Balochistan Govt seeks Hunting Permission for Houbara Bustard

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Wednesday, 12 August 2015 12:05

ISLAMABAD: Balochistan government has requested the apex court to legalise what it called “sustainable hunting” of the Houbara bustard under a strict code of conduct.

Additional Advocate General Balochistan submitted reply in the Supreme Court on Monday, in a matter related to the alleged illegal hunting permits issued to royal visitors from the Gulf countries for hunting the bird.

In his statement the advocate argued that since the Houbara Bustard is a migratory bird, which comes to Pakistan during the winter and returns back in early summer, ‘sustainable hunting’ of the bird should be allowed under strict codes of conduct and should be limited to only those Arab dignitaries who hold permission.

It further said that the hunting should be conducted under strict supervision of the provincial governments (Forest and Wildlife Department) and not through local Pakistani notables posing as representatives of the Arab dignitaries.

The bench is hearing a petition filed by an individual Aamir Zahoorul Haq against the illegal hunting permits issued to royal visitors from Gulf countries for hunting the Houbara bustard.

The petitioner has requested the bench to cancel all the hunting licences, arguing that the foreign office should restrain from issuing such permits to foreigners.

The petitioner claimed that the government had issued the permits despite a ban on hunting of the Houbara bustard. The petitioner also requested the top court to take strict action against the officials who issued the licences.

The bench, during the previous hearing, had sought comprehensive reports from all provincial governments regarding the illegal issuance of permits to foreign visitors.

In compliance of the court’s last order, only the Balochistan government submitted a reply on Tuesday wherein it requested that the petition be dismissed, it being devoid of any merit.

Furthermore, it stated that the provincial government has allowed hunting in view of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC)’s May 2014 decision, adding that the provincial government has allowed hunting of 100 birds from November last year to February this year charging Rs10 million in return.

The Balochistan government rejected the petitioner’s claim that 2,200 birds were killed during the last season.

The bench questioned the advocate under which law had the federal government allowed the hunting of Houbara Bustrad. Justice Dost Muhammad Khan lashed out at the advocate asking if the provincial government had rights to authorise illegal activities under the 18th Amendment.

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