LAHORE - The Houbara Bustard Commission headed by Dr Pervez Hassan on Monday submitted a report and requested the Lahore High Court that the hunting of houbara bustard be banned till the next survey.

The Lahore High Court on Monday remarked that the issue of imposing a ban on the hunting of houbara bustard will be decided on April 6, the next date of hearing, and directed the government to file reply in the case.

The commission submitted that after survey of 2018 the houbara bustard specie is decreasing hence its hunting be banned till the final survey report.

Justice Shakilur Rehman Khan observed that if the federal government could file objections before the next date of hearing it can do so. The court adjourned the hearing till April 6 and observed that the court will make an order on the next date of hearing regarding imposition of ban on the hunting of the rare species. Sheraz Zaka Advocate and Kalim Illyas on behalf of petitioners submitted that houbara bustard is vulnerable specie. They submitted that the government be restrained from allowing hunting permits before the next survey to be held in November. They submitted that in the light of survey report houbara bustard is deteriorating and hence foreign dignitaries not be allowed to hunt.

Commission submits report to court on situation about endangered bird

Earlier, the court had the banned until December last year the hunting of houbara bustard and other rare birds migrating here from other parts of the world. Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had passed the order after a commission submitted its report and opposed its hunting.

The petitioners challenged the hunting of the rare birds and submitted that breed of the rare birds had been in danger because of hunting. Their hunting was also causing serious damage to the biodiversity and environment, they said.

Consisting of the petitioners, Advocate General Anwar Hussain and Forest Department officials, the commission had examined the hunting of the rare birds as well as the protection of biodiversity in the country.

It suggested restraining the Foreign Ministry from issuing the hunting permits. It also suggested the Ministry of Climate be asked for issuance of such permission in the future. It asked the court that the government be barred from issuing the hunting permits for houbara bustard.

After the commission’s report, former Lahore High Court chief justice had banned the hunting until December 2018.

The report says: “The Commission found that the Arab dignitaries’ resource significant development activities in the areas particularly in the fields of human development, housing, access to potable water, health and education and infrastructure development (roads and airports). They have also resourced better wildlife management in the areas that has impacted on the revival of indigenous wildlife species such as the chinkara in Cholistan under pressure and threat from illegal hunting. These findings are applicable to the areas surveyed by the Commission teams in Cholistan, Rajanpur-Rojhan and Thal.”

The Supplemental Report is a continuation of the Final Report and covers the results of the surveys carried out in December 2018 and the developments before the Lahore High Court on and after the submission the Final Report.