Siberian Bustards to go bust if courts don't act, petitioner says

Published: December 12, 2013
Houbara Bustards are hunted illegally when they migrate to Pakistan. IMAGE: CREATIVE COMMONS

Houbara Bustards are hunted illegally when they migrate to Pakistan. IMAGE: CREATIVE COMMONS

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday sought replies from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior Ministry and Forest Department on a plea seeking the safe migration of Siberian birds in Pakistan.

Advocate Kashif Sulemani moved the petition and submitted that every year in December millions of Siberian birds migrate to Pakistan due to the harsh cold climate, and return to their native land when the weather improves.

He submitted that during the stay of the birds in Pakistan, people hunt them in violation of international laws. He requested the court to ensure a safe stay and exit for the Siberian birds.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the initial arguments of the lawyer and sought replies from the respondents by December 20.

The famous route from Siberia to various destinations in Pakistan over Karakorum, Hindu Kush, and Suleiman ranges along the Indus River down to the delta is known as the International Migratory Bird Route Number 4or the Indus Flyway.

The birds start on this route in November. February is the peak time and by March they start flying back home. There are a total of seven identified flyways in the world.

A large number of birds of diverse species, including water fowls, cranes, teals, pintail, mallard and gadwall, take this route. Some extinguishing species like white-headed duck, houbara bustard and Siberian crane also travel on this route.

Wildlife experts have stated the numbers of seasonal birds transmigrating to Punjab had decreased by at least 70 per cent over the past few years. They warn that excessive tree cutting, pollution and major construction projects make the bird sanctuaries unsuitable.

Last year, Dawn reported that The National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change was told that bustards and Siberian cranes were being hunted indiscriminately. Both species of the migratory birds are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Officials from the Ministry of Climate Change had explained that members of royal families from the Middle East, particularly those in Saudi Arabia, were given licenses to hunt endangered migratory birds, such as Bustards, despite restrictions in place.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • Aalia
    Dec 12, 2013 - 10:31PM

    after all pakistan is a hunting place for arabs.


  • np
    Dec 13, 2013 - 12:01AM

    Somebody needs to bring this to the attention of Sartaj Aziz who lately has become very environmental conscious.


  • Zif
    Dec 13, 2013 - 2:15AM

    Stupid fellows can’t think beyond their stomachs!


  • water bottle
    Dec 13, 2013 - 4:51AM


    “Stupid fellows can’t think beyond their stomachs!”

    No sir. they don’t hunt because they are hungry. They hunt because they can and you allow.Recommend

  • Siberianbirds Lover
    Dec 13, 2013 - 10:40AM

    Last year I have visited Mancher Lake located between Sehwan Sharif and Dadu Sindh in November, early in the morning I saw more than a dozen people carrying weapons on the lake to hunt. When I enquire from the people they said that they have license of Rs. 300 per month and a single person normally hunt 10 to 12 ducks per day

    Good initiative Advocate Kashif Sulemani sap keep it up


    Dec 13, 2013 - 11:27AM

    Sartaj Aziz himself has become one of this specie. That was in lighter vein but the fact is most migratory birds have changed their destinations. Even local birds like house sparrows are fast disappearing. You do not hear that chirping before sunset so well known and part of our folklore. I believe Pakistan has a department dedicated to bird life. I am sure they are by now the largest supplier and exporters of meat.


  • Dr.A..Tewari
    Dec 13, 2013 - 9:27PM

    These ambessdors of foreign contries deserves to get same protection as we extend to the representatives of the other nations . Poaching of these bird is easy due to the fact that these birds comes from a habitat where they do not face treat of a predator .that’s why they do’nt know how to protect themselves . They think that approaching man will not harm but thwy get betrayed . The religion which do not preach AHIMSA PARMO DHARMA are now facing a grave problem of terrorism and biodiversity loss .


  • Zif
    Dec 13, 2013 - 10:02PM

    @water bottle
    Right, I stand corrected.
    “stupid fellows can’t think beyond their pockets.”


More in Pakistan