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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Wednesday said the cabinet was expected to approve the country’s first national wildlife policy this month.

He was chairing a meeting of senior officials of wildlife and forest departments.

The adviser to prime minister said a comprehensive wildlife policy was direly needed to provide adequate protection to the wildlife habitats.

He stressed upon the wildlife department to compete consultation on the policy document so that it could be submitted to the cabinet at the earliest.

Malik Amin Aslam further said that the government had decided to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards illegal trade and hunting of animals and directed the departments concerned to take all necessary actions to preserve Pakistan’s precious but vulnerable wildlife.

Malik Amin Aslam Khan said: “With the advent of winter season, birds migration starts in coastal areas and it is our responsibility to provide an adequate protection to these birds such as cranes, falcons, quails and other species that fly through Pakistan every season.”

He said the first ever national wildlife policy will be the part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s programme he had committed to achieve within first hundred days of the government.

Talking to Dawn, Climate Change Secretary Khizar Hayat Khan said that a policy to protect the rich wildlife of Pakistan such as the snow leopard, markhor and hubara bustard to mention some had never been developed before.

The policy will show zero tolerance towards illegal trade in species and their hunting, Mr Hayat said. “We have spent the last eight months working on the policy, inviting comments from provincial forest departments and engaging and bringing International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund on board,” Mr Hayat said.

He said the policy touched issues of mountain goats hunting. It also touched the sensitive subject of hunting of the hubara bustard.

“Recently a $4.6 million fund provided by the United Nations Development Programme will be utilized for the protection and conservation of the snow leopard that is today a endangered species,” Khizar Hayat said who is also chairman of the steering committee on the conservation of snow leopard programme. He said that the fund would be utilised by NGOs and supervised by the government.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018