Houbara bustard

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The Houbara bustard; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, January 23, 2016

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Pakistan SC lifts ban on hunting Houbara

The Times of India, January 23, 2016

Pak SC lifts ban on hunting Houbara bustard

Pakistan's supreme court lifted a ban on the hunting of the Houbara bustard, an endangered migratory bird, whose meat is prized by elite Arab sheikhs for its aphrodisiac value. The ban on the Houbara bustard, about the size of a chicken, was imposed by former chief justice Jawwad S Khawaja on August 20 last year, who also ordered the cancellation of all existing permits issued by government to Arab rulers. The federal and provincial governments in October had challenged the ban, pleading that sustainable hunting should be allowed.

A five-member larger bench headed by chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali lifted the ban in a verdict on the review petitions, although the decision was not unanimous, with one dissenting note by justice Qazi Faez Isa, who opposed the bench's order.

The petitioners had plea ded that issuing hunting permits to Arab dignitaries was part of foreign policy . The attorney general Salman Butt asked the SC to allow “sustainable hunting“ of the bird. Pakistan enjoys good ties with elite Arabs who love hunting Houbara using falcons and travel to Balochistan every winter to kill the bustard. The bird is listed in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals and is declared as an endangered species.

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