Pak Gives Arabs Permits To Hunt Protected Bird Houbara

Pakistan has granted permits to 14 Arab dignitaries, for hunting houbara bustard, an internationally protected bird species, in Sindh province.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry had forwarded “recommendations” to provincial governments for Falconry Season 2021-2022 (excluding protected areas) with a request to provinces to issue necessary permits in accordance with the wildlife law, Dawn newspaper reported citing sources.

“The procedure of granting permission changed after the controversial subject was debated in court. Now, the power of granting permission for hunting lies with respective provincial governments,” said a wildlife expert.

The Pakistani daily said that this year the federal government had sent a list of 14 Arab dignitaries including the prime minister of Qatar and the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for Falconry Season 2021-2022 to the Sindh government, which approved it during a meeting of provincial cabinet two weeks back.

Last year, the Pakistan government had issued special permits to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other members of the ruling family to hunt the internationally protected houbara bustards.

Dawn had reported that the hunters were allocated certain hunting areas in Balochistan and Punjab province.

Back in 2020, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF) in a statement, had called for an immediate ban on the birds’ hunting keeping in view its vulnerable IUCN Red List status and the threats the species faced in its entire range in general and in Pakistan in particular. (ANI)

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