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Pakistan issues special permits to Qatari Emir, other royal members to hunt endangered bird species

A healthy Houbara bustard spotted in the desert region of Rajasthan.

A healthy Houbara bustard spotted in the desert region of Rajasthan.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The migratory bird is not only protected under various international nature conservation treaties, its hunting is also banned under local wildlife protection laws.

Pakistan has issued special permits to Emir of Qatar and nine other members of the royal family to hunt endangered bird species houbara bustards, amidst growing criticism in the country against the move, according to a media report on Tuesday.

The allotted hunting areas are spread over Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab provinces. The hunters can hunt 100 houbara bustards in a 10-day safari during the three-month hunting season between November 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020. The permit is person-specific, the Dawn News reported.

Quoting sources, the report said the permits have been issued for the 2019-20 hunting season by the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Chief of Protocol, Mohammad Adeel Pervaiz. The permit holders are Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, his uncle, brother and seven other royal dignitaries of the oil-rich Gulf nation.

The permits are issued every year to members of the royal families of Gulf countries, despite growing criticism in Pakistan against the move, it said.

Originally an inhabitant of the colder central Asian region, the houbara bustard, in order to avoid harsh weather conditions, migrates southwards every year to spend the winter in a relatively warm environment in Pakistan.

In the wake of its dwindling population, the migratory bird is not only protected under various international nature conservation treaties, its hunting is also banned under local wildlife protection laws. Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt this bird.

However, the hunting of houbara bustard is used as a foreign policy tool by the Pakistan government, which allows influential nationals of the Arabian Gulf nations to hunt the bird for a price tag of $100,000, Ary News reported.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:33:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-issues-special-permits-to-qatari-emir-other-royal-members-to-hunt-endangered-bird-species/article30327330.ece

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