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Saudi prince arrives in Balochistan to hunt houbara bustard

ANI  |  Quetta (Balochistan) [Pakistan] 

The of Tabuk province of Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz had reportedly arrived in the area of Balochistan's Chaghi district in for hunting an endangered bird specie.

The Tabuk governor, who is also a part of the ruling royal family, reportedly arrived on Sunday in his special flight at the airport. He was received by the Saudi Ambassador to Admiral Nawaf Ahmad Al-Maliki, tribal elder Haji Ali Muhammad Notezai, district Council's Dawood Khan Notezai, and other senior officials, amid tight security arrangements.

Pakistani Defence and to the chief on forest and wildlife Obaidullah Babit were also scheduled to receive the Saudi prince, but did not come to the airport, reported the Today.

However, according to local reports, the Saudi Dastagir Khan and other senior officials at a hotel, where he was lodged.

The Saudi later went to explore the area allotted by the to him for hunting the He was earlier issued a hunting licence by the Pakistani foreign ministry for that allotted area.

A Pakistani-based journalist, Amar Guriro, had earlier reported that on January 4, Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak, who is the of Tolerance of the (UAE), was found hunting in a desert in Sindh's Ghotki district, along with (PPP) leader and district Mahar.

He tweeted: "With the onset of winter, Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance #UAE set a hunting camp in the desert of ## On Jan 4 #PPP leader & District Mahar seen hunting endangered #Houbarabustard with Sheikh at the hunting camp."

Another Pakistan-based named lambasted Dastagir Khan's meeting with the Saudi prince, during his visit to for hunting the endangered bird.

She wrote on her handle: "When lawmakers are lawbreakers and dollarslaves...goes to receive Prince in Quetta to welcome him for hunting..An internationally and provincially banned hunting..#StopHoubaraHunting"

The houbara bustard, an internationally protected migratory bird, is mostly found in arid habitats spread across northern Africa, and South-East Asia, with a population on the Canary Islands. They are dull brown with black markings on the wings with a greyish neck and a black ruff, along the side of the neck. Males and females appear very similar to each other, but males are much larger and heavier.

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. Locals are not allowed to hunt it.

However, the issues special permits every year to the ruling elite families of the Gulf countries.

In 2014, the High Court (BHC) had barred the hunting of 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, after hearing the plea in 2015, had dismissed the petition of the federal and Balochistan governments and had upheld the verdict of the BHC for banning the hunting of the endangered bird.

According to sources, the Saudi prince visits the area every year for hunting the houbara bustards.

Earlier, a hunting party of eight, including Arab nationals, was arrested, when they were found illegally hunting the endangered bird in Balochistan on Saturday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 18:45 IST