Lifting of ban on birds, animals trading demanded
Saturday, February 20, 2010
By our correspondent

Karachi

The Birds and Animals Traders Association has demanded that the government lift the ban on the export and import of animal species that are not on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The ban was imposed by the Federal Ministry of Commerce on the trade of birds and animals in the year 2005. It has not been lifted as yet and has irked the people dependant on this trade.

General Secretary of the association, Syed Airaj Ahmed told The News that they had sent several letters to the president, prime minister, commerce ministry, Ministry of Environment, Sindh government and the City District Government Karachi (CDGK), requesting them to lift the ban and restore their business activities.

“We have approached all the concerned government authorities, but the ban on the trade still exists and no positive response has been received,” said Ahmed.

In a recent letter to the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, the traders’ association pointed out that the import and export policies of the federal government do not particularly say anything about the species of the birds and animals mentioned in the list of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but yet the National Council for Conservation of Wildlife (NCCW) did not allow them to run their businesses. The letter asked as to why the NCCW imposing its own policies and denying the trade of those birds and animals that are not mentioned in CITES list

The letter read that the country was losing millions of dollars due to indifferent policies of the concerned authorities. Moreover, the traders, in the letter, claimed that the trade was banned without any valid reason. The ban was imposed due to fears of Avian Flu in the country, which were baseless. The traders also alleged that the ban, which has left hundreds of people without a job, was imposed owing to some foreign interests.

It is confusing for the importers and exporters whether to follow the policies of the ministry of commerce or those of the NCCW. The traders, in the letter, added that they did not know whether the NCCW was the superior authority or the Commerce Ministry.

The letter added that animal and bird export trade was a prosperous one in the country. Millions of dollars were earned in the export business which contributed to national exchequer through duties and taxes paid by the traders.

Meanwhile, a similar letter was sent by the association to city Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal to draw his attention towards the issue. The letter stated that the business had been running at the Empress Market since the existence of Pakistan yet no development work was done to improve the market. The poor traders gather at various places in the city, but the police and the staff of CDGK would hinder their activity. Therefore, the association demanded, they should be given permission from the concerned authorities to organize Sunday Bazaars in different parts of the city to run their business.

The traders also demanded the government to set up a sub office of the NCCW at Karachi. The traders argued that to facilitate the exporters and prompt issuance of CITES export permits, the NCCW should either have their Camp Office in Karachi or Sindh Wildlife Department be authorised to issue CITES Export Permits for Appendix II and Appendix III species.

The traders suggested that the government should allow the export of all non-CITES species without any condition from the NCCW. However, mandatory checking might be carried out by provincial wildlife department officials in order to check illegal trade, the traders said.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=225120