The law that allowed to keep wild animals as pets has been challenged in the Lahore High Court.

A petition was filed by Sanita Gulzar Ahmed, the daughter of Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, and Syed Muhammad Ghazenfur.

The petitioners said that Section 12 of the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act, 1974 has “unconstitutional, illegal, detrimental, noxious, hazardous and devastating effects”.

They said that the court should declare that this act ultra vires the Constitution and infringes the fundamental rights of wild animals. They asked the court to suspend the law and prohibit the wildlife department from issuing licences.

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

Section 12 of the Punjab Wildlife Act says:

12 (1) No person shall be in possession of any wild animal unless he be in possession of a certificate of lawful possession granted in respect thereof by the officer authorized in this behalf: provided that any person importing any wild animal, trophy or meat of a wild animal of a kind specified in the Second Schedule in accordance with the provisions of this Act or acquiring such animal, trophy or meat in accordance with the terms of a permit issued under this Act shall apply to the authorized officer for such certificate within thirty days from the date of importing or acquiring the animal, trophy or meat.

The petitioners said that the law “legalises the possession of wild animals (legal persons), thereby, depriving them of their natural habitat”

They said that this is direct violation of the fundamental rights of wild animals (legal persons) protected/guaranteed under articles 9 and 14 of the Constitution.

The petitioners said these animals are often “tortured, ill-treated, deprived of food, mishandled, drugged, agitated and exposed to worst living conditions” which affects their mental and physical well-being.

“Punjab has more than 200 breeding farms across the province and more than 20 specialised in breeding exotic tigers and other big cats,” the petition said.

“Over the past five years, Pakistan has imported more than 85 big cats that include pumas, tigers, lions, and leopards. Of the total, 15, ended up as trophies for hunters.”

They remarked that there have been various instances where “horrific videos have circulated of wild animals in private possession of people who are being tortured” among others have gone viral on social media.

They even quoted some examples of animal cruelty in Pakistan:


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