Govt’s plea that inviting rulers of Gulf states to hunt is a pillar of our foreign policy has raised many questions
KARACHI: The government’s sickening and senseless plea that inviting rulers of the Gulf states to hunt is a pillar of our foreign policy has raised many fundamental questions in the minds of Pakistani citizens. Are these the values and the wisdom that define the foundations of our foreign policy? One is left speechless at such disgusting display of obsequiousness, mindlessness and pettiness on the part of our rulers. Houbara bustards are one of the prettiest migratory birds that we have the privilege to receive every year. They do us a favour by visiting our parched and environmentally crumbling open spaces. They are our honoured guests. We return this favour by organising their mass massacre. We then proudly claim this madness as a cornerstone of our (shameless) foreign policy.
It is after many years of struggle by the civil society that the Supreme Court (SC) gave a final judgment to put an end to this barbaric practice. One could not imagine that instead of respecting this judgment, our self-destructive government would bend itself backwards to declare “hunting” as a primary pillar of its foreign policy. The Third Schedule of the Balochistan Wildlife Act says, “All bustards from the family Otididae are listed as Protected Animals; i.e., animals which shall not be hunted, killed or captured.” The global population of the Asian houbara bustard, estimated to lie between 78,960 and 97,000, is rapidly declining at an estimated rate of 30-35 per cent every 10 years and it may well face extinction in the not-too-distant future. As members of the organisation, Mahol Dost Shehri, we are sad, stunned and speechless at the discovery of this new pillar of insanity. We hope that the SC will uphold its original decision. Those who walk the corridors of the foreign ministry must be held accountable for bringing such humiliation and disrepute to Pakistan — the only country whose foreign policy stands on pillars of hunting and killing.
Naeem Sadiq for Mahol Dost Shehri
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.
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