Sunday , January 20 2019

LHC withdraws ban on houbara hunting – Pakistan

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah has withdrawn the ban on hunting of houbara bustard and directed the registrar office to fix the petitions against the hunting permits issued to foreign dignitaries before an appropriate bench afresh.

The chief justice through an oral order on Jan 25, on the basis of a report submitted by a local commission, stopped the hunting of houbara bustard invoking the precautionary principle.

“However, at the time dictating the order, I have gone through the report of the Commission in detail and requires further clarification on this principle. Therefore, the verbal order announced in the Court is recalled and this case is fixed for hearing before an appropriate bench as the case management plan for Feb 8, 2018,” observed the chief justice in his written order.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka and Naseem Sadiq had filed the petitions seeking a ban on the hunting of the internationally protected bird and cancellation of permits issued to foreign dignitaries especially Qatari royal family.

The commission headed by Dr Pervez Hassan had in its report recommended a ban on the hunting to protect breed of houbara bustard.

The commission in its report said the hunting of houbara bustard might endanger this rare species. It said the commission was not sure if the breed of the bird was under any serious threat of being vanished from the planet as no survey had so far been conducted to the effect. It suggested that the foreign ministry should be barred from issuing hunting permits and the ministry of climate change should be asked for issuance of such permits in future for their (houbara) safety and protection. It urged the court to restrain the government from issuing hunting permits until December 2018.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2018

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