Pakistan government has issued special permits to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two other members of the royal family according to media report to hunt the internationally protected houbara bustards during the hunting season 2020-21. The global population of houbara is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2014. The European population is restricted to the Canary Islands and has been assessed as Near Threatened in 2015.
It migrates southwards every year in a region like Pakistan to spend its winters in a relatively warmer environment. These Arab hunters are specially invited by the Pakistan government to hunt the rare birds which have raised many questions. As per Dawn Newspaper report, the hunters had been allocated specific hunting areas in two provinces namely Balochistan and Punjab.
Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman name has been mentioned at the bottom of the list of hunters sent to the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad. It had been really ironical to know that earlier when Prime Minister Imran Khan was in the Opposition, he used to vehemently criticise the then Pakistani federal government for issuing houbara hunting permits. But now he is the one doing the same.
As per official sources, the hunting permits issued by the foreign ministry’s deputy chief on October 16 were delivered to the Saudi Embassy to be sent to the hunters.