KARACHI: The federal government has allowed King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa and five of his associates to hunt the internationally protected houbara bustard during the season 2017-18.
According to media reports, prominent among the five other members of the elite club of houbara hunters are the king’s uncle, the commander-in-chief of armed forces, the interior minister and the king’s adviser on defence.
A resident of the colder Central Asian region, houbara bustard avoiding harsh weather conditions in its habitat migrates every year to spend its winters in relatively warm environment in Pakistan and returns to its habitat after the winter.
Owing to the dwindling global population of houbara bustard, it is not only protected under the international conservation conventions, but its hunting is also banned under the national local wildlife protection laws, and natives are not allowed to hunt it. But the federal government issues special permits every year to the ruling elite of the Gulf States.
The special permits have been issued by the foreign ministry’s deputy chief of protocol (P&I) Naeem Iqbal Cheema through a letter and sent to the Islamabad-based Embassy of Bahrain so that these could be dispatched to the hunters residing in the tiny Gulf Island.