ISLAMABAD -  A petition seeking cancellation of hunting permits of rare wild birds issued to the royal families of Qatar, the UAE and to any other state was on Wednesday moved in the Islamabad High Court.

In this matter, GM Chaudhary Advocate moved the court, and cited the federal government through the prime minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign secretary and the Government of Punjab through the chief minister as respondents.

He stated that according to a news item published in a local newspaper, the respondents had permitted capturing, hunting and killing of rare and becoming extinct wild birds in different districts of Punjab to the rulers, crown princes and other important persons belonging to Qatar and the UAE.

Chaudhary added that under the provisions of the Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, 1912, no one could capture any bird or animal contained in the schedule of the said Act without permission of the provincial government.

The petitioner contended that the provisions of the said act were even applicable in the case of the citizens of Pakistan and no foreigner of high-so-ever status could be allowed capturing, hunting or killing of such birds under the said Act.

He told the court that in this regard, it was submitted that different persons in the federal government including the prime minister, the foreign minister as well as other public officeholders were having their personal stakes in different countries of the Middle East including Qatar and the UAE.

“Previously, the ex-prime minister had taken plea that he had business relations with some royal personalities of Qatar and also produced a letter containing financial obligations in this regard before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and it is presumable that as the federal government is still of the same political party and different persons may have allowed capturing, hunting and killing to further promote their personal interests at the cost of public and national interest by allowing such capturing, hunting and killing of rare, precious and becoming extinct species of wild birds to their friends at the cost of public expense in the form of their personal security, loss to local peasantry and agricultural crops of poor people of such areas in violations of law, which did not permit such hunting of the scheduled birds by the foreigners,” maintained Chaudhary.

Therefore, he prayed before the court to direct the respondents to cancel all permits issued to the royal families of Qatar and the UAE as well as any other state in violation of the Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, 1912 as well as any other law in force for the time being.

He requested the court that the respondents might be directed to bring on the record of this court all financial or other benefits or concessions obtained in exchange for such foreign royal hunting spree of those royal families as there was nothing in international relations without bilateral or state benefits.

 The petitioner also requested the court to direct the respondents to provide details of total amounts being spent regarding foolproof security of hunting of foreign royal families and to provide details of compensation, which would be paid to the landowners/farmers/peasantry of the concerned districts of the Punjab whose crops and agricultural lands would be affected during such activities.