GILGIT - The trade volume under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is growing day-by-day in Gilgit-Baltistan while the residents of this strategic region are most likely affected by multiple diseases due to unchecked supply of food.

According to an official, posted at Pak-China Border, “The situation is precarious as there is no animal quarantine department at the border in Pakistan side to check the imported food items.”

Due to the absence of the relevant department, the imported food items go unchecked and cause multiple diseases in the area people.

The official said although the Animal Quarantine Department is established in Gilgit but without any staff member. The rented office of the department in Gilgit often remained closed for work.   A social activist in Gilgit told The Nation that the office had turned into a ghost office as there is no staffer available, adding that while a huge amount was being paid in terms of rent and other arrangements.

According to the details, an Animal Quarantine office was established at Khunjreb Pass in 2016 under the project titled “Up-Gradation & Establishment of Animal Quarantine Stations in Pakistan”.  However, it remained dysfunctional till a consignment of green turtles was seized in 2012 while exporting to China.

In the following days, a research officer was also appointed who started quarantine related activities. But after December 31st, 2016, the quarantine office had been closed and paving a way for smugglers to carrying out their illegal trafficking of animals and animal products in the area.

Jamal Khan, a local trader said, “There is no check and balance on imported leather and food items.”

He said, “The government must take notice in this regard to prevent disease in the area.