QUETTA: Governor of the Tabuk province of Saudi Arabia and member of the Saudi royal family Prince Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud arrived in Dalbandin area of Balochistan’s Chaghi district for hunting the endangered houbara bustard.
He arrived on Sunday in his special flight at the Dalbandin Airport, where Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Admiral Nawaf Ahmad Al-Maliki, tribal elder Haji Ali Muhammad Notezai, Chagai district Council’s Chairman Dawood Khan Notezai, Deputy Commissioner Shihak Baloch and other senior officials welcomed him amid strict security arrangements. Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir and Adviser to the Balochistan chief minister on forest and wild-life Obaidullah Babit were also scheduled to welcome the prince but could not due to their late arrival at the airport.
According to reports, the Tabuk governor did meet the defence minister and other officials after a brief rest. He later went to explore the area allotted to him by the federal government for hunting the houbara bustard, an internationally protected migratory bird.
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 a 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 Saudi prince was earlier issued a hunting licence by the foreign ministry for the specific area.
In 2014, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) had barred the hunting of houbara bustard on two separate petitions, however, the federal and Balochistan governments had filed a petition in the apex court against the decision of the BHC.
The top court, hearing the plea in August 2015, had dismissed the petition of the federal and Balochistan governments and had upheld the verdict of the BHC banning the hunting of the bird.
According to sources, the royal prince visits the area every year for hunting with a big entourage.