LAHORE: A 12-member Qatari royal delegation went on a hunting spree for rare birds in Bhakkar district of Punjab, hours after their arrival in Lahore.

The delegation greeted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz, first went to Jati Umrah before going to Bhakkar to hunt Houbara Bustard .

The International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the bird on its 'red list' of threatened species, estimating there are fewer than 97,000 left globally.

According to sources, the delegation has 40 predatory birds.

PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry defended the hunting expedition, saying there was nothing wrong in it. "The hunting of Houbara Bustard is in practice in Pakistan for decades," he said.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry lamented that Pakistan was being treated like a banana republic by the ruling family.

In January this year, the Supreme Court lifted its ban on the hunting of houbara bustard , whose meat is prized among Arab sheikhs as an aphrodisiac.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar announced the verdict on the review petitions filed by the federal and provincial governments against the ban. The court held that there was "apparent error on the face of record" and set aside its Aug 19 judgment.

"Examination of the laws clearly shows that permanent ban on hunting of Houbara Bustard is not envisaged," it said.