Pakistan allows 14 Arab dignitaries to hunt for Houbara bustard in Sindh
These dignitaries include the Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Pakistani government has allowed 14 Arab dignitaries to hunt the Houbara bustard this year, according to a report published by Dawn on Monday. These dignitaries include the Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Dawn report said that the federal government has sent this list to the Sindh government, which approved it during a meeting of the provincial cabinet two weeks back. Prior to 2016-17, the special permits were directly granted by the federal government to Arab dignitaries, the report also said.
The Qatari Prime Minister is allowed to hunt for the Houbara bustard in Jacobabad district while UAE President Al Nahyan is allowed to hunt for the bird in Sukkur, Ghotki, Sanghar, Nawabshah and Khairpur districts, it added.
Other dignitaries include King of Bahrain Hammad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the deputy chairman of Dubai Police etc.
Houbara bustard is an endangered bird species that is internationally protected. It migrates southwards every year to spend its winters in a relatively warmer environment in Pakistan. The Pakistani government specially invites Arab hunters for hunting the bird. Last year, special permits were issued to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two other members of the royal family.
However, this year, Pakistan is facing heat over the killing of a journalist who posted videos of hunting Houbara bustard by Arab dignitaries. Nazim Jokhio, a resident of Karachi, was killed on Wednesday after he posted a video, saying that he was being threatened over clips he posted on hunting trips by Arab dignitaries in Pakistan.
“I am not scared. I am getting threats and will not apologise,” Jokhio said in the video.
An international media watchdog has demanded an independent investigation into the journalist's killing and said that culprits must be identified and brought to justice.