KARACHI, Oct 9: A massive exercise is said to be under way to cover up the issue of illegal poaching carried out by a top bureaucrat, who along with his friends hunted partridges in the Khirthar National Park with the help of some wildlife staffers, it emerged on Tuesday.
Sources told Dawn that the Sindh Building Control Authority director general and his friends allegedly hunted over 150 partridges on Sept 23 in the park protected under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance.
The ordinance prescribes long jail terms and heavy fines for violators.
The sources said that although the poaching was carried out over a couple of weeks ago, no concrete action was taken against the poachers, except writing some reports and starting communication between different officials.
They said that time was being wasted so that the issue could be swept under the carpet.
A report prepared by Sindh wildlife conservator Saeed Akhtar Baloch on the issue had been gathering dust in the office of Sindh Wildlife Minister Dr Dayaram Essrani for over a week and no decision had been taken on it, the sources added.
Responding to Dawn queries, Mr Baloch said that he had also heard ‘rumours’ about the poaching incident and was conducting a probe into it and as soon as something concrete came up it would be shared with the media.
The report (Bo.B.I.(d)Estt:/CW(2012)/-400 of 2012 – 2013 dated Oct 2, 2012) on the subject “Illegal hunting in Khar Centre (KNP)” prepared by conservator Saeed Baloch has been sent to wildlife minister through his private secretary.
The report says: “Enclosed please find herewith report of Field Officer, Khar Centre and District Game Warden, Karachi on the subject matter. It is to submit that illegal hunting of 150 grey partridges have taken place in the core area of Khirthar National Park (KNP).“The enquiry reports submitted by Field Officer Khar Centre (KNP) and District Game Warden Karachi reveal that illegal hunting of 150 grey partridges was taken place with active connivance of local field staff by following offenders: 1) Manzoor Qadir Kaka, 2) Rais Shah Nawaz Khushk, 3) Rasool Bux Balouch, 4) Faisal, and 5) Haji Ameer Bux Burfat.
“Keeping in view the failure of local field staff of Khar Centre, which cannot be tolerated at any cost, hence, it is proposed that approval of following actions may be solicited, so that in future no such illegal incidents of illegal hunting take place in the core area of Khirthar National Park (KNP): 1) Show cause notices to concerned; 2) Issuance of suspension orders; and 3) Issuance of order for dismissal from government duty.”
The names of the lower grade wildlife staffers who, according to the report, helped / facilitated the poachers are: game inspectors Hyder Bux Burfat, Moham-mad Khan and Mohammad Bux; and game watchers Samiullah; Meral; Ghulam Murtaza; Mithal; Wilayatullah and driver Moosa.
Despite repeated attempts made by Dawn to contact on his cell phone, Wildlife Minister Dr Dayaram Essrani could not be approached.
Speaking to Dawn on condition of anonymity, one of the wildlife staffers, who according to the report helped and facilitated the poaching, said that watching the preparations being done for the poachers by their hosts in the KNP a day or two before the illegal hunt was carried out, he had informed a top wildlife department official regarding the ensuing hunting.
But, the wildlife staffer added, the top official told him that he was in a meeting and would talk to him later, which he never did.
“And now we small grade staffers are being pressed and the top official remains safe in their office in the city,” he added.