Saturday, February 7, 2015

Balochistan govt approaches SC to challenge houbara bustard ban

Syed Ali Shah 

QUETTA: In clear violation of an order issued by the Balochistan High Court (BHC), high-ups in the Balochistan government permitted Governor of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, Prince Fahad Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz for hunting the houbara bustard.

The Balochistan government has issued 28 allotments to Arab royal families and ministers across the province for hunting of endangered Houbara species. However, the BHC had cancelled all allotments made by the provincial government to royal Arab families last year on Nov 23.

Provincial Minister Mir Mujeebur Rehman Muhammad Hassani, former provincial minister Amanullah Notezai and other high-ups received the Governor of Tabuk and his colleagues at Dalbandin Airport on Wednesday.

The convoy of Arab Prince moved from Dalbandin Airport to deserted areas of Chaghi amid tight security for hunting the rare bird. Frontier Corps, police and Levies personnel escorted the convoy of the Arab Prince.

"We have already challenged the BHC's order for cancellation of allotments," a senior officer of the Balochistan government, who requested anonymity, told Dawn.

He said the provincial government had approached the Supreme Court over challenging the BHC's verdict.

Prior to any decision on the part of the apex court, the government had allowed the Arab prince to conduct hunting of Houbara bustard in Balochistan's deserted and mountainous Chaghi district.

The officer elaborated that under Balochistan Wild Life Act 2014, the provincial government had the power to allot areas for hunting for a limited period. Contrary to this, Arab royal families people have been coming to Balochistan for hunting for more than a decade.

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