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KARACHI, Oct 13: The Sindh Wildlife Department has booked an influential person and his accomplices for hunting when the hunting season has not yet started and poaching in a protected area, Dawn has learnt.

According to sources, when the SWD personnel challenged the poachers that included the son of a retired high police official they were fired at and the poachers escaped along with the poached birds.

The SWD field assistant Asad Marri in his First Offence Report (28 / 2013) — the SWD’s equivalent of police’s FIR — registered under section 7 (hunting without permit), section 10 (certificate of lawful possession), section 17 (penalties), section 33A (power to compound offence) of Sindh Wildlife Protection Act 1993 said that while he was on patrol in the protected area near the Kirthar National Park on Oct 2 he received information that some poachers were poaching in nearby protected areas.

When Mr Marri, along with his team, reached the Erri Jabal and Sumbak Jabal Game Reserves, near Kakar Jo Pat, located along the Kirthar National Park, they saw poachers Imtiaz Khoso, son of Nadir Khoso, Saleem Khoso, son of Hando Khoso, Juma Khoso, son of Kalu Khoso and four unknown people poaching partridges and sandgrouse.

According to the FOR, registered on Oct 4, the SWD team challenged the heavily-armed poachers who fired at the SWD team and warned them to stay away and not to follow them. Later the poachers escaped on a government-owned double cabin pickup (license plate number: GS 9665) — and took away the poached partridges and sandgrouses.

The sources said that the SWD staff later raided the home of one of the poachers in Veeru Band, near Hothiano Game Reserve in Kotri Taluka, where the poacher was said to be hiding, but he could not be arrested.

The SWD then registered a case, a couple of days after the poaching incident, against the poachers, but so far no one has been caught or arrested. Sources add that retired police official is a close friend of a top SWD boss owing to which no action was being taken against the poachers, one of whom is the retired official’s son.

The sources said that not only the poachers were poaching in a game reserve, a protected area where hunting could be carried out only after obtaining a hunting permit from the SWD, but the hunting season had not yet even started. The hunting season starts in first week of November and is allowed only on Saturdays and Sundays.

According to sources game birds’ population in the area is substantial hence the influential poachers, knowing that they will not to have face any consequences, illegally hunt before the start of the hunting season so that they could kill more birds.