While announcing the formulation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) over the killing of Nazim Jokhio who captured videos of foreigners hunting houbara bustard, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail Saturday highlighted the economic benefits of the hunting activity for the locals.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Jam Awais has been booked for the murder of Jokhio’, who succumbed to ‘severe torture’ as per the autopsy report, prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice, with Governor Ismail visiting the family of the victim in Thatta.
Representing the intervention of the federal government in the matter, PTI leader Ismail told the media that he was asked by PM Khan to visit the family.
“The family wants the probe to be done independently, because they are not satisfied with the investigation. I will request the PM to constitute an independent JIT,” Ismail told the media.
However, amid his vows of support for Nazim Jokhio’s family, many found the governor’s comments on houbara bustard killing ill-timed and misplaced.
Insisting that Jokhio was not murdered owing to houbara bustard hunting, Ismail insisted Arab hunters have helped the area prosper.
“Pakistan is fortunate that an area of the country is fertile when it comes to the availability of the animal that attracts [foreign hunters], which results in prosperity. Hence, they have nothing to do with it,” the governor said while talking to the media, accusing ‘those more loyal than the king’ of perpetrating the murder.
“[The foreign hunters] have been coming here for 30-40 years. The code of conduct has been issued, and is being followed by those who come here to hunt, who are our guests, while the hosts over here are killing their own people. Nobody has given them the license to kill Nazim Jokhio,” Ismail added.
In 2015, the Supreme Court banned the hunting of the endangered houbara bustard. The ban was lifted next year, owing to the government challenging the verdict on the grounds that it brought financial prosperity through wealthy Arabs. The government also argued that retracting hunting permits could damage relations with Arab countries.
Meanwhile, following the Sindh governor’s announcement of the JIT, questions have been raised over the federal government’s power to constitute the team since it remains a provincial prerogative.