Food ministry officials caught clearing 117 metric tons of infested chickpeas

Three DPP officials, including one Director of Administration & Quarantine, have been arrested

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has apprehended three key officials of the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), an attached Department of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), for their involvement in clearing highly infested food shipments with expired, invalid, and forged documents from Karachi port. This action violates plant quarantine regulations and poses life risks to public health.

Among those arrested is Dr. Muhammad Qasim Khan Kakar, Director of Administration & Quarantine, tasked with enforcing phytosanitary regulations on importable and exportable agricultural commodities at ports, land terminals, and airports. Other individuals detained include entomologists Mr. Waleed Mukhtar and Mr. Shahzad Salman from the DPP.

As per details they stand accused of contravening Rule 45(1), 45(6), & 46(4) of the Pakistan Plant Quarantine Rules (PPQR) 2019 and sections 420, 468 & 471 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) by issuing a “Biosecurity Clearance and Plant Protection Release Order” on January 13, 2024, entertaining incomplete and incorrect applications which had expired and forged phytosanitary documents. 

This was done without determining the poison level (Aflatoxin) in the expired food consignment. Due to unhygienic and muggy weather at the port, continued fungi activity was observed in the chickpea shipment. According to the FIR filed by the FIA Corporate Crime Circle Karachi, The shipment was more than a year old and arrived in Pakistan on 8th October, 2022 from Australia. 

Zaamin Enterprises (NTN-7247322-0), located at the New Challi Trade Centre Building, Shahrah-e-Liaquat Karachi, imported a consignment of 117 metric tons of chickpeas in five containers from Australia through a fabricated bill of lading(B/L). It is significant to point out that the B/L was issued on 8th September 2022 but Zaamin Enterprises misrepresented the date of B/L as 8th September 2023 in the General Declaration (GD) filed with the Customs.

From October 2022 till January 2024, the consignment was lying at Karachi port in open sun and under poor storage conditions without clearance for unknown reasons and had already expired in February 2023 after the expiry of import permit and phytosanitary certificate.

According to further details, after lying at the port for so long, on 13 January 2024, Mr. Waleed Mukhtar and Mr. Shahzad Salman, gave biosecurity clearance and plant protection release order to the expired food consignment of Zaamin Enterprises. This clearance was given against import and phytosanitary counterfeit documents without proper inspection protocols for the detection of invasive biosecurity and foodborne risks, allegedly benefitting Zaamin Enterprises at the expense of the country’s biosecurity, natural resources, domestic agriculture, and public health.

The inspection of the consignment was not even mandatory because it had an expired and invalid import permit and phytosanitary certificate. However, Mr. Waleed Mukhtar, the entomologist, entertained the application of expired food shipment and conducted inspection in sheer violation of enforced rules. 

According to the law, the shipment was required to be either destroyed or re-shipped from Pakistan in accordance with Rule 46(4) of PPQR by rejecting the request of biosecurity clearance. Mr. Shahzad Salman, an entomologist, also signed and issued the biosecurity clearance order and Zaamin Enterprises. It was later revealed that Waleed Mukhtar did not even draw a sample from the expired food shipment as given in Rule 45(6) of PPQR for confirmation of poisoning (aflatoxin) level in the commodity whether it was safe for human consumption or not, which prima facie revealed that inspection for biosecurity clearance and plant protection release order is either collusive or criminally negligent.

The illegal biosecurity clearance of the above consignment was done in connivance with the officers/officials of DPP, to allegedly launder money on the part of Zaamin Enterprises. The importer had already sent contract payment to the exporter in 2022. However, for clearing the consignment, the import got issued a fresh Electronic Import Form (EIF) from United Bank Limited (UBL). 

The contract numbers on the EIF Form and the Commercial Invoice do not match. Furthermore, the illegal sale of infested/unfit for human consumption consignment of chickpeas will also in turn generate proceeds of crime.

It is pertinent to highlight that both the entomologists were earlier transferred out of the Quarantine Division of DPP and posted in the Locust Division by the Plant Protection Adviser and Director General of DPP on charges of corruption, and disciplinary proceedings were pending against them.

Dr. Muhammad Qasim Khan Kakar, having assumed additional charge against the post of Director Quarantine in addition to his own duties as Director of Administration, got Waleed Mukhtar and Shahzad Salman posted back in Quarantine Division, specifically at Plant Quarantine Office Seaport, Karachi.

It is also significant to point out that the appointment of Dr. Muhammad Qasim Khan Kakar was also made on deputation from Balochistan Agriculture Research Institute, Quetta, by Capt. Retd. Muhammad Mehmood, the Ex-Additional Secretary Incharge of the food ministry.  It is alleged that this appointment was also made on a political basis in violation of departmental rules, because his qualification and experience do not coequal with the qualification and experience postulated in the notified departmental rules. 

The Honourable High Court of Sindh had already asked the department to replace by appointing a regular Director of Administration within three months.

The FIR, filed under sections 420, 406, 409, 468, 471, 109, 34 PPC R/w 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, names the implicated DPP officials and Muhammad Anis, the proprietor of Zaamin Enterprises. Investigations are ongoing to probe the involvement of other DPP officials: Mr. Allah Yar transferred to Pasni but seen in Karachi office facilitating fruit and vegetable importers and exporters on behalf of Qasim Kakar, Muhammad Hanif, Incharge Karachi airport apart from this Mr. Samad, Mr. Mansoor Karim Baloch wnd Rashid Siraj, who were earlier suspended were also named in the FIR.

Inspector Malik Junaid Hassan of FIA CCC Karachi affirmed that, “The investigation will proceed diligently to uncover any further complicity in this illegal clearance.”

The FIR has been referred to the Special Court Central II Karachi for legal proceedings.

Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Allah kare ke inko saza zaror mile kese logon ki sehat ke Sath khelte hain

    ye insan kehlane k laiq NAHI intni big post par Haram khoro ka hona Bhi sharam nak hai


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