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Hunting of Houbara bustard by Pakistanis is banned under wildlife laws.—File photo

KARACHI: The federal government has issued 28 special permits to the rulers, members of ruling families and other dignitaries of four Gulf states to hunt the internationally protected Houbara bustard during the 2010-2011 season, according to reliable sources.

The sources said that, according to the code of conduct, the hunting period is restricted to 10 days with a bag limit of 100 birds.

Hunting of Houbara bustard by Pakistanis is banned under wildlife laws.

Houbara bustard, a native to Central Asia’s Kuzl Kum region, around the Aral Sea, is a migratory bird species that visits Pakistan every year to escape the harsh winter.

The bird is sought after by Arab hunters owing to a myth that its meat has aphrodisiac qualities — a notion not supported by scientific evidence.

The United Arab Emirates tops the list with 13 hunting permits — 11 of these have been awarded to the ruler and ruling family members. Five of these have been granted to people from Abu Dhabi and six from Dubai.

ABU DHABI Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, has been allotted hunting areas in three provinces.

In Punjab he has been granted Rahimyar Khan, Rajanpur and D.G. Khan districts, in Sindh Sukkur, Ghotki, Nawabshah and Sanghar districts and in Balochistan his areas comprise Zhob, Ormara, Gwadar, Pasni, Panjgur and Washuk districts.

Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown prince of Abu Dhabi, can hunt in Lehri Tehsil of Sibi district, Balochistan.

Deputy prime minister of UAE, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, has been permitted to hunt in Khairpur district, including Kot Diji.

DUBAI Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice-president of UAE and ruler of Dubai, has been permitted to hunt in Khuzdar and Lasbela districts of Balochistan and Muzaffargarh district in Punjab.

SAUDI ARABIA Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud has been allotted Chagai and Nushki districts of Balochistan.

Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, interior minister and brother of King Abdullah, has been permitted to hunt in Dera Bugti, Dera Murad Jamali, Nasirabad and Awaran districts of Balochistan.

In Punjab his territory comprises Khushab, Jhang, Mianwali and Sargodha districts.

QATAR Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the amir of Qatar, has been allotted Bahawalnagar district in Punjab.