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Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Karachi, January 03, 2013
Pakistan will continue to allow hunting of rare birds on its side of the border despite India's reservations about this activity, a report published on Wednesday said.

A special report in The Express Tribune, a national English language daily, quoted Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry as saying that Islamabad did not want to annoy Arab dignitaries by not issuing them hunting permits for rare birds like the houbara bustards.

The hunting of houbara bustards along the border regions has caused friction with India. The report said that since any firing near the international border is a violation of norms, India's Border Security Force (BSF) has lodged protests with the Pakistani Rangers.

On Monday, a meeting was held with Rangers in Attari, Indian Punjab, on the issue. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/1/03_01_pg14a.jpg

Earlier last week, gunshots were heard near the international border opposite Nachna in Jaisalmer in India. A few days ago, there was firing in the area adjoining Shahgarh Bulj. After these incidents, the BSF sent a protest note to Pakistani Rangers.

The BSF had also raised the issue on November 7, at the India-Pakistan deputy inspector-general level border meeting, held at Munabao. The deputy director of the Pakistan Rangers had assured then that such incidents would not be repeated. But the firing has not stopped.

For 2012-13, the Pakistani government has issued 12 permits for around 815 trained hunting falcons. It includes two permits for 135 falcons for the royal family of Saudi Arabia, five permits for 200 falcons for Bahrain's royal family, two permits for 250 falcons for the UAE and three permits for 230 falcons for the royal families of Qatar.

Each permit allows a maximum of 100 birds to be hunted.