A WARRANT for the arrest of the Pakistani importer of more than 20,000 Australian sheep has been issued by Karachi authorities as confusion surrounds the fate of the animals.
Infected Australian sheep to be culled | Photographer: (AFP: Asif Hassan)
The sheep were unloaded in Karachi earlier this month after Bahraini authorities rejected the animals because of scabby mouth.
After two weeks at sea, exporter Wellard was able to sell them to a Pakistani importer.
Despite the sheep being given the all-clear by quarantine, local authorities ordered their destruction after a second disease test carried out at a poultry centre found the animals to be sick and unfit for human consumption.
Pakistan industry and Australian officials both disagree with the disease finding - which was at odds with an earlier test result from Pakistan's national laboratory - saying the animals are healthy.
Speaking from Lahore, Syed Hasan Raza, secretary general of the All Pakistan Meat Exporters and Processors Association, told The Age the court had ruled that the freeze on the government-ordered cull would last seven days while further investigations were carried out.
The sheep remain in Pakistani feedlots after local importers won an injunction against a government order to cull the flock.
Mr Raza also said that the local government had ''made a request for the arrest'' of the importer who bought the sheep from Wellard.
A Pakistani news website is also reporting that ''a case has been lodged against the importer of the infected Australian sheep, Tariq Mehmood''.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said: ''It is more evidence that the entire live animal export system is broken.''
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