Pakistan Diplomacy: 14 Arab Royals given permit to hunt endangered Houbara bustard in Sindh this winter
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Islamabad/IBNS: In what is seen as an anti-wildlife diplomatic appeasement, Pakistan has officially granted permission for up to 14 Arab dignitaries to hunt the globally endangered bird species Houbara bustard this winter, according to a report published in the Dawn on Monday.
Image credit: File image of Houbara Bustard clicked in Pakistan's Punjab in 2019. Photo by Sahibzada tariq hameed via Wikimedia Creative Commons
The Dawn reported the United Arab Emirates (UAE) president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Qatar's prime minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, and Bahrain's monarch Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa are among the 14 Arab Royals who have been allowed to hunt for the globally protected bird species in Sindh this year.
The Pakistani newspaper reported quoting sources that the country's foreign ministry had forwarded “recommendations” to provincial governments for Falconry Season 2021-2022 (excluding protected areas) with a request to the provinces to issue necessary permits in accordance with the wildlife law.
Prior to 2016-17, the federal government used to directly grant special permits to Arab dignitaries for hunting the Hobubara bustard birds.
This year the federal government of Pakistan had sent a list of 14 Arab dignitaries for Falconry Season 2021-22 to the Sindh government, which approved it during a meeting of the provincial cabinet two weeks back, reported The Dawn citing its sources.
The World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature-Pakistan in a position statement released in 2020 had called for an immediate ban on the birds’ hunting keeping in view its vulnerable International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status and the threats the bird species faced in its entire range in general and in Pakistan in particular.