BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Wildlife authorities on Sunday surrounded residence of lawmaker Mir Ghazanfar in Hunza valley to get back possession of an Ibex kid, officials said.
Mir Ghazanfar, a Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz lawmaker, had reportedly captured the kid illegally from Chupurson valley in Gojal in the last week of August.
The former chief executive of G-B, Ghazanfar, refused to handover the baby Ibex when G-B wildlife authorities contacted him and sought its release, said the officials, requesting anonymity as he feared it could impact negatively on his job.
“The lawmaker isn’t willing to handover the cub to the authorities,” the official told The Express Tribune, adding Ghazanfar wanted to gift it to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is scheduled to visit Hunza this month to inaugurate Attabad Tunnel, constructed by Chinese company on the Karakoram Highway.
“A divisional forest officer is heading a team of wildlife officials who have laid a siege around his house and we can just hope he will abide by the law.”
The G-B wildlife department also moved an application in a police station at Hunza against the illegal possession. However no case was formally registered against the lawmaker whose wife Rani Atiqa is also a lawmaker in the G-B assembly on women seats.
While poaching and illegal hunting of wildlife is prohibited under wildlife laws, G-B government has introduced trophy hunting to encourage conservation of the threatened species. Under the trophy hunting programme, hunting permits are sold out to the interested hunters and after successful hunt 80 percent of the amount is paid to the communities concerned. For trophy hunting season 2014-15, the hunting fee of Ibex was fixed as $3200.
Secretary wildlife Sajjad Haider confirmed the illegal passion by the lawmaker however. He however refused to divulge any further details. “We are negotiation with the lawmaker and lets hope he release the animal,” Haider said.
Rani Atiqa got upset when she was approached on her mobile to get her version on the issue. “Don’t media have anything good to report on?” said Atiq, who is believed to have close ties with Prime Minister Nawaz. “Let me tell you we are the custodians of wildlife and that’s it,” she said before disconnecting the line.
Ghazanfar, popularly known as Mir of Hunza, is the progeny of former ruler of Hunza when it was a state before independence. He is also a potential candidate for governor G-B.