SC lifts ban on houbara bustard hunting

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday lifted the ban on hunting of tiloor, an indigenous game bird also known as houbara bustard.

While reviewing its last year’s judgement, a five-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali announced its judgment over the federal and provincial governments review petitions against the court’s verdict on the ban on houbara bustard hunting.

However, one of the judges Justice Qazi Faez Isa while writing a dissenting note opposed the court’s decision to conditionally allow   hunting of houbara bustard.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has authored the main judgment wherein he set aside the three judge bench’s August 19 verdict regarding the ban on hunting. Three judges, including the chief justice, endorsed his judgment.

In August, the court imposed a ban on the hunting of endangered birds and ordered the cancelation of all existing permits issued by the government.

By removing the ban on hunting, SC upheld the government’s request to lift the ban, while quashing Balochistan High Court’s decision.

Earlier this month, the top court reserved its judgment over the federal and three provincial governments’ review petitions against the ban on hunting of tiloor, an indigenous game bird also known as houbara bustard.

Tiloor is prized by hunters from the Gulf States, who flock to Pakistan every winter. The government grants special permits for the Middle Eastern sheikhs on ‘diplomatic grounds’ as they bring ‘investment to the social sector’.

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, headed by former chief justice Justice Jawad S Khawaja on August 19, put a complete ban on the hunting of the bird. Later, several petitioners – including federal, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan governments – filed review petitions in the apex court.

On January 5, Chief Justice Jamali formed a five-judge larger bench also including Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Iqbal Hameed Ur Rehman, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Qazi Faez Isa to hear the review petitions.


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