KARACHI: Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) of Customs Preventive Karachi successfully conducted two starch operations in posh area of Defense Housing Authority (DHA), which resulted in recovery of a large number of exotic birds belonging to endangered species under International Convention on Illegal Trade on Endangered Species (CITES).
Information was received through Collector Saquif Saeed to Assistant Collector Shafiullah to the effect that unscrupulous persons involved in illegal trade of wildlife have hidden smuggled birds in residential premises for their subsequent illegitimate export to foreign countries.
In view of the significance of the said information, Superintendent Iftikhar Hasan mounted clandestine surveillance, which confirmed the information.
Subsequently, Customs team headed by Assistant Collector Shafiullah and Superintendent Iftikhar Hasan reached the premises in Defense Housing Authority (DHA).
However, the search was conducted which resulted in historic recovery of 75 Falcons and Houbara Bustards.
The owners/smugglers of the birds attacked the Customs staff, opened fire to create a law and order situation and take back the seized birds. It may be mentioned here that it is the signature technique of smugglers that they create law and order situation to avoid raids and seizure of the smuggled goods.
The value of these birds in international market is over Rs. 200 million. It was known that several birds had already been moved ahead.
FIR in this regard has been lodged and further investigation is under way.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan is signatory to various international conventions regarding protection of wildlife. The seized birds are protected under local law and under International Convention on Illegal Trade on Endangered Species (CITES).
Pakistan Customs has planned to release these birds to their natural habitat after completion of due legal formalities. The civil society will also be invited to participate in this rehabilitation exercise.