PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has banned Arab sheikhs from hunting a protected species of bird, defying Islamabad’s longstanding policy of giving hunting licences to key regional allies.
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Swaths of habitat used in the winter by the migratory houbara bustard are allocated in blocks to the some of the most senior people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, who come armed with specially modified vehicles and radar systems to track the birds.
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But an official in the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said it had rejected a request from a party of Qatari princes to shoot houbara bustards and would no longer allow such hunts.
On Sunday Imran Khan , whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) runs the province, had said he would not allow anyone to hunt houbaras “as it is a protected bird and hunting them is illegal.”
Arab hunters first started coming to Pakistan in the 1960s after houbara stocks in the Arabian peninsula were decimated.