Seven Qatari nationals, including four men from the Qatari royal family, were arrested earlier on Wednesday after they were discovered in the attempt of illegally hunting the houbara bustard.

According to the deputy commissioner of the district in Balochistan, Nushki, the Qataris were intercepted by police en route to their hunting location. They did not have a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required to hunt the bird, a document issued by the Foreign Office in Islamabad.

The royals arrested have been identified by police as  Sheikh Mohammad bin Mansoor Jasim, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jasim and Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Khalid. 

Although the animal is considered a "vulnerable" species, the houbara bustard's population in Pakistan has declined dramatically over the years. In spite of this, the Pakistani government allows nationals from various countries in the Arabian Gulf to hunt the species for a price of 100,000 USD. 

The arrest of the Qataris is one of the rare cases of the government implementing policies that could aggravate ties with influential families in the Arabian Gulf. 

In the province of Balochistan, an awareness campaign surrounding the houbara bustard, launched by the forestry and wildlife department, is presently underway.