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PPP to raise houbara bustard hunting issue in NA

Updated November 20, 2014

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The Houbara Bustard is an endangered bird, whose meat is valued by the Arab falconers as an aphrodisiac.   - AFP/file
The Houbara Bustard is an endangered bird, whose meat is valued by the Arab falconers as an aphrodisiac. - AFP/file

ISLAMABAD: The opposition PPP has decided to take the government to task in parliament for issuing special permits to members of royal families of the Gulf states for hunting the internationally protected houbara bustard.

Five PPP legislators have submitted a call attention notice to the National Assembly secretariat, seeking a response from the government to media reports that special permits have been issued to Arab dignitaries for hunting houbara bustard, known as Tiloor in local parlance.

Read: 29 permits issued to Gulf states royal families for houbara bustard hunting

“This is to invite the attention of the minister in-charge for foreign affairs regarding 29 hunting permits issued to various Gulf country princes in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan in violation of our national and international commitments on protection of wildlife and environment,” says the notice.

The issuance of permits, it says, has “compromised our sovereignty, particularly in the context of the security environment in the country”.

The notice has been moved by Dr Nafisa Shah, Dr Azra Fazal, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Belum Husnain and Imran Zafar Leghari.

The government is reported to have issued at least 29 special permits to dignitaries from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

Also read: Arab royal hunts down 2,100 houbara bustards in three week safari

Pakistan is a signatory to international nature conservation agreements which call for protection of rare species and national laws also ban houbara bustard hunting.

The Sindh High Court has directed the federal and the provincial authorities to submit replies to a petition challenging the legality of the permits.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2014