PESHAWAR, March 12: District administration and police officials from Chitral on Tuesday appeared before Peshawar High Court in the suo motu hearing of the poaching of a markhor and said they were unable to arrest the poachers.
On Feb 27, a two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Mrs Irshad Qaiser had directed the district administration and the police to arrest the poachers. The court had also summoned the chief conservator of the province.
On Tuesday, the same bench of the court gave the deadline of April 10 to the officials to arrest the poachers otherwise it said the officers would be held responsible and proceeded against under the law.
Additional Advocate General Obaid Razak and the chief conservator wildlife informed the court that the registration of the double cabin Datsun (GLT-5512) in which the poachers had escaped was actually allotted to a truck in Gilgit-Baltistan. The judges asked the officials that if they were unable to arrest the culprits because of their influence they should tell their names to the bench.
It may be recalled that in a report published in chitraltoday.net on Feb 18, it was reported that five unknown persons driving a red double-cabin Datsun (GLT-5512) were caught red-handed by the forest staff after they hunted the markhor in Birmoghlast near Chitral. But the poachers escaped with the booty, threatening the forest officials of dire consequences. However, during the brawl the forest officials snatched a piece of leg, head of the animal and hide from the poachers.
Despite registration of a case with the local police, the culprits, however, remain un-traced. People of the area are surprised why someone could so openly hunt the animal and remained untraced. So far it is also not known whose property this mysterious Datsun bearing GLT 5512 registration plate was. Is it difficult to trace the owner of the vehicle in an area like Chitral? It shows the incompetency of the police and the wildlife department officials.
Many people say they are hand in glove with the poachers. The suo motu action by the PHC chief Justice is a welcomed news to discourage such elements and bring all those to justice who have been plundering with the resources of Chitral with impunity.