An advance party of a Saudi prince has arrived with his falcons in Chagai district of Balochistan where he will be hunting game birds for a few weeks, according to sources.

The federal government issues special permits to members of royal families of the Gulf states to allow them to hunt the protected houbara bustard.

Like earlier this year also, a part of Chagai district has been allocated to the Governor of Tabuk, Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, for the purpose.

Also read: BHC bans houbara bustard hunting in Balochistan

Last year, media reports that the prince had hunted 2,100 rare birds had sparked an international outcry.

A few weeks ago, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) cancelled all special hunting permits issued by the federal government.

The sources said a couple of aircraft carrying members of the second batch of the advance party landed at the Dalbandin airport on Sunday. Later, the party members moved to Barthagazi area, located near a desert.

The sources said a few days ago, another aircraft had brought in several other members of the advance party.

When contacted, Chagai’s District Forest Officer for Wildlife, Saifullah Zehri, confirmed the arrival of the advance party along with falcons and other material required for setting up the hunting camp of Prince Fahd.

Answering a question, Mr Zehri said he had informed senior officials of his department about the advance party.

About cancellation of hunting permits by the court, he said he had already informed the local representatives of the prince about the matter, telling them that the permits would no longer be allowed.

DUBAI RULER: The sources said an advance party of the United Arab Emirates Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who has been allocated north-western part of the Chagai district for hunting, had visited the area a few weeks ago for a couple of days.

The wildlife official said that some members of the advance party, accompanied by a UAE diplomat, had landed at Dalbandin airport and then moved closer to the area allocated to the Dubai ruler, to survey it.

He said the local people had been informed about the court decision and that the hunting permit of the Dubai ruler was no longer valid. The visitors left after staying in the area for a couple of days.

The sources said that wildlife officials had little say over the hunting issue because of the influence wielded by the royal hunters. Whenever a wildlife official reports illegal hunting, he is punished.

Citing an example, they said that former DFO of Chagai, Jaffar Baloch, who had reported the hunting of 2,100 houbara bustards by Prince Fahd last year, had since been transferred first to Washuk and then to Sibi district.