Law allowing possession of lions challenged in Lahore court

The Punjab regulation which permits individuals to maintain wild animals as pets has been challenged in the Lahore High Court.

Petitioners Sanita Gulzar Ahmed, the daughter of Chief
Justice Gulzar Ahmed, and Syed Muhammad Ghazenfur have stated that Section 12 of
the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation And Management)
Act, 1974 has “unconstitutional, unlawful, detrimental, noxious, hazardous and
devastating results”.

The petitioners stated that the court ought to declare that this act extremely vires the Constitution and infringes the elemental rights of wild animals. They requested the court to droop the regulation and prohibit the wildlife division from issuing licences.

Punjab, the wildlife division, WWF-Pakistan, and Pakistan have been named as respondents. The court has summoned a report from the wildlife secretary.

The Punjab wildlife regulation

Section 12 of the Punjab Wildlife Act says the next.

12 (1) No individual shall
be in possession of any wild animal except he be in possession of a certificates
of lawful possession granted in respect thereof by the officer approved in
this behalf: offered that any individual importing any wild animal, trophy or meat
of a wild animal of a sort specified in the Second Schedule in accordance with
the provisions of this Act or buying such animal, trophy or meat in
accordance with the phrases of a allow issued underneath this Act shall apply to the
approved officer for such certificates inside thirty days from the date of
importing or buying the animal, trophy or meat
.

The petitioners stated that the regulation “legalises the possession
of wild animals (authorized individuals), thereby, depriving them of their pure habitat”,
including that that is direct violation of the elemental rights of wild animals
(authorized individuals) protected/assured underneath Article 9 & 14 the Constitution.

Article 9 of the Constitution ensures and protects the
basic proper to life and liberty of all dwelling beings. The Islamabad High
Court has, in the Kaavan verdict, held that subjecting an animal to pointless
ache and struggling will not be solely an offence underneath the regulation however a breach of the
constitutionally assured proper to life underneath Article 9.

Section 12 has led to wild animals being “unnecessarily
disadvantaged of their pure habitats”. They are stored in confined areas for “mere
leisure of people with little to zero supervision from the involved
authorities”.

These animals are sometimes “tortured, ill-treated, food-deprived, mishandled, drugged, agitated and exposed to worst living conditions” which impacts their psychological and bodily well-being.

“Punjab has greater than 200 breeding farms throughout the province
and greater than 20 specialize in breeding unique tigers and different huge cats,” the
petition stated. “Over the previous 5 years, Pakistan has imported greater than 85
huge cats that embody pumas, tigers, lions, and leopards. Out of the whole, 15,
ended up as trophies for hunters.”

They remarked that there have been varied cases the place “horrific videos have circulated of wild animals in private possession of people who are being tortured” amongst others have gone viral on social media.

They even quoted some examples of animal cruelty in Pakistan:

  • Two lions died while being transferred to a private farm. They died as a result of of the negligence of their caretakers.
  • Many unique animals had been seen caged in scorching warmth at a circus in Kot Addu.
  • A video confirmed an individual hitting a chained cub.
  • Cubs and giraffes have been used props in marriage ceremony occasions, festivals, and rallies. They are sedated and used merely as props.

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