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Houbara hunting permits: Summary approved by Punjab cabinet presented in court

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday presented before the Lahore High Court a summary approved by the provincial cabinet regarding issuance of permits to foreign dignitaries, including Qatari royals, for Houbara Bustard hunting.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing a petition against the issuance of hunting permits when Assistant Advocate General Anwaar Hussain submitted the summary and said the hunting of Houbara Bustard was allowed lawfully.

He said three permits were issued for specific hunting areas in southern Punjab and each permit holder was allowed to hunt 100 birds. However, the law officer said, 147 birds had been hunted so far.

Petitioner’s counsel Kaleem Ilyas alleged that the hunting permits were issued prior to the cabinet approval and the cabinet’s decision could not be implemented retrospectively. The law officer said a thorough review of the relevant law delayed approval by the cabinet.

Wildlife department’s representative told the court that the hunting of Houbara Bustard would not have any effect on the conservation of the protected bird.

Chief Justice Shah adjourned further hearing till Feb 10 and sought a report from Birdlife International on the matter.

The petitioner had contended that the permission of hunting Houbara Bustard amounted to killing them at all. He said the government violated several international laws by awarding the hunting permits to Qatari princes.

Moreover, he said, the government issued the permits without the approval of cabinet, a mandatory act under the law.

courtesy : dawn news

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