Islamabad, 2nd December: Saudi Crown Prince and other royal family members have been granted permission to hunt houbara bustards.
Baaghi TV: It is reported that the federal government has issued special permits to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two other members of the Saudi ruling family to hunt the internationally protected houbara bustards during the hunting season 2020-21.
AS per sources, the other two members are governors and one of them is a defaulter as he has not paid the hunting fees/dues for last year’s hunting season 2019-20.
The sources said that the hunters had been allocated certain hunting areas in two provinces, Balochistan and Punjab.
Sources also report that though the foreign ministry was expected to maintain the protocol and official hierarchy, the name of the most powerful ruler of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman has been mentioned at the bottom of the list of hunters sent to the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad.
According to sources, earlier when prime minister Imran Khan was in the opposition and ruling in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he criticized the federal government on issuing houbara hunting permits, but now he himself has granted the permission to the Royal Saudis.
The sources said that the hunting permits issued by the foreign ministry’s deputy chief of protocol (P&I) were delivered to the Saudi Embassy to be sent to the hunters.
According to permits issued on Oct 16, 2020, the names of the hunters and areas allotted to them are:
“HRH Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, crown prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence has been allocated Layyah and Bhakkar districts in Punjab.
“HRH Prince Fahad bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of Tabuk, has been allocated district Awaran, district Noshki (less Noshki city), and district Chaghai (excluding Nok Kundi) in Balochistan.
“HH Prince Mansour bin Mohammad S. Abdul Rehman Al-Saud, Governor of Hafr Al-Batin has been allocated Dera Ghazi Khan district in Punjab.”
The houbara bustard, a resident of the colder Central Asian region migrates every year to spend its winter in a warmer place to avoid the harsh weather conditions in its habitat. Here it is hunted by Arab hunters specially invited by the government.
While the Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt this bird whose population is shrinking, it is protected under various international nature conservation treaties and local wildlife protection laws too.
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