The government has reportedly issued special permits to seven-members of Dubai’s royal family to hunt the internationally protected Houbara bustard during the 2020-21 hunting season.
As per details, the permit has been issued to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and six other members of the ruling family including the crown prince, deputy ruler and finance and industries minister, deputy police chief, an army official, two other members of the royal family, and a businessman.
The hunting permits were reportedly issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself who earlier opposed the hunting of rare bird, while in opposition.
It is pertinent to add here that local citizens are not allowed to hunt the migratory bird wrongly prized as an aphrodisiac and classified as vulnerable by conservationists.
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Talking about the hunting of the Houbara bustard Muhammad bin Naveed, an animal rights activist and member of Friends of Islamabad Zoo said: “Houbara bustards have become an unfortunate tool for so-called diplomacy with our Arab allies where again we are using animals and their lives to play politics.”
He further added: “No government in the past or now has stood up to the killing of Houbara bustards by Arab royal families simply because they pay a lot to be here and contribute to the local economy. I think we, as a nation, and our Arab allies need to think if such activities have any place in the 21st century and why we are using animals to propagate outdated traditions that are not even a part of our culture.”
Earlier in December 2020, it was reported that at least 18 Saudi and Qatari royals, including Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, will visit Pakistan to hunt the rare houbara bustard after the confirmation of their special hunting licences.