ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Tuesday passed a bill titled “The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill, 2018”, which was moved by Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja.

Members of the committee commended Senator Khawaja for bringing forward a bill for animal rights as the last law regarding animal rights was made in 1890 and no amendments to the law have been made since.

“It was quite embarrassing that we were using the animal rights [laws] that the British had introduced in 1890 despite the fact that Islam stresses on animal rights. Moreover, I have suggested increasing fines because the current fines were so insignificant that no one cares about them,” Senator Khawaja said while talking to .

The fine for killing an animal with unnecessary cruelty was just Rs200. The current bill suggests this be increased to Rs300,000 along with imprisonment, he said.

“The fine for killing a goat with cruelty was Rs100 which we have now suggested be increased to Rs200,000. The fine for putting extraordinary load on animals and using them cruelly for labour was Rs100 which may now be increased to Rs200,000,” he said.

The fine for inciting animals to fight was Rs50 which the new bill suggests should be increased to Rs300,000.

Mr Khawaja said sick animals are abandoned and left to die because the fine for doing so was Rs50. But those responsible for doing so will now be fined Rs200,000.

“The passage of the bill will give a very positive message to the global community because people in other countries are very sensitive about animal rights. But unfortunately in Pakistan, there is not much awareness about animal rights,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2018