnel deputed at border crossings, police patrols increased, all vehicles being searched

PESHAWAR: Pakistan is taking measures to check cattle trafficking to Afghanistan from its northwestern tribal areas ahead of Eid-al-Adha next month, officials said, following an order by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to end the menace which has seen a sharp surge in the prices of animals in local markets in previous years. 
Eid Al-Adha, which will fall on August 12 in Pakistan this year, commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah, before Allah replaced the son with a ram to be sacrificed instead. 
On Eid, thus, it is a tradition for those who can afford it to sacrifice domestic animals as a symbol of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son. The result is a booming pre-holiday trade in goats, cows and sheep. In Pakistan alone, more than 10 million animals, worth over $3 billion, are slaughtered during the two days of Eid Al-Adha, according to the Pakistan Tanners’ Association.




Heavy vehicles are being checked at Ghulam Khan border in North Waziristan tribal district. Following a ban slashed by the Peshawar High Court on sacrificial animals’ export to Afghanistan, authorities in tribal areas intensified efforts to control illegal smuggling of cattle ahead of Eid-ul-Adha to avoid artificial inflation in local market (Jan 31, 2019). File photo AN

“This year we have put certain measures in place to control the export of animals to Afghanistan ahead of Eid Al-Adha,” Muhammad Hussain, a senior police officer in Khyber district, told Arab News.
Hussain and other local administration officials said customs and the federal investigation agency officers were now stationed at main border crossings to check against smuggling. 
“We have circulated strict directives among the departments concerned and the police throughout the entire tribal areas to keep an eye on smuggling and illegal transportation of animals to Afghanistan,” Muhammad Imran, an assistant commissioner in Khyber district, said. “Smuggling activities have now been totally curtailed at main border points because we have put in place two or three layers of checking, and all vehicles are also being searched. In addition, police have increased patrolling on main routes, which has helped counter illegal activities and businesses in the known border areas.”
Last week, a two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court had ordered the government to crackdown on the illegal smuggling of animals to Afghanistan, ruling on a petition that said the trend was causing artificial inflation and a shortage of animals in the domestic market. The bench ordered both the federal and provincial governments to apprise the court of the measures it would take to limit the illegal export of animals.
Aftab Shinwari, a Pakistani businessman who frequents the Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham border, said a month ago at least 10 to 15 trucks loaded with animals could be seen entering Afghanistan every week. 
“This [animals smuggling] cannot be seen now on the Torkham border, most likely because of the court verdict,” he said. 
Arafat Khan, a Pakistani custom clearance agent who works along the Torkham border, said though illegal trafficking through known points such as Torkham, Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan and Angoor Adda in South Waziristan tribal districts had reduced significantly, hundreds of buffaloes and cows were still being smuggled to the neighboring country through unknown routes.


Islamabad administration invites beggars, trans people to join campaign to ban plastic

Updated 23 August 2019
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Islamabad administration invites beggars, trans people to join campaign to ban plastic

  • Deputy commissioner proposes that marginalized groups sell paper and fabric bags instead of begging on the streets
  • Local government banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of plastic carrier bags last week

ISLAMABAD: The deputy commissioner of Pakistan’s federal capital has invited beggars and transgender persons to sell paper and fabric bags instead of seeking alms around the city, thus helping the Ministry of Climate Change implement its decision to ban plastic bags.
The Islamabad local government banned the manufacture, sale, and distribution of plastic carrier bags last week, on the country’s independence day, as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Clean, Green Pakistan” campaign.
The new ban follows a three-month-long campaign to raise awareness about the environmental hazards of plastic bags, which can kill wildlife, block drainage systems, collect in waterways and cause other environmental and health problems.
“We have invited transgender people and beggars to sell paper bags – or any type of biodegradable shopping bags – in the city,” Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, Islamabad’s deputy commissioner, told Arab News on Friday. “We will neither charge them rental or license fee nor impose a fine on them. They can also set up makeshift stalls after informing us at a location of their choice.”
Shafqaat is spearheading the awareness campaign against plastic bags in Islamabad and said involving beggars and transgender persons in the administration’s campaign against plastic would also help them earn a decent living.
“Our local administration’s new policy has widely been welcomed by the public,” the official said. “This is because our aim is also to help these marginalized segments and make them contribute toward a clean and green country.”
Pakistan is on its way to becoming the 128th country in the world that will end the use of non-biodegradable material made from various types of polymers that are harmful to the environment. It is ranked number seven on the index of climate change.
In an interview to Arab News just days before the ban came into effect, State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said: “We want Pakistan to be plastic-free because it is a burden on our environment.”
She also added that Pakistan wanted to demonstrate to the world that it was “contributing to green initiatives.”