Giving Foreign Predators a ‘License to Kill’By Naeem Sadiq

Hunting Houbaras (Credit:

Hunting Houbaras (Credit:

Every winter Pakistan plays host to two exceptionally diverse species of visitors. The first to arrive are the Houbara bustards, taxonomically classified as ‘chlamydotis undulata’. Conspicuous by their quiet, peaceful and graceful arrival, they bring with them a sense of beauty, serenity and diversity. They live on seeds and insects and enrich our harsh and arid ecosystem with their breathtaking presence.

In sharp contrast the second category of visitors is the rich, self-indulgent and uncouth ruling class of the Gulf countries. These predators arrive with plane loads of arrogance and pomposity (disguised in holy appearances), with a singular objective of annihilating the peaceful and harmless migratory birds.

Complicit in this crime is the environmentally insensitive government of Pakistan. Instead of protecting and preserving these magnificent birds, the government promotes this massacre by eagerly offering “permits to kill”. These documents are essentially void ‘ab initio’ as the hunting of the internationally protected migratory bird is banned under various local and international conservation laws.

These unending violent encounters have resulted in near extinction of the endangered rare birds and dilapidation of the little that is left of our dwindling environments. There is yet another negative fallout of this illegal and unethical yearly carnage which may be termed as the ‘houbara vehicle’ syndrome. At the end of the killing season, there are scores of unregistered, non-duty paid, foreign license plate vehicles that the affluent visitors leave behind as gifts, bribe or charity to the local hosts and officials. A small price to pay for continuing a racket that would earn anyone a place behind bars anywhere in the world.

Now imagine for a moment, the PM of Pakistan driving in a Gulf country in a car with Pakistani number plate. He will certainly be stopped by the ‘shurta’, fined and forced to follow the law. How come hundreds of vehicles carrying Gulf number plates are driving with complete impunity in Pakistan for past several years. Why has our police not been empowered to check these fraudulent vehicles that are neither duty-paid nor registered in Pakistan. A nuclear state’s police ought to have the courage and confidence to flag down a ‘houbara vehicle’ and either impound it or send it back to the country it came from.

This entry was posted in Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Get Your Copy

  • Like Us On Facebook

  • Join us

  • Cover Reviews

    "A story of a courageous journalist who defied conventional norms during times when very few other women were in this...

    Hassan Abbas
    Author and Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor

    "It was her fierce independence and commitment to her country that inspired [Hoodbhoy’s] decision to become a newspaper reporter –...

    Frances Stead Sellers
    Deputy National Editor, Health, Science and the Environment, The Washington Post

    "A powerful and courageous voice that represents the best of Pakistan’s emerging journalism… The first insider view of developments in...

    Shuja Nawaz
    Author and Director South Asia Center

    "Nafisa Hoodbhoy’s detailed reporting helped me look at the complex world of Pakistani politics differently. Hoodbhoy’s proximity to key players...

    Karen Frillmann
    Managing Editor - Newsroom, New York Public Radio

    Read all

  • Topics

Website By Signin Group