Special permits to hunt the internationally protected Houbara Bustards have been issued to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and two other Saudi royals, by the federal government. The permits are for the 2020-2021 hunting season.
Sources have revealed that the two other royals, that have been granted permits, are Saudi governors. And, one of them is a defaulter who did not pay last year’s hunting fee to the Government of Pakistan. The defaulter is said to be the governor of the Tabuk region, Prince Fahad bin Salman, who hunted over 2, 000 Houbara Bustards last year. He also brought in 60 falcons. The fees he owes the Government of Pakistan are a $100, 000 for Houbara Bustard hunting and $60, 000 for Falcons.
The Houbara Bustards are protected under both international and national laws and treaties, as their population is dwindling. Pakistani citizens are not allowed to hunt these birds. These birds migrate from Central Asia to Pakistan to spend the winter in a warmer climate, where they are targeted for sport by Arab hunters.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has previously criticised the last government for allowing the hunting of Houbara Bustards, but now his government has also issued permits for hunting the aforementioned birds.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been allotted the districts of Bhakkar and Layiah to hunt in, while Prince Fahad bin Sultan has been allotted the districts of Awaran, Noshki and Chaghai, and Prince Mansour bin Mohammad has been allotted the district of Dera Ghazi Khan.