KARACHI: After reports of donkey meat being sold in Lahore, the police in Karachi claimed on Wednesday to have recovered over 4,000 hides of the herbivores during a raid on a shop in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 12.
As many as 4,736 donkey hides were recovered from the shop while seven people were also arrested. The hides, according to the police, were to be exported to China.
Donkey meat may be cheap but its hides are valued in the international market, especially China, where it has been used for medicinal purpose. While the sale of donkey meat has been reported in various cities of the country, Lahore in Punjab has been a hub of selling donkey meat in the past few years.
The gang members who have been arrested include a married couple and a Chinese national. Police say the 10-member gang has been involved in the business for over six months and has already sent multiple consignments to China.
“We used to buy ailing donkeys from across the country initially for their hides,” police quoted a suspect as saying. “But when we saw that its meat also had a demand in the market, we started getting profit from it.”
The Sharae Faisal police said they raided a shop at Abbas Residency in Block 12 of Gulistan-e-Jauhar and recovered a huge cache of hides. “We have arrested a Chinese national and six Pakistanis, including a couple,” said SHO Afridi. “The gang used to bring the hides from Lahore via train.”
The arrested suspects were identified as Tu Zhong Xiao, a Chinese national, Afshan Bibi and her husband, Ahtisham Ahmed, Daniyal Khan, Faisal Ibrahim and a driver, Jumman, and a loader, Zeeshan, while the absconders included Muzaffar Abidi, Farooq Memon and Rafi.
“We have recovered a total 592 bags and each bag contains eight hides,” explained SHO Afridi. “Each skin is worth Rs25,000 while the worth of all the hides in the international market is Rs0.1 billion. We are sure that more of such groups would be involved in this illegal business across the country.”
According to Afridi, donkey hides are used to make gelatin in China for its use in traditional Chinese medicine, called Ejiao. “The medicine is beneficial in curing blood-related diseases, therefore, its demand had soared up,” he said.
The police said the arrested suspects would be handed over to Pakistan Customs for further investigations and legal action. Meanwhile, the police are also looking for their absconding associates.