CHAKWAL: Salt Range Wildlife Deputy Director Ghulam Rasool was suspended by secretary Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries (FWF) Department after a photo of a jeep loaded with around 100 hunted partridges went viral on social media on Nov 26.

Assistant Director Wildlife Chakwal Abid Mirza along with his team confiscated the vehicle and arrested two poachers and imposed a fine of Rs150,000 on them.

As the photos of massive killing of grey and brown partridges reportedly hunted in the area of Chumbi-Surla Wildlife Sanctuary (an area where hunting of any kind is banned throughout the year) went viral, higher authorities sprung into action.

Secretary FWF Department suspended DD Ghulam Rasool due to his alleged involvement in the massive killing of partridges while Wildlife and Punjab Parks Director General Syed Tahir Raza Hamdani constituted a three-member committee to probe into the issue.

According to a notification a copy of which available with Dawn, Deputy Director Wildlife Publicity and Research Cell Mohammad Anwar Maan has been made convener of the inquiry committee while Lahore Wildlife Safari Zoo Deputy Director Zahid Iqbal Sheikh and Wildlife Headquarters Deputy Director Mudasser Hassan have been made members of the committee.

The committee would ascertain the place and date of hunting, violations committed as per provisions of Wildlife Act, number of hunted partridges, any involvement of officers appointed in the area and any other related matter.

The committee has been directed to submit its report within three days.

“Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department re-affirms its stance not to allow anybody for such a massacre of wildlife and if anyone involved is identified shall be dealt with iron hands under the laws,” Wildlife and Parks DG Syed Tahir Raza Hamdani told Dawn via a text message.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2020

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