SHC directs preventing smuggling of endangered species

KARACHI: While allowing a petition calling for curb on smuggling of endangered black-spotted turtles and tortoises, the Sindh High Court directed federal as well as provincial authorities to prevent smuggling of endangered species.

A division bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, asked the authorities to enforce the relevant laws for safety and protection of the wildlife.

The petition was filed by non-government organisations, including World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWW-Pakistan), Pakistan Animal Welfare Society and others against smuggling of endangered species.

Advocate Faisal Siddiqui representing the petitioners submitted smuggling of turtles and tortoises particularly black spotted turtles, declared vulnerable and endangered species had escalated in the past two years.

Recently 218 fresh water black spotted turtles, which were being smuggled to Thailand were confiscated from Karachi Airport. The Sindh wildlife department registered a case against accused under the Sindh Wild Life Ordinance 1972 and produced him in Court of Malir’s judicial magistrate.

However, Court later released the alleged smuggler on bail. He argued Custom authorities had confiscated travelling document of the alleged smuggler under Custom laws but it did not institute proceeding against him which was required under the Custom Act 1969

The petitioners pleaded to the court to take action against wildlife smugglers under the Customs Act 1969. The court was further prayed to direct the federal and provincial government to take effective measures to prevent smuggling of endangered wildlife.

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