KARACHI: The investigations into the export of turtle organs is progressing fast unfolding numerous aspects hinting at involvement of some officials into this heinous crime, while two accused have been given into jail custody.
According to details of the case one Ali Ahmed owner of M/s Hongda Trading Company and another person were arrested after a consignment destined to Canada via Hong Kong was found to contain turtle organs including dry shells, plastrons and fringes of fresh water turtles of Indus river system.
It was known that the accused had given contracts to fishermen to provide them with fresh water turtles. Recently, Inspector Wildlife Department Saleem Jakhro has arrested two persons near Thatta namely Allah Dino and Majeed Jogi and recovered kilos of turtle meat from their possession. But, when Customs authorities contacted the said officer as part of their investigations, it was transpired that Inspector Wildlife had released those two persons allegedly against a bribe.
Sources said that this scam was being run in a very organized manner and it is suspected that a very senior Customs officer was patronizing this ordeal.
It was known that the turtle organs were mixed with the seafood consignments and when fisheries department inspector visited for inspection, he was shown the seafood. It was known that the accused used to pack these live turtles into air tight bags to suffocate them and afterwards these turtles were peeled and their organs were exported.
It may be mentioned here that two such consignments were exported in September 2014, while this third consignment could also have been cleared, if Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had not put a ‘hold’ on this consignment.
While ANF was de-stuffing the consignment, turtle shells and organs were found, hence the case was established.
Turtle species are protected and their poaching, catching, trapping, netting, using as part or whole or derivatives, trading, transporting and export is strictly prohibited as per provisions of Sindh Wild life Protection Ordinance 1972 and Sindh Turtle and Tortoises Protection, conservation Rules, 2014 and Export Policy Order, 2013.
M/s Hongda Trading Company obtained its user ID from MCC Appraisement East in July 2014; sources said that the issuance of ID to the said company was issued in a suspicious manner and it is suspected the rules were not followed in this regard.
Sources said that Manzoor Memon assumed the office of MCC Exports in July 2014 and he was then transferred to MCC Appraisement East in February 2015. Soon after his transfer from MCC Exports, the consignment containing turtle organs was detected.