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The houbara bustard: a thematic analysis of a bird's threatened extinction and a government's accountability failure

Adler, R, Mansi, M ORCID: 0000-0002-9397-8504 and Pandey, R 2020 , 'The houbara bustard: a thematic analysis of a bird's threatened extinction and a government's accountability failure' , Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal , doi: 10.1108/AAAJ-07-2019-4113.

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Purpose: This paper provides a thematic analysis of an IUCN Red-Listed bird, the houbara bustard, whichPakistan uses as a fungible resource to appease its wealthy Arab benefactors.Design/methodology/approach: Thematic analysis of relevant media reports and government ministryand NGO websites comprise the study’s data. Media reports were located using Dow Jones’ Factiva database.Findings: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues wealthy Arabs special permits for hunting thehoubara bustard as a “soft” foreign diplomacy strategy aimed at propping up the country’s fragile economy.Although illegal under international and Pakistan’s own wildlife laws, resource dependence theory helpsexplain how various country-specific issues (e.g. dysfunctional political and judicial systems) enable Pakistan’sunlawful exchange of hunting permits for Arab oil and short-term financing. Surrogate accountability andagencement are examined as two means for arresting the bird’s trajectory toward extinction.Research limitations/implications: Media reports comprise the primary data. Pakistani governmentofficials were approached for interviews, but failed to reply. Although unfortunate, the pervasive corruptionand mistrust that characterise Pakistan’s culture would have likely tainted the responses. For this reason,media reports were always the primary data sought.Originality/value: The present study extends prior literature by exploring how country context can subvertthe transferability of social and political approaches used in developed countries to address environmentalaccounting issues and challenges. As this study shows, a developing country’s economic vulnerability,combined with its dysfunctional political systems, impotent judiciary and feckless regulatory mechanisms, canundermine legislation meant to protect the country’s natural environment, in general, and a threatened bird’sexistence, in particular.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Adler, R and Mansi, M and Pandey, R
Keywords: Pakistan, accountability, resource dependence theory, extinction accounting
Journal or Publication Title: Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN: 1368-0668
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/AAAJ-07-2019-4113
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited

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