A judicial magistrate on Tuesday set free 300 birds that had been illegally captured by hunters. The birds had been recovered on Sunday when the bird catchers were arrested at the Faisalabad Airport. On Tuesday, the suspects were produced before the court. The judge fined them a total of Rs150,000 and sent one of the hunters, Ramazan, to jail for seven days.
He directed the officials to free the birds in the supervision of a court official. After the judge signed the order, Judicial Magistrate Asif Naul accompanied a team of Wildlife Department officials to Kallar Kahar, where the birds were set free.
Earlier, on Sunday, the Wildlife Department arrested 11 men suspected of attempting to smuggle around 300 birds, including 119 falcons.
Wildlife Inspector Atif Saeed told The Express Tribune that UAE-based royal prince Marwan bin al-Makatol had arrived in a private plane to hunt rare birds in Mianwali, Jhang and adjacent areas.
He said some local bird hunters had approached the prince and offered to sell him some birds. He said the men had rented an ambulance and loaded it with cages carrying more than 300 birds, including 119 falcons.
He said a Wildlife Department team had conducted a raid on being tipped off and arrested 11 men, including the prince’s agents.
Saeed said Prince al-Makatol had a licence to hunt in Mianwali but was not allowed to take them out of the country.
He said the prince’s agents Abdur Rasheed, Abdul Aziz and Roshan Khan were handed over to Thikriwala police.
SHO Fayyaz Ahmed the suspects belonged to Khushab, Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan. He said no complaint had been filed against the prince.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2012.