Supreme Court lifts its own ban on hunting the houbara bustard
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has permitted conditional hunting of the bird. However, a five-member bench presided over by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, declared an earlier decision that had placed a total ban on the hunting of houbara bustard, void.
Four judges voted in favour of permitting conditional hunting of the houbara bustard and they based their argument accepting the point of view given by the Attorney General Salman Ahmad Butt who had said that a permanent ban was never envisaged as part of the prohibition. Justice Mian Saquib Nisar wrote the judgement while Justice Qazi Faez Isa was the lone dissenter.
Incidentally the government’s argument for lifting the ban made no mention of the bird being hunted by various dignitaries and royalty from the Gulf and Arab states, in particular Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and who were, till the Supreme Court ban, given permits to hunt these birds during their migratory stay in Pakistan.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court had banned the hunting of the houbara bustard in August 2015. The federation, provinces and traders had filed a review petition against the decision.
The Supreme Court stated it became clear during the initial proceeding that there was confusion in the decision hence the court had ordered proceedings for review petitions to be held again.
For the benefit of our readers, we are publishing the Supreme Court’s judgement delivered today in full below. It consists of 16 pages.