PML-N Lawmaker unwilling to forfeit Ibex to Authorities

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Monday, 07 September 2015 17:54

GILGIT: Authorities may have laid siege to his house, but lawmaker Mir Ghazanfar is not willing to budge from his stance. They might have to ultimately tear down the walls to rescue this terrified kid. 

A baby ibex, also called a kid, had reportedly been captured from Chupurson Valley in Gojal by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legislator during the last week of August, an official tells a local newspaper requesting anonymity.

When wildlife authorities caught wind of the capture, they reached Ghazanfar’s residence and demanded he return the kid.

“A divisional forest officer is heading a team of wildlife officials who have surrounded his house and we can only hope he abides by the law,” he adds.

However, Ghazanfar is seemingly holding onto the kid for dear life as he may have special plans for it. The official claims the G-B lawmaker wants to hand over the baby ibex to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The PM is expected to visit Hunza later this month to inaugurate Attabad Tunnel on Karakoram Highway. Ghazanfar also happens to be in the running for the governorship of G-B.

“The lawmaker isn’t willing to handover the kid to the authorities,” the official says.

The G-B wildlife department has also filed a complaint at a police station in Hunza against the illegal possession. However, no case has been formally registered against the lawmaker whose wife, Rani Atiqa, is also a lawmaker in the G-B Legislative Assembly on a
women’s seat.

While poaching and illegal hunting is prohibited under the law, the G-B government has introduced trophy hunting to encourage the conservation of threatened species.

Under the programme, hunting permits are sold to interested hunters and 80% of the total amount is paid to the communities concerned after a successful hunt.

The remaining 20% is spent on projects to preserve forests and biodiversity. For trophy hunting season 2014-15, the hunting fee for ibex was fixed at $3,200 per animal.

Refusing to divulge any further details, Secretary Wildlife Sajjad Haider does confirm that Ghazanfar is illegally holding a baby ibex. “We are in negotiations with the lawmaker and let’s hope he releases it,” Haider adds.

Atiqa feels there is no room for such stories in the media.

“Don’t they have anything good to report on?” she tells a local newspaper over the telephone. “Let me tell you we are the custodians of wildlife and that’s it,” she snaps before disconnecting the phone.

Ghazanfar is the progeny of the former ruler of Hunza when it was a princely state before independence.

G-B is often referred to as a ‘living museum’ as it is home to a variety of animals. These include the Marco Polo sheep, ibex, markhor, urial, blue sheep, lynx, snow leopard, brown and black bears, wolf, fox, marmote, chakor, ram chakor. It also serves as a habitat to the rare Tibetan wild ass, also known as the kiang.

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