Getting a Handle On New Hunts And More in Pakistan


Published: September - 2005

In the face of it, the development seems preposterous. American hunters in the mountains of Pakistan? Isn't Pakistan where Osama Bin Ladin is said to be hiding? Isn't Pakistan where Wall Street Journal writer, Daniel Pearl, was beheaded. Isn't the place breathtakingly dangerous?

The answer, like a lot of things international, is not as obvious as the major news organizations would have you to believe. Yes, parts of Pakistan are indeed dangerous, and you would taking your life in your hands to go there. But other parts - especially the remote tribal areas where most hunting occurs - are not dangerous at all so long as you are under the control of local authorities.

The plain facts are, hunting in Pakistan is quietly on a roll, with new species going on license and new areas opening up. A lot of very positive things are happening there. I'll have more to say about them in a moment. First, though, the development that caught our eye and led to this report is our receipt recently of several subscriber reports on hunts with a Pakistan operator previously unknown to us. I'll tell you about him as a way of easing into the larger story of what's happening in Pakistan generally.

The operator's name is Anchan Ali Mirza, and his company is called Karakurum Treks & Tours. Mirza happens to be the grandson of the Raja of Skardu, a very powerful family in the Karakurum mountain region of the Northern Areas. Additionally, his mother holds a position in the provincial legislature, so Mirza is well-connected both on-the-ground as well as at the government level.

Mirza's office is based in Islamabad, although he is from the Northern Areas and conducts many of his hunts there. With his family's help, he has not only quietly built a major hunting company, but he has found time to get involved in some important conservation efforts, including one he recently initiated for the Ladakh urial, listed as endangered since 1976. He has been working on this in the........(continued)

 
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