23:36 GMT +322 April 2019
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    Houbara Bustard

    Pakistan's Permits to Gulf Royals to Hunt 'Houbara Bustard' Sparks Criticism

    CC BY 2.0 / S. Rae / Houbara
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    The bird is a protected species across the globe, including in Pakistan, where locals are barred from hunting it. Despite the ban, successive governments have gone head-over-heels to cater to "royal interests".

    In the spirit of "what locals can't do the royals can", Pakistan's federal government has reportedly granted special permits to royals from the Gulf region, enabling them to hunt houbara bustard — a globally endangered and protected migratory bird species. The bird is a native of Central Asia, but migrates southwards in winters to avoid the harsh weather conditions there.

    Among those given permits are a Gulf king and president, in addition to crown princes and army chiefs belonging to the region's royal families, according to a report in the Dawn newspaper. Specifically, the royals are from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.

    READ MORE: Breaking Barriers: Pakistan Gets First Female Hindu Judge

    The permits were granted despite the current government, headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, having denounced such practices of former Pakistani governments.

    In fact, during the tenure of the last government, headed by Nawaz Sharief, Khan refused to allow such hunting to take place in the province of Balochistan, where his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party was in power. But this year, the PTI-ruled federal government issued hunting permits for the endangered bustard, drawing criticism on social media for its hypocrisy. 

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    royals, endangered species, hunting, Gulf States, Pakistan
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