Police arrest two suspects after their 'pet' lion allegedly attacks 10-year-old boy in Karachi

Published May 21, 2021
A lioness walks in a cage at a private zoo in Karachi. — AFP/File
A lioness walks in a cage at a private zoo in Karachi. — AFP/File

Gulberg police on Friday claimed to have arrested two suspects after their 'pet' lion allegedly attacked and injured a 10-year old boy in Gulberg, Karachi. A video of the incident, which apparently took place around a week ago, had gone viral on social media, prompting authorities to take notice.

“Gulberg police have taken immediate action after attack on the child by a pet lion went viral on social media and arrested the owner and guard after registering an FIR (First Information Report ),” said the spokesperson for district central's senior superintendent of police in a statement.

The held suspects were identified as Saad Aslam and Roshan Khan. The condition of the boy, Abdul Nafay, who suffered wounds on the abdomen and leg, was reportedly out of danger.

For his part, Gulberg Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohammed Azhar Khan Mughal said that the pet lion had suddenly attacked the child in Gulberg Block 11 on May 14.

He said that when the incident’s video went viral on social media, a police team comprising the Shadman Town deputy superintendent of police, and station house officers of Gulberg and Samanabad was formed, which had initiated legal proceedings and arrested the suspects.

SP Mughal said that Aslam had stated during the initial interrogation that his brother, Osama, had brought the lion out of their home when the animal had suddenly attacked the child. Subsequently, he took the lion to their "farmhouse".

“Further investigation is underway,” saud the officer.

Wild animals in captivity

Sanita Gulzar Ahmad, daughter of Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmad, earlier this month had submitted a public interest petition for the enforcement of animal rights and also challenged the legality of Section 12 of the Punjab Wild Life Act 1974, which authorises individuals to keep and raise wild animals in private capacity.

Advocate Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, on behalf of the petitioner, had argued that due to the insertion of Section 12 in the Act, most wild animals had been kept by people for entertainment purposes without proper supervision and welfare. He had added that instances of animals being tortured had proven that the right place for wild animals was their respective natural habitat.

Justice Jawad Hassan of the Lahore High Court had directed a provincial law officer to seek instructions from the authorities concerned and submit reports on behalf of the respondents explaining whether rules had been made as per the provisions of Section 46 of the Wild Life Act and what steps had been taken for the welfare of wild animals in Punjab.

Similarly, a detailed order of the Islamabad High Court in July 2020 had said that the home of a wild animal was its natural habitat and not a zoo.

"The practice of capturing animals and keeping them in captivity is a relic of the past. It is a deplorable reflection of the treatment of living beings at the hands of another living species i.e humans," the court order had said.

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