KARACHI: The federal government has issued a special permit to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud to export 50 rare falcons from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia during the 2019-20 season, it is learnt.
According to sources, the falcons of highly rare species — Saker and Peregrine — are used for hunting the internationally protected houbara bustard during winter in the country. Oil-rich Arab hunters keep a large number of falcons to pursue their houbara bustard hunting.
As falcons age with time, hunters need to change their aged falcons with younger ones that could hunt houbara bustard more efficiently. Hence, an export permit was requested by the kingdom and duly issued by Pakistan. The sources said that by issuing falcon export permits the government was promoting and patronising underground black wildlife market as falcons could not be trapped, sold and purchased here legally. The falcons for export would have to be purchased from traders dealing in wildlife illegally.
The sources said that Prince Fahd, who is also governor of Tabuk province, had requested for the export permit through the Saudi embassy.
Subsequently, the foreign ministry’s deputy chief of protocol Mohammad Adeel Perviaz issued the permit and delivered it to the Islamabad-based Saudi embassy.
Mr Pervaiz, in a letter (DCP – P&I) 2019-20 to the Saudi embassy, says: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan presents its compliments to the Embassy of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Islamabad and with reference to its Note Verbale regarding export of falcons has the honour to inform that the esteemed embassy may export Fifty (50) falcons from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia for personal use of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Governor Tabuk of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“In this regard, the concerned authorities have been requested to accord facilitation for the export of Fifty (50) falcons from Pakistan to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The ministry of foreign affairs of Islamic Republic of Pakistan avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the esteemed Mission of the assurances of its highest consideration.”
The sources said that Prince Fahd had attracted global media attention sometime back when, according to Balochistan Wildlife Forest Department’s Chagai district officer Jaffer Baloch, Prince Fahd and his party had hunted 2,100 houbara bustards in 21 days that was in violation of the hunting permit that prescribed the bag limit to 100 houbaras in 10 days.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2020