x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Falcons worth Dh2m 'confiscated by Pakistan customs'

Two Emirati men say customs officials in Islamabad lied about releasing their million-dirham falcons and want the government to intervene and return them.

DUBAI // Two men who took four falcons worth Dh2 million to Pakistan say the birds were illegally confiscated by customs officials at Islamabad airport.

The two Emiratis from Umm Al Quwain have now petitioned the Federal Tax Ombudsman of Pakistan for the release of the birds.

The men travelled to Islamabad on March 10 with four trained hunting falcons as gifts for friends. One of the intended recipients, Nadeem Malik, said the birds had been taken to the country legally, with all the necessary documents and clearances.

"They are white falcons: a rare breed considered one of the best," Mr Malik said.

He said customs officials demanded an approval certificate from the Punjab wildlife department, and confiscated the birds.

When the men returned with the certificate a few hours later, the customs officials said the birds had been released because no one had come forward to claim them.

"We are knocking on the doors of all the relevant departments in Pakistan, but nothing has been done so far," Mr Malik said. "We want our falcons back."

Muhammad Yasin Tahir, an adviser to the FTO, said: "It's in the early stage of investigation. We are having hearings on this matter on an almost daily basis and it is being done at a high speed."