Senators concerned over allowing Arabs to hunt houbara bustards

The Senate standing committee on foreign affairs has expressed serious concerns over allowing Arabs to hunt houbara bustards, an indigenous game bird, in the country.

“The number of migratory birds from Siberia, which was in millions, has now reduced to thousands at Sindh’s Haleji Lake and other places due to hunting by Arabs and Sheikhs,” Senator Dr Karim Khawaja remarked during a meeting chaired by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Senator Khawaja alleged that the Arabs were also involved in human trafficking of young girls and other heinous crimes and urged the committee to address the issue in accordance with the international laws.

150 houbara bustard released in Cholistan

Responding to queries, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said the provincial governments allocate places for hunting and the foreign office’s scope remained limited to correspondence in this regard.

Despite facing threats, Houbara Bustard were far from being considered endangered species, said the foreign secretary, adding that the Supreme Court had also allowed foreigners to hunt the bird.

The ministry of climate change has set guidelines and taken steps for the breeding of Houbara Bustard, she said.

SC lifts ban on houbara bustard hunting

The government had allocated Rs250 million for procreation of the Siberian bird, resulting in increased numbers of the species in Sindh, she added.

Janjua said with the exception of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government, all provincial governments issue licenses for hunting.

In 2016, the apex court of the country had lifted the ban on hunting of houbara bustard, setting aside its earlier verdict from the same year.

Houbara Bustards released in the wild to populate Pakistan's resident species

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