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Houbara hunting: permits issued to seven Dubai dignitaries

KARACHI: The federal government has issued at least seven special permits to the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and other members of the royal family and the ruling elite to hunt the internationally protected bird houbara bustard during the 2016-17 hunting season, it is learnt reliably.

According to sources, the permit holders include Dubai’s deputy ruler, crown prince, deputy chief of police, a high-ranking military official, members of the royal family, government officials and a businessman. They have been allocated hunting areas in three provinces — Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.

Resident of colder Central Asian regions, the houbara bustard avoiding the harsher weather conditions at home migrates southwards to spend its winters in relatively warm environment in the arid regions of Pakistan every year.

The sources said that Pakistan was a signatory to different international conventions on conservation of nature, which prohibit hunting of protected species. Besides, local wildlife protection laws also ban hunting of the houbara bustard and Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt this bird. But the government issues special permits to dignitaries from Arabian Gulf states to hunt the houbara bustard.

The permits signed by the foreign ministry’s deputy chief of protocol Naeem Iqbal Cheema have been sent to the permit holders through the embassy of their country in Islamabad. Mr Cheema has also sent copies of the permits to the wildlife conservator in the climate change ministry, to be forwarded to officials concerned, including chief secretaries, chiefs of Rangers and Frontier Constabulary etc, in the three provinces to facilitate the hunting.

Mr Cheema’s letter to the Islamabad-based diplomatic mission of the United Arab Emirates says: “The government of Pakistan has conveyed its recommendations to the authorities in the provinces concerned for allocation of following areas to the dignitaries of Dubai for hunting of houbara bustard for the season 2016 –17.”

According to the sources, the names of the permit holders and the areas allocated to them are: the UAE Vice President and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai has been allocated Muzaffargarh district in Punjab, Khuzdar, Lasbela and Nokundi in Balochistan’s Chagai district.

The code of conduct sent with the permits to the hunters informs them that they have been allowed to hunt 100 houbara bustards within 10 days during the hunting season that began on Nov 1 last year and will end on Jan uary31.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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