The Pakistan government issued a permit allowing a Qatari prince to hunt an endangered bird in the country, days after he is believed to have bailed out Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers scandal, a media report said today.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, former prime minister of Qatar, is among those Arab royals who have been given special permits to hunt the internationally protected Houbara bustard in Pakistan.

Source: b'Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani/Source: AFP'

The Dawn reported that al-Thani has been allowed to hunt down up to 100 migratory birds during a 10-day hunting safari in Jhang and Bhakhar districts of Punjab province in the 2016-17 winter hunting season.

This is not the first time that a special hunting permit has been issued to the Qatari prince but the timing has attracted attention in Pakistan.

The prince has been in the news following his letter to the Supreme Court in connection with the Panama Papers case describing his fathers business relations with Sharifs family and his involvement in the London apartments that are at the centre of the controversy.

The letter by the Qatari royal virtually absolves the prime minister of the charges.

The court is hearing five identical petitions by opposition parties alleging Sharif purchased the properties through ill-gotten money illegally transferred out of the country.

Source: b'Houbara bustard/Source: AFP'

The Houbara bustard is not only protected under various international conventions and agreements signed by the country but its hunting is also banned under local wildlife protection laws.

Pakistanis are not allowed to hunt it but it is much sought after by Arab hunters.

The permit was sent to the prince through Qatars diplomatic mission in Islamabad. The Qatari embassy has been duly informed about the hunting permission through a letter.

Hunting by Arab elites has continued for years despite anger by conservationists in Pakistan and across the world.

A Saudi prince killed 2,100 bustards in Balochistan province in 2014 against the permitted limit of 100, creating an international outcry. The meat of the bird is considered by the Arabs to have aphrodisiac qualities.