IHC asks govt to fix responsibility for mistreatment of lions in Islamabad

Published August 5, 2020
Court told officials booked for shifting lions to farmhouse instead of sanctuary. — AFP/File
Court told officials booked for shifting lions to farmhouse instead of sanctuary. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday asked the relevant authorities to identify those responsible for the mistreatment of two lions that were moved from Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo, resulting in their death.

Officials from the Ministry of Climate Change told the court earlier that an FIR had been lodged against unknown officials who were involved in relocating the lion and lioness from the zoo to a farmhouse instead of a sanctuary as the IHC had directed.

The methods the officials used to move the lions left them seriously injured and they later died.

The court had ordered the officials to move animals from the Islamabad zoo to various sanctuaries within and outside the country.

Court told officials booked for shifting lions to farmhouse instead of sanctuary

Chief Justice Athar Minallah pointed out that members of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) were also responsible for the safe relocation of the zoo animals but they failed to fulfil their responsibilities.

Justice Minallah added that the FIR should not only be lodged against the unknown officials, and the role of each member of the board should be examined.

Officials from the climate change ministry also told the court that the zoo’s lone elephant, Kaavan, would be moved to Cambodia.

During a hearing in this case on Monday, the IHC decided it would proceed against Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, the climate change secretary and officials from the IWMB for violating a court order regarding the relocation of the zoo animals.

The court was told that the lion and lioness died because of negligence as they were being moved to a private farmhouse and not a sanctuary, which was what the IHC had directed.

“This court had directed relocation of the caged animals to sanctuaries and not to a private farmhouse,” Justice Minallah said.

He added: “This court intends to proceed against the chairman and each member of the IWMB under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.”

In a statement, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan also condemned the mistreatment of the lions at the zoo and expressed “grave” concerns over videos circulating on social media.

The lions were eight years old and had been brought to the zoo in 2016 from the Lahore Safari Park as part of the Bird and Animal Exchange Programme between the Capital Development Authority and the Punjab government.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2020

Opinion

Gaming LNG
Updated 05 Aug 2021

Gaming LNG

What looked like rank incompetence about a year ago is now beginning to smack of malfeasance.
Healing the spirit
05 Aug 2021

Healing the spirit

ROC medal winners could not hear their national anthem being played.
Returning to a repressive order
Updated 04 Aug 2021

Returning to a repressive order

There is no sign of the Taliban showing any flexibility in their position and taking a more moderate stance.

Editorial

A tragic anniversary
Updated 05 Aug 2021

A tragic anniversary

Attempts to change IOK's demography should end and India must open channels with the genuine Kashmiri leadership.
05 Aug 2021

Currency pressure

THE increasing demand for dollars in the wake of surging imports and debt repayments has put significant pressure on...
05 Aug 2021

Protecting breastfeeding

A LOT has been said about the fact that 40pc of children under five years in Pakistan are stunted. The reasons...
PML-N’s dilemma
Updated 04 Aug 2021

PML-N’s dilemma

The road ahead for the PML-N is going to be long and bumpy no matter which narrative it follows.
04 Aug 2021

Attacks on cops

AMIDST cautious optimism that Pakistan may be finally beginning to achieve success in bringing the number of polio...
04 Aug 2021

Myanmar about-face

SIX months into the coup that sent Myanmar’s hybrid civ-mil government packing, the generals have made their...