Visiting Qatari royals hunt endangered ‘Houbara’ in Pakistan

Lahore [Pakistan], Dec. 4 : A 12-member delegation of Qatari royals including Prince Hamad bin Jassim that arrived here on Saturday went on a hunting spree for the internationally protected migratory bird Houbara Bustard in Bhakkar district of Punjab.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has included the bird on its 'red list' of threatened species, estimating there are fewer than 97,000 left globally.

Hitting out against the development, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesman Fawad Chaudhry lamented that Pakistan was being treated like a banana republic by the ruling family, reports Pakistan Today.

However, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Talal Chaudhry defended the hunting expedition, saying "The hunting of Houbara Bustard is in practice in Pakistan for decades." According to reports, the federal government issued a number of special hunting permits to several interested parties during the hunting season 2016-17.

The Houbara Bustard is not only protected under various international conventions and agreements signed by the country but its hunting is also banned under the local wildlife protection laws.

Also, the visit of the royal delegation comes in the wake of the counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's sons presenting a letter from Prince Jassim before the Supreme Court pertaining to the Panamagate probe.

On November 15, submitting documentary evidence on the 'legitimacy' of their assets before the Supreme Court Prime Minister Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, claimed their London apartment was bought through Qatari investments.

Along with a 397-page document consisting details of transactions as well as receipts of payments since 2011, the Sharif family submitted a letter from a Qatari prince claiming the flats were purchased through the settlement of accounts between his family's company and the Sharif family.

Source: ANI