SOME influential men were recently caught by locals after they killed eight Chinkara deer in Tharparkar. A young man, Utam Singh Rajput, valiantly resisted and banged his vehicle against the jeep of the ruthless hunters amid a volley of bullets to force them to surrender. The locals rushed to the location, caught three of the hunters and handed them over to police. Cruelty against animals is common in Pakistan when the world has generally abandoned the callous practice of hunting for pleasure.

Officials paid for protecting wild animals are either active facilitators of hunting or find themselves helpless against the hunters.

Tribal chieftains, who are often parliamentarians as well, are also seen posing behind hunted deer, ibex and other animals as trophies.

However, the vigilant local community, civil society and media deserve our appreciation for resisting the powerful to protect the threatened wildlife species. The late Nazim Jokhio, who lost his

life while resisting the powerful facilitators of foreign hunters from the Middle East, and Utam Singh Rajput should be hailed as heroes. They really are.

Gulsher Panhwer
Johi

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2022

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