The controversial culling of thousands of Australian sheep before Eidul Azha seems to have strained bilateral relations between Australia and Pakistan, Business Recorder has learnt. Responding to the demand of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has sought the enquiry report from Sindh government over the highly controversial matter of 21,000 Australian sheep.
The Australian government on November 6 formally asked Pakistan to investigate and explain the controversial culling of 21,000 Australian sheep in Karachi. Reliable sources told Business Recorderthat Prime Minister Ashraf, while responding to the demand of Prime Minister Gillard, had sought report prepared by the an enquiry committee constituted by Sindh Government.
The officials of Sindh government, about two weeks ago, received a letter from Prime Minister House/Secretariat for the said report. The report was later sent to the Islamabad through Chief Secretary Sindh”s office, sources said. Sources also said that the Sindh government on September 24, 2012, had constituted a Committee to inquire into the matter of “import of infected and diseased sheep at port Qasim Karachi”.
This Enquiry committee produced a 22-page report (A copy of which is available with Business Recorder), stating that “Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research may be suggested to initiate necessary proceedings against the officials found responsible for issuance of Provisional Release Order that too for the slaughter house/farm of the importer before actual quarantine/examination of animals and for not adopting the proper procedures during the import of live animals in Pakistan strictly under the Animals Quarantine Act 1979 and rules of 1980, which led to this embarrassing situation.”
The report found that Tariq Mahmood Butt, MD MIS PK Meat and Livestock Company had imported a disputed consignment of sheep (which was originally not meant for Pakistan) on the basis of a letter of policy issued from Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan, which he produced as NOC purportedly genuine.
He managed to offload the consignment on a Provisional Release Order issued by Animal Quarantine Department, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, as supplied by the Port Qasim Authority. The Port Qasim Authority allowed offloading of allegedly diseased sheep on the basis of Customs clearance and Provisional Release Order issued by the Animal Quarantine Department, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan.
The Quarantine Officer Karachi, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan issued Provisional Release Order bearing No 5-9/86-AQDP(794) dated 04-09-2012 shows that sheep were released to Government Animal Quarantine House located at National Highway Karachi for test / examination etc, whereas actually the sheep were shifted to the slaughter house of the importer on his request which was entertained by the Director Animal Quarantine Department Karachi.
The report recommended, among other things, that the Federal Animal Quarantine Department should develop quarantine facilities at Karachi sufficient to accommodate such large scale herds. The Animal Quarantine Department and the Livestock Department, Government of Sindh may in future ensure initial necessary inspections of the animals on the board / ship and may allow to off load only if found fit, it concluded.