LAHORE: The Punjab Government presented a summary, approved by the provincial cabinet, before the Lahore High Court about issuing permits to foreign dignitaries, including Qatari royal family members, to hunt the houbara bustard.
Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing the petition, while the summary was submitted by Advocate General Anwaar Hussain. He said the hunting of the locally endangered species would be done legally.
Three permits were issued to hunting in a specific area of South Punjab and each holder is allowed to hunt 100 birds, he said. The AG added that 147 birds had been hunted thus far.
Petitioner’s Counsel Kaleem Ilyas alleged that the hunting permits were issued prior to the approval of the cabinet and its decision could not be implemented. Anwaar said a thorough review of the relevant law delayed the approval of the cabinet.
A representative of the wildlife department told the court that hunting the houbara bustard would not have any effect on the conservation of the protected birds.
The petitioner said the government violated several international laws by awarding the hunting permits to Qatari princes. He added the government issued permits without the approval of the cabinet, adding this was mandatory act under the law.
The chief justice adjourned the hearing till February 10 and sought a report from Birdlife International.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.