IT seemed that sanity would prevail this year but the end result was quite the opposite. It was earlier reported that no special permits had been awarded this time round for the annual slaughter of the houbara bustard, an endangered migratory bird that is ostensibly protected under Pakistani and international law. However, it now transpires that Arab dignitaries have been awarded at least 27 permits for their wintertime shooting spree in Pakistan.
MITHI, Jan 29: Marooara, a network of more than 60 non-governmental organisations, has demanded a complete ban on hunting of near-extinct species of animals and stern action against poachers and hunters. The chairman of Marooara coordination council Obhayo Junejo, project coordinator of Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (Scope) Bharumal Armani, and programme coordinator of Baanh Beli Sultan said at a press conference at the press club that the Wildlife Department should stop issuing permit for houbara hunting to royal dignitaries in the name of hospitality.
AS in previous years, the business of slaughter will be booming this winter. Arab dignitaries have been awarded 31 special permits to hunt the houbara bustard, a locally and internationally protected species that winters in Pakistan after travelling from its breeding grounds in Central Asia, China and Mongolia. Each licence carries a â€˜bag limitâ€™ of 200 birds which means that, at the very minimum, 6,200 houbaras out of the twenty to thirty thousand expected to grace us with their presence this year will be massacred on Pakistani soil. The actual figure will be much higher.
PAKISTAN needs to study the case of Salman Khan. The Indian actor was arrested and charged with seven years’ imprisonment for hunting the black buck, a serious criminal offence in India. His case has shown that no matter how popular or influential a person is, he/she is not above the law. This message needs to be sent to Pakistan too where, despite well-intentioned laws that prohibit hunting endangered species, or limit the number of game that can be poached, every rule is openly defied – and how.