Houbara bustard ban: CJP requested to constitute larger bench to hear review petitions

SC's larger bench will decide fate of federal and provincial govts’ review petitions against ban on bird's hunting

Hasnaat Malik December 10, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday referred the case of a ban of the hunting of the endangered Houbara bustard to the chief justice of Pakistan, while requesting the CJ to constitute a larger bench to decide the fate of federal and provincial governments’ review petitions against the apex court’s earlier judgement in the matter.

A three-judge bench of the top court headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar referred the matter to the CJP before adjourning the hearing of the case until the third week of December.

Save the birds: Protesters seek end to ban on houbara bustard hunting

Earlier, Attorney General of Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt appeared before the bench and requested the court to allow limited hunting of the bird.

Last month, the SC had directed the federal government to provide evidence to substantiate its stance that the population of the Houbara Bustard has increased in the country.

Wealthy Arab dignitaries travel to Balochistan every winter to hunt the Houbara bustard using falcons, a practice that has sparked controversy in recent years because of the rare bird’s dwindling numbers.

Issuing a decree in the controversial case earlier this year, the Supreme Court banned hunting of the Houbara bustard in a decision welcomed by wildlife conservationists.

In its petition, the federal administration contended that the ban on hunting Houbara bustards could mar Pakistan’s ties with the Middle East.

Houbara bustard ban: SC asks govt for proof of ‘rising population’

The government’s review petition stated that before issuing its ruling earlier this year, the apex court ignored Pakistan’s relations with countries in the Middle East in the backdrop of the Yemen crisis. According to the petition, the decision has adversely affected Islamabad’s diplomatic ties with countries in the region.


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