ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has issued notices to the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) and all advocates general for assistance in the matter regarding illegal issuance of licences to VIP dignitaries from the Gulf states for the hunting of globally protected Houbara bustard.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, also raised question as to how the federal government could issue licences to royal visitors from the Gulf states for hunting in the areas of different provinces.
Read: Bustards — still being hunted
The petitioner, Aamir Zahoorul Haq, through his counsel Raja Muhammad Farooq had filed a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, naming the federal government through the foreign office, ministry of environment and all provinces as respondents.
Earlier, the SC registrar office had returned the petition by raising objection. But the bench rejected the plea and issued notices to the AGP and all advocates general to assist in this matter. The hearing was adjourned until last week of July. The petitioner requested the bench to cancel all the licences for hunting of Houbara bustard and the foreign office should be restrained from issuing such licences to foreigners for hunting the rare bird. The petitioner claims that despite a ban in Pakistan on the hunting of Houbara bustard, the government has issued licences in violation of law.
“Bringing falcons in Pakistan is subject to restrictions provided by law for the intents of hunting which, too, remains unrestrained and followed by hit the evidence on the record and reaction demonstrated and reflected against the killing of 2,100 birds as against 100 provided licences and permits portrayed a complete apathy, silence and action to be driven and taken by the functionaries of the state in the matter,” the petition reads.
The petitioner requested the top court to order stern legal action against the persons who issued the licences. He submitted that the issuance of licences to the Arab royalty has already led to the vanishing of the rare bird and the federal and provincial governments have failed to enforce the law.
Read: Rare species: High mortality endangers houbara bustard, says Balochistan High Court
The petitioner while referring to a news report stated that 33 special permits were issued to the VIP dignitaries of five countries for the hunting of protected Houbara bustard during 2013-14.
The petitioner noted that since Houbara bustard is listed in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Bonn Convention, and its irrationally brutal and increased hunting especially in its winter habitats is highly illegal and the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species has classified it as an endangered migratory bird, adding that both the conventions are ratified by the federal government.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.