Animal rights activist fears for life

Published December 9, 2021
A photo of filmmaker and animal rights activist Mahera Omar. — Mahera Omar Twitter
A photo of filmmaker and animal rights activist Mahera Omar. — Mahera Omar Twitter

KARACHI: An animal rights activist, who had recently highlighted the plight of four elephants kept at Karachi Zoological Gardens and Safari Park, feared for her life for raising the issue and approached the police for protection.

Film-maker Mahera Omar, who is co-founder of the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), tweeted from Paws handle on Dec 7: “So, some goons showed up at my neighbourhood the other day asking for ‘the madam who has been going to the zoo’. This was bound to happen. Months after we filed a petition in Sindh High Court for an independent medical assessment of the Karachi elephants, my life is in danger.”

“The goons presumably saw me at the zoo with the @fourpawsint veterinary team and now I’m their target. I fear for my family, and for my own life. I request President @ArifAlvi, my local elected member of the National Asse­m­bly, and @BBhuttoZardari to look into the matter,” read another tweet.

Talking to Dawn on Wednesday, Ms Omar said she approached the SHO of the Gizri police station and neighbourhood police in Defence Housing Authority and they had increased ‘security’ in her area.

She said the SHO told her to submit a written application so that an FIR could be lodged and proper legal proceedings may be initiated.

Ms Mahera said some months ago Paws had filed a petition in the SHC drawing the attention towards the plight of elephants at Zoo and Safari Park. It was of the considered view that a proper check-up of the elephants should be carried out by the veterinary doctors who had experience of treating elephants and finally a team of vets arrived and conducted the elephants’ check-up.

Ms Omar recalled an incident in which some unknown persons in a car came to her neighbourhood on Dec 5 and asked the watchman about her whereabouts. She said she felt ‘insecure’ and fear for her life after this incident.

“I am living in fear...it was very difficult to help animals. And if anyone tries to draw attention towards the plight of animals, she/he has to face consequences,” she said.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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