Seeks detailed verdict on whether ban is beneficial to the country.
QUETTA: Authorities in Balochistan have challenged in the Supreme Court a high court ruling outlawing the hunting of Houbara bustards.
Talking to reporters in Quetta on Friday, Adviser to the Chief Minister on Forest and Wildlife Ubaidullah Jan Babat said the Saudi royals have been hunting Houbara bustards in Balochistan for years.
“These hunting practices have been taking place before our government was formed,” he said. “The forest department has filed the petition in the Supreme Court only for a detailed verdict on whether it is beneficial to the country or to its disadvantage, if we cancel allotments to the princes.”
He said his government is not in favour of a blanket ban on Houbara bustard hunting in the province. Babat also made it clear that challenging the high court’s decree “does not mean the government wants to allow the Arab princes to hunt rare birds”.
“Allotting areas for hunting is a provincial subject after the 18th Amendment yet the federal government requested that dignitaries of friendly countries be cared for,” he added.
He claimed that Saudi royals were often invited by local tribal chieftains to the areas under their control.
Recently, Tabuk Governor Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud set up a hunting camp in the desert following his arrival in Balochistan’s Chagai district.
Babat said a decision would be taken on the issue when the country’s foreign policy comes up for review. The chief minister’s adviser also claimed that the federal government had explained to the provincial government that the Saudi royals have launched hospitals and other development projects in different areas of the province so their trips are not for hunting purposes only.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2015.