x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pakistan to compensate sheikh Dh2.4m for losing falcons

The Pakistani government is to pay Dh2.4 million to a UAE sheikh as compensation for losing four of his falcons.

The Pakistani government is to pay Dh2.4 million to a UAE sheikh as compensation for losing four of his falcons.

Customs officials citing a lack of paperwork confiscated the birds when the sheikh arrived at Islamabad Airport in March.

According to the Pakistani media outlet, The News, the falcons were then handed over to the country's Wild Life Department (WLD) for care while the dispute was settled.

However, the WLD then asked for and received permission from a local judge to release the birds, which was done without consulting their owner.

An attempt was made to recapture the falcons, which were released in the Murree Forest in Pakistan's Punjab province, but they could not be located.

The sheikh filed a petition to Pakistan's Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), claiming that the incident was "illegal and unjustified".

He also said the officials had an "ulterior purpose" in depriving him of his "valuable birds".

The FTO ordered the Federal Board of Revenue to compensate the sheikh for not only losing the birds - valued at Dh2.3m - but also for causing him "mental and emotional anguish".

The News referred to the incident as a "collective embarrassment" to Pakistan.

molson@thenational.ae