After a heated argument between the Minister of National Food Security and a representative of soybean importers, the meeting of the National Assembly’s standing committee on food security ended in a debacle.
According to Minister of Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema Pakistan did not permit the import of genetically modified soybeans. He said that nine boats carrying GMO soybeans were stopped due to unlawful cargo.
Cheema also said that customs Intel had stopped ships as they could not participate in any unlawful activity. He also said that a GMO soybean was a cause of cancer so its import has not been approved.
He also said that only non-GMO soybeans imports were permitted and in order to clear soybeans boats the US ambassador had also phoned him demanding one-time clearance for soybeans boats. Cheema questioned how could Pakistan permit something that the US has outlawed.
He said that the committee’s chairman had changed to support soybean importers. Rao Ajmal chairman of the standing committee and Tariq Bashir Cheema argued angrily about the remark. “If Mr. Cheema doesn’t retract his remarks I’m going to call an end to the committee meeting,” Ajmal said.
Ajmal maintained that he did not support anyone as the poultry sector had almost completely collapsed. He further said that out of his 12 poultry farms 10 have been shut down.
The federal minister demanded that the soybeans importers’ representative should be removed from the committee meeting. The importer’s representative reacted to the minister that he himself should leave the session. Following a verbal altercation between an importers representative and a federal minister, the standing committee session was adjourned.