December 27, 2016

In a small village in Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan, the residents chose to live without electricity for many years because installing an electricity grid with overhead wires would hinder the migration and conservation of the black-necked migratory cranes that visit this region. I

In response to a question, “Would you prefer to have electricity, or is conserving cranes more important to you?”, the villagers answered, “It’s good to have electricity, but we can do without it. But cranes are different from electricity. We feel happy when they visit this valley. We’ve seen them every year since childhood.”

Finally in 2009 when the electricity was brought to the village, the electrical wires around the crane habitats were laid underground, to prevent any hurdles in the path of the migratory birds.

In another country in the region, a flock of an equally exquisite migratory houbara bustard arrives every winter. But little do the birds know that here the hosts have actually prepared a trap to ambush and kill the unsuspecting creatures. The massacre of some five to six thousand endangered birds every year does not seem to affect the conscience or the constitution of this heartless country. There are no political parties, parliamentarians, religious leaders, human or animal rights organisations that have assertively raised a voice of protest.

Granting permits for hunting the houbara bustard is a violation of the law, constitution as well as international conventions signed by Pakistan. The first rule of diplomacy is to protect one’s own legal integrity – before others start disrespecting it as well. By violating our own legal system we are selling our soul and our sovereignty. Do we understand that preserving our migratory birds is far more important than the coins doled out by the pleasure seeking men in white robes?