Special permits have been issued by the federal government to King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al Khalifa and five of his family members to hunt the internationally-protected houbara bustard during the 2019-20 hunting season. The permits were delivered to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the federal capital and had the names of hunters and the areas allocated to them.
According to a report in Dawn News, the king and his hunting party which includes his uncle, his country’s interior minister, adviser on defence, cousins, and other people have been granted special permission to hunt the endangered bird in different districts of Pakistan including Jamshoro district, Sujawal district, Naushahro Feroze district in Sindh, Jaffarabad district in Balochistan, Tando Mohammad Khan, Hyderabad and Malir (excluding Malir Cantonment and Dhabeji areas) districts.
Under a code of conduct issued by the foreign ministry, a hunter can hunt 100 houbara bustards in a 10-day hunting spree during the three-month-long hunting season between Nov 1, 2019 and Jan 31, 2020.
Though the houbara bustard belongs to the colder central Asian region, every winter it migrates southwards towards the relatively warm environment here.
Ruthless hunting by Arab hunters has resulted in a sharp decline in its population because of which it is protected under various international nature conservation conventions and a ban on its hunting has been imposed – Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt this bird.
Previously, Prime Minister Imran Khan had been very critical of Nawaz Sharif’s government for permitting the hunting of the rare bird.