Seven Qataris held for trying to hunt houbara without licence

Updated 11 Dec 2019

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Sources said the Qatari nationals were travelling towards Nushki when they were intercepted and taken into custody by Levies personnel at Galangoor checkpoint on the Quetta-Nushki highway. — Reuters/File
Sources said the Qatari nationals were travelling towards Nushki when they were intercepted and taken into custody by Levies personnel at Galangoor checkpoint on the Quetta-Nushki highway. — Reuters/File

QUETTA: Seven Qatari nationals, including four members of the royal family, were arrested for attempting to enter Nushki for hunting houbara bustard without permission of the Foreign Office.

Official sources told Dawn that the Qatari nationals were travelling towards Nushki on Monday evening when they were intercepted and taken into custody by Levies personnel at Galangoor checkpoint on the Quetta-Nushki highway.

Nushki Deputy Commissioner Abdul Razzaq Sasoli confirmed the arrest of the Qatari nationals. He said they were clad in local dresses in a bid to dodge security forces, but the Levies officials intercepted them at the checkpoint.

“The Qatari nationals, including four members of the royal Qatari ruling family, were entering the area for hunting of houbara bustard without having proper hunting licence which is issued by the Foreign Office,” Mr Sasoli said.

Four of the visitors belong to the royal family, says Nushki’s deputy commissioner

He added that the personnel handed over the custody of the seven Qataris to the officials of the wildlife department.

The four members of the Qatari royal family were identified as Sheikh Mohammad bin Mansoor Jasim, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jasim and Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Khalid.

The wildlife department officials registered a case against the foreigners. During the course of initial investigations, it emerged that the Qatari nationals had reached Quetta on Dec 2. As they had three-month visa, the wildlife department officials informed them on their arrival that they could not enter the hunting area of Chagai district without having a proper hunting licence issued by the FO.

The local authorities had last month arrested two Qatari nationals for trying to hunt houbara bustard in Chagai district without proper permission.

According to Wildlife Secretary Saeed Ahmed Jamali, the FO had issued 18 hunting licences to the members of the royal families and other dignitaries of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Arab countries. They were allocated 15 places in Balochistan for hunting, he said.

However, he added, only two of the 18 parties fulfilled the legal requirement of the fee imposed by the provincial government for hunting 100 houbara bustards. “These two parties were issued permission for hunting,” he said, adding that $100,000 fee was fixed for hunting 100 houbara bustards.

Meanwhile, a campaign against illegal hunting of the migrating birds in Balochistan, which was recently launched by the provincial forest and wildlife department, is under way.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019