ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – The Supreme Court of Pakistan Friday lifted a ban imposed on houbara bustard hunting, while announcing a short verdict on petitions filed by federal and provincial governments.

A five member bench headed by Justice Saqib Nisar announced the verdict that was reserved on January 8 with 4-1 majority. Justice Qazi Faiz Esa, one of the members of bench, did not support the decision of ending the ban imposed on hunting of houbara bustard calling the bird an ‘endangered’ specie.

The supreme court’s order however added that the apex court will once again review the 12 petitions filed in this regard and may issue another verdict in future.

Earlier on August 19, 2015; a three member bench headed by then Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Jawad S Khawaja, imposed a complete ban on hunting the bird and cancelled the special hunting permits issued to Arab royals.

Justice Jawad S. Khawaja also ruled that hunting of Houbara Bustard had been declared illegal by Balochistan’s provincial government and the Balochistan High Court had also given a verdict in this regard. Federal government cannot interfere in the provincial matters according to eighteenth amendment, he said.

Challenging the superior court’s verdict, federal government and provincial governments of Ballochistan and Punjab filed review petitions in which the federation said that hunting of houbara bustard was one of the key pillars of country’s foreign policy.

Meanwhile Punjab government argued that the apex court did not examine that the issue regarding the permission to allow hunting of the bird constituted was an inter-provincial matter and that the formulation and regulation of relevant policies fell within the domain of the Council of Common Interests.

The matter of hunting of houbara bustard caught public attention when Arab royals were issued as many as 18 permits to hunt the bird despite a formal ban. The organisations working for protection of birds argued that houbara bustard was an endangered specie and its hunting in any condition must be declared illegal.