Lahore -14 October 2016
On the Lahore Airport due to fault in the Pakistan Online System 400 chicks of ostriches faced a terrible time packed in the boxes continuously for 60 hours. Almost more than a dozen died of the suffocation and rest of them are in critical condition.
Mr Tahir Lahtif owner of a private company is in the business of ostriches and he is doing business in Karachi importing chick ostriches from South Africa. Now he has established a farm in Lahore also and imported the chick ostriches in Lahore Airport.When he reached the Lahore Airport for the payment to customs authorities he was told that online system of the department was out of order.
Mr Tahir Latif asked the customs authorities to charge the customs duty on the basis of previously paid duty and do settlement after the system becomes functional but they customs authorities refused him to extend help.
In the evening online system resumed but the officer concerned was not present. More than a dozen chick ostriches died in the packing while others are not in healthy condition.
Importer Tahir Latif said that despite his offer to pay advance and extra duty custom people did not pay any attention to his livestock which is not a normal human behaviour.
In January 2014 in a provincial cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif declared the status of livestock to ostrich farming.
This is not the first time that such incident has happened. The ruthless custom authorities are used to such acts. In 2010 the same thing happened at Karachi airport.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The staff of Pakistan Ostrich Company, an importer of ostrich chicks from Australia and other countries, held a protest demonstration at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday. The protesters were carrying the bodies of the 37 ostrich chicks that died at the Karachi airport, allegedly due to the negligence of Pakistan Customs officials.
A consignment of 120 day-old ostrich chicks imported from Australia by the said company was held by the customs for over 40 hours on Friday night due to a customs duty dispute. This resulted in the death of 37 chicks due to hunger and lack of movement.
An ostrich chick is a highly fragile bird and needs immediate care in early days of life including the frequent supply of food, water and even a walk otherwise its digestive system develops fatal problems, causing immediate death of the bird.
The protesters termed the death of ostrich chicks a conspiracy against livestock promoting activities in Pakistan. They demanded of the government to take notice of the death of innocent birds due to customs officials’ negligence and formulate a clear policy regarding the import of birds like ostriches as well as their immediate release from the airport.
CEO of Pakistan Ostrich Company, Tahir Latif told The News that on Friday night the consignment arrived from Australia and was held by the customs staff at the Jinnah International Airport for over 40 hours as they were demanding import duty from the company’s staff at a very high rate.
“Ostrich chicks are normally purchased for 50 to 70 US dollars from abroad and 11 percent duty is paid to the government by the importer. This time, the customs officials claimed that the ostrich chicks’ price was 371 US dollars and duty should be paid according to that price,” he revealed.
Latiff maintained that his staff had gone to the airport to receive the consignment and were willing to pay the duty as per the original price of the consignment but the customs’ officials demanded a sum that was higher than the actual value and could not be arranged in the night.
“It was Friday night when this happened and there was no senior customs official present at the airport to resolve the issue. The ostrich chicks were packed in boxes and remained at the airport throughout the night and on Saturday. The consignment was only released when the amount demanded by the customs officials was paid to them,” he claimed.
He further said that all over the world, livestock imported from abroad is cleared immediately as it cannot be kept for an indefinite period at the airports and ports and any issues related to the customs duty are settled later on.
“Even now, the dispute between us and the customs’ officials over the import duty persists and it would be settled in coming few days. But unfortunately, the bureaucratic hurdles resulted in the death of 37 ostrich chicks who starved to death,” he claimed.
“Ironically, ostriches are still considered as wildlife species in Pakistan while it is given the status of livestock all over the world due to its immense potential of meeting meet requirements as well as other benefits,” Latiff said.
On the occasion, he demanded of the government to immediately declare ostrich a form of livestock instead of treating the birds as wildlife. He also asked for the removal of import duties on ostriches and facilitation of ostrich farming by providing loans to farmers.