A court in Karachi granted bail to two men who had been arrested with more than 800 donkey and dog hides at a warehouse in Korangi Industrial Area a day earlier, media reported.
The police, acting on a complaint, had conducted the raid and arrested the duo, one of whom is an Afghan national. They had allegedly stocked more than 200 sacks filled with illegal animal hides.
The police had said that the hides were smuggled from Afghanistan and also collected from different areas of Pakistan with the intent of dispatching them to China.
One of the suspects had told the police that the animals were slaughtered in different areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, which is where their meat was also sold off.
The police, however, had suspected that the meat may also have been sold to hotels in Karachi, including those in posh areas.
The suspect had maintained his innocence, claiming they were not aware that the hides were of haram (prohibited in Islam) animals.
“I do not know where these hides are from and who they belong to,” the suspect had said. “I have been working at this warehouse for 32 years; we only receive Rs5 per hide.
“We got these hides just last night and were told to move them to a different warehouse. We moved them and that’s when the raid took place.”
“We were told that these hides are of halal animals. If I had known that they are not then I’d have never done this work,” he added.
But the police only mentioned clauses 420, 506 and 34 to the case’s first information report, which was filed on the complaint of a Gujranwala-based businessman, who claims that the accused owe him money.
The absence of clauses pertaining to the trading of illegal animal pelts allowed the accused to secure their release on bail by paying Rs20,000 in surety bonds in court.
The police told media that it has written a letter to Pakistan Customs to take up the matter and pursue the case from the angle of smuggling illegal pelts into the country.
However, it added, that Customs officials have not visited the scene despite more than 24 hours having passed by.
Demand for donkey hides
It is pertinent to mention that in April 2017 Karachi police had recovered more than 4,700 donkey hides worth an estimated Rs118 million.
Donkey hides have a massive demand in China, where they are used to make traditional Chinese medicines.