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Punjab quietly allows houbara bustard hunting

LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet has allowed hunting of the houbara bustard mainly by Arab rulers for a period of two months amid estimation by the wildlife department that the migratory birds are not endangered.

The approval was quietly given during a cabinet meeting held on Friday to mainly approve a new district administration system and financial award for local councils in the province.

The cabinet allowed the hunting by approving shifting of the bird from the list of non-hunting to the hunting list of the Punjab Wildlife (Protec­tion, Preservation, Conservation and Management) (Amendment) Act, 2007, said Wildlife Director General Khalid Ayaz Khan on Saturday.
Wildlife department says migratory birds are not endangered

The list will automatically be chan­ged after the hunting season is over.

He said the wildlife department’s secretary had been doing this under the law since 1974 when hunting by Arabs was first allowed. The matter was placed before the cabinet under a Supreme Court ruling that the actual government (decision-making authority) was the cabinet and not the chief minister or the secretary of a department.

According to Mr Khan, those having permits will be able to hunt the houbara bustard with falcons. There was no permission to hunt the birds with firearms or net them. The permission is allowed every year and the method is prescribed to limit the hunting.

The wildlife department has already allowed the hunting from Dec 1 to Jan 31. There are seven special permit holders — three Qatari royals, three UAE rulers and a Saudi minister. Each permit carries a daily allowance of 10 houbara bustards.

The Qatari royals are allowed hunting in Khushab, Bhakkar and Jhang, those from the UAE in Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur. Chakwal was reportedly allotted to the Saudi interior minister, Mr Khan said, adding that the ‘guests’ worked for the betterment of local communities during their stay here. They had so far completed 251 welfare projects and recently inaugurated a 50-bed hospital, he said.

courtesy :dawn news

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