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Tapping Balochistan’s livestock potential to boost economy

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Tapping Balochistan's livestock potential to boost economy

When many of the world nations are vying for ‘Halal Food,’promoting Balochistan’s livestock sector can prove to be a major contributor to our exports and earnings direly needed foreign exchange.

Having incredible potential, the livestock sector of Balochistan has emerged as one of the major pillars of the province’s economy by contributing more than 50 percent to its Agriculture GDP and 10 percent of the overall Provincial GDP.

Tapping this resource and its value addition through multiple incentives can provide better earning opportunities to local people and generate revenue to control our trade and current account deficit.

“Balochistan has incredible potential to become the largest entrepreneur of the livestock industry due to increasing demand of halal food in Muslim countries,” said Dr Afzal, a Livestock expert at Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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“I have suggested the provincial authorities to focus this sector for meat export to Muslim countries,” he said. “Promoting meat export at the government level will boost provincial economy and create employment opportunities in Balochistan,”

Since the livestock sector in the province had been facing challenges like insufficient water and fodder availability, inaccessible veterinary services, inadequate grazing pastures, and proper marketing, therefore Dr Afzal stressed a holistic approach to promote this sector.

“In my view, long-termed policies, genetic improvement, diversified and open marketing system, credit and insurance, sustainable rangelands productivity and proper vaccination drives were direly needed to enhance livestock productivity and export,” he said.

Livestock is one of the core assets and main source of livelihood for rural households in Balochistan with around 70 percent of its population directly or indirectly associated to this sector.

As per the projected livestock population, Balochistan maintains 5,660,707 cattle, 1,199,277 buffaloes, 16,436,976 sheep, 16,880,371 goats, 467,487 camels, 108,129 horses, 25, 964, mules, 657,791 asses and 8,467,330 poultry.

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As the official statistics suggest annual 28,000 tons beef and 204,000 tons of mutton production, this sector contributes around Rs. 20 billion to provincial economy with meat’s share at 40%, milk 35%, eggs 13%, skin, hides and wool sharing 10% besides two percent other items.

“As the Balochistan government acknowledges livestock sector potential and its contribution to socio-economic development of the province, therefore we have launched ‘Animal Health Information System,” said Dr Ghulam Rasool Taj Director General Animal Health and Production Extension.

Due to this system, he hoped the livestock sector, its actors and its value chains to step forward for transforming it into a modern and revenue-generating sector.

“This system would prove to be a stepping stone for circulating information and ensuring wellbeing for the entire livestock sector,” Ghulam Rasool said.

“I am confident that Information System would effectively educate the existing livestock keepers and attract more to opt for this business.”

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Despite ecological limitations and being arid and semi-arid province, the livestock contributes 55% of agriculture value added, 11.4% of national GDP and more than 47% in the economy of Balochistan.

Around 93% area of the province comprises rangelands, out of which 28% is considered fair to good for livestock production. Hence, barring some portions of upper and lower highlands in north-eastern part of the province having best ranges which support 76% of livestock, the southern plains with big land mass have the poorest ranges supporting only 24% livestock population.

Some of the land surface area does not even support the rearing of livestock round the year, thus necessitating seasonal migration of nomadic and semi-nomadic grazers to find fodder for their cattle mostly sheep and goats.

It is worth mentioning that first veterinary unit in Balochistan was established at Tehsil Duki in 1884 during the British regime. Then rapid Development started in 1958 after the introduction of the five-year plan for promoting poultry, sheep, goats and cattle farms. Disease diagnostic facility and animal health coverage was started at a mass scale and the number of livestock increased rapidly.

During 1982-85, 1000 Friesian Cows were imported from Denmark for increasing Milk Production in the area through ADB Loan. Later on, keeping in view the importance of this sector, “Balochistan Livestock Policy and Strategy 2020-30” was launched in October 2019.

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“The primary objective of agriculture policy in Balochistan is to raise incomes and employment for rural people, at the same time halting and reversing the rapid resource degradation taking place,” said Mohammad Farooq, Director Planning Animal Health and Production Extension.
“This policy has started bearing fruit. With the launch of ‘Animal Health Information System’ issues related to disease outbreaks are resolved besides the upgradation of dairies and poultry farms,” he informed.

The animal genetic resource also plays a pivotal role in the province’s economy as each breed has its own characteristics and socioeconomic importance in poverty reduction and food security.

Concerned authorities require to continuously focusing on farmers problems like delay in vaccination, marketing of their products and value addition, financing and insurance and introducing new breeds for them.

“We need a proactive approach of authorities during epidemics and seasonal diseases,” said the President of Balochistan Dairy farm Association Altaf Gujar. “Delay in medication sometimes puts industry’s growth at risk as happened during the recent outbreak of lumpy skin disease that killed thousands of animals.”

“If authorities fully concentrate, massive revenue can be generated from cattle farming,” he stated and suggested to incentivize this industry for enhancing produce and meeting future meat and milk needs.

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PTI to move IHC against acceptance of 43 resignations

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PTI to move IHC against acceptance of 43 resignations

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday decided to knock at the Islamabad High Court s (IHC) door to challenge the acceptance of 43 resignations tendered by the PTI members of National Assembly (MNAs).

Sources said that the party had drafted the petition which was expected to be filed today or on Monday. A letter written by Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi entailing the acceptance of resignations only after the physical appearance of MNAs in the assembly would also be attached to the plea, sources added.

Mr Ashraf had earlier accepted the resignations of 43 MNAs taking the tally to 123 including a resignation by the AML chief Sheikh Rashid. Later, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) denotified them.

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President imposes fine, orders Shifa hospital to refund Rs2.9 mln over patient’s death

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President imposes fine, orders Shifa hospital to refund Rs2.9 mln over patient's death

President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday directed the Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) to issue instructions to Shifa International Hospital Islamabad (SHIFA) to refund an amount of Rs2.9 million to the daughter of a patient who died due to the medical negligence, professional misconduct, and malpractice of the doctors of the hospital.

The president also upheld the imposition of fine of Rs900,000 on SHIFA as maladministration and medical negligence had been proven against the hospital, President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release on Saturday.

The president issued these directions while rejecting a representation filed by IHRA against the orders of the federal ombudsman in which the ombudsman had held that the complainant (deceased patient’s daughter) had been discriminated against as in a similar case in the past, IHRA had not only imposed a fine on SHIFA but had also issued the directions to the hospital to refund the amount in lieu of medical bills.

He ordered that the refund should be paid within a week to the complainant.

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While rejecting IHRA’s representation, the president observed that IHRA had investigated the complaints, found medical negligence and imposed fine of Rs900,000 upon SHIFA which had also been received by IHRA and thus medical negligence had been established upon the healthcare establishment.

He further said that IHRA did not direct the hospital to reimburse actual amount of medical bill incurred on the treatment of the complainant’s mother as per orders of the learned ombudsman whereas in another case namely Dr Iqtidar Mehmood Dara against Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad, IHRA had held that “The medical bill should be refunded to the complainant by SHIFA International Hospital”.

The president held that it was an established principle that similarly placed persons should be treated alike and equal treatment to all is the hallmark of our Constitution i.e. Article 4 and 25.

He said that the object and purpose of the law would be fulfilled only when the complainant was provided relief for any negligence by the hospital. “The Agency must have been more vigilant and watchful to fulfil its responsibilities”, he added.

The president further observed that the main purpose of the establishment of Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority was to provide a regulatory framework to ensure provision of quality health care services, by implementing quality standards by the healthcare sector, to residents of the Islamabad Capital Territory”.

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He noted that IHRA was responsible to “exercise any powers and perform any functions as may be necessary for carrying out the purposes of its Act on the instruction of the Federal Government”, and since maladministration and negligence had been established and it had not been assailed by SHIFA, therefore, the orders had been rightly passed, and the representation deserved to be rejected.

As per details, Mst Farrukh Naeem Tahir (the complainant) had alleged that her mother was diagnosed with COVID-19 who died due to the negligence of the doctors of SHIFA and she lodged a complaint before IHRA against the hospital and IHRA imposed a fine of Rs900,000/- on the hospital for committing negligence but did not ask the hospital to refund the medical bill amounting to Rs2,979,637 as per order of the ombudsman.

Thereafter, she filed a review application and requested to re-open the case and re-visit its earlier decision with the direction to IHRA to issue instructions to the hospital to refund the medical bill.

The ombudsman issued the orders in her favour, which were impugned by IHRA by filing a representation with the president.

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PPP seeks police action against Imran for accusing Zardari of ‘murder plot

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PPP seeks police action against Imran for accusing Zardari of 'murder plot

A request against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was submitted to register the case by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Hyderabad leader on Saturday, in Baldia Police Station regarding Imran Khan’s accusation of murder against the deposed premier Asif Ali Zardari.

The application was submitted by PPP leader and Information Secretary of Hyderabad Nadeem Jatoi of PS-66.

The application read as “Imran Khan, without solid evidence made serious accusations about Asif Zardari which affected his repute. The application will help start investigation about who pushed Mr Khan to make such statements.”

Earlier, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the allegations levelled by the PTI chief Imran Khan against Asif Ali Zardari had exposed his family to increased threats.

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Mr Khan had earlier alleged that Mr Asif was behind the “new plot” to assassinate him as he had links to a terrorist outfit.

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