Civil Society comes to the Rescue of Endangered Wildlife

Wildlife hunting in Pakistan (Credit: pakguns.com)
Wildlife hunting in Pakistan
(Credit: pakguns.com)

In a writ petition filed by Mr Naeem Sadiq, through Sardar Kalim Ilyas Advocate Supreme Court, against hunting of internationally protected bird HOUBARA BUSTARD and challenging the 33 Special Permits issued by Government of Pakistan to Arab Shaikhs, LHC issued Notices to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wildlife Department and Government of Punjab. LHC directed  Foreign Affairs Ministry to submit complete list of all the foreigners (Arab Shaikhs and their family members) to whom Special Permits were issued for hunting Houbara bustards for the season 2013-14.

LHC also directed WWF & IUCN to appear & assist the Court in this matter in its next hearing on 23-01-2013.  Kalim Ilyas ASC argued that the Pakistan Wildlife Ordinance 1971 prohibits hunting of Hubara Bustards.  According to IUCN Report, Pakistan is one of the sixteen countries of the world that are breeding places for Houbara bustards.  According to the law,  it is only the Provincial government that can issue any licence and the federal government or the foreign ministry have no authority to issue such  permits or licenses.

It was said that after 18th amendment,  wildlife was made a provincial subject and only the provincial law would apply.  Punjab wildlife Act as amended in 2007, also completely prohibits hunting of  HOUBARA BUSTARDS.  Hence, all licenses and permits are issued in blatant violation of law. The petition prayed for cancellation of all permits with strict directions to the government to implement its own laws in letter and spirit.

It is worth mentioning that Advocate Sardar Kalim Ilyas is pursuing this case on pro bono basis.

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