At a time when bilateral relations between India and Pakistan have taken a major hit following the death of Sarabjit Singh,13 animals from Pakistan meant for Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal crossed over to India from Pakistan via the Attari border on Friday evening.
According to sources,the animals as per the invoice,12 of them were meant for Badal and one for Sukhbir were on their way to the Kapashera animal quarantine centre in New Delhi in special enclosures. Sources said after charging a duty of over Rs 3.50 lakh for the animals worth Rs 14.50 lakh,the Customs department at Attari handed over the animals to the quarantine officials.
The animals will be kept at the Kapashera centre for a month and subject to fulfilment of norms,will be sent to the Badals.
The animals included a Neeli Ravi buffalo,which was gifted to Sukhbir by the then Pakistan Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in November 2012 when the former had led a delegation to the neighbouring country and gifted Sharif a tractor.
The other 12 animals that crossed over to India after fulfilling the mandatory quarantine procedure in Pakistan belonged to the chief minister. They included three Sahniwal cows and one bull,three Neeli Ravi buffaloes and bull,three sheep (Balthi) and one ram (male sheep).
When contacted,Assistant Commissioner (Customs) at Attari,Amanjit Singh,said: There was a permission from the animal husbandry department to allow the animals to be taken to the quarantine centre at Kapashera. We have handed over the animals to quarantine officials after charging the customs duty.
Neeli Ravi buffalo reportedly has a milk yield of 35 to 40 litres per day and is found mainly in Lahore,Sheikhupura,Faisalabad,Sahiwal,Multan and Bahawal Nagar districts in Punjab Province.
A few years ago,Sukhbir and his father were gifted two pairs of dumba (a rare sheep found in Afghanistan) by his counterpart. However,all four have died.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines