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Friday, 22 January 2016 15:34

Pakistan: Supreme Court lifts hunting ban on rare houbara bustard

Pakistan: Supreme Court lifts hunting ban on rare houbara bustard

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday lifted a ban on the hunting of houbara bustard, a rare desert bird whose meat is prized among Arab sheikhs as an aphrodisiac.


According to Dawn News, a five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali announced the verdict on the review petitions filed by the federal and provincial governments against the ban.

In a 4-1 majority ruling, the court lifted the ban on hunting of the endangered bird however, Justice Qazi Faez Isa wrote a dissenting note opposing the bench's order.

The court held that there was "apparent error on the face of record" and set aside its Aug 19 judgment.

In its 16-page judgement, the top court said the "role of the judiciary is to interpret the laws and not to legislate".

"Examination of the laws clearly shows that permanent ban on hunting of houbara bustard is not envisaged."

It is the provincial governments, the court said, which exercise discretionary power to classify animals as 'protected' or 'game' species. Balochistan Act, 2014 places houbara bustard both in protected and game animal categories, the court noted.

The Red List of International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) places houbara bustard in the category of "vulnerable" below "near threatened" and "least concern" categories and above "endangered", "critically endangered", "extinct in the wild" and"extinct" categories, the court said, adding that IUCN considers hunting primarily using falconry as a principal threat to its conservation.

The Wildlife Department should take steps for the consevation of all threatened animals, the court said.


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