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Karachi

August 13, 2018

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Federal, provincial govts told notto issue import permits for lions without fulfilling mandatory requirements

The Sindh High Court on Friday directed the federal and provincial governments to ensure that all laws relating to the import, breeding, sale and purchase of lions, including the African lion Panthera Leo, were complied with and no permit for the import of lions was issued without fulfilling the mandatory requirements.

The direction came on a petition of Mohammad Umer Lakhani and others, who questioned various violations and misuse of laws with regard to the import of wild animals, including African lions.

The petitioners pointed out that private owners also performed declawing surgery on big cats for domestic purpose, which was extremely prejudicial to their physiology.

The petitioners’ counsel submitted that African lions were being imported into the country mostly from South Africa in violation of The Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012 as well as the import policy 2016.

He submitted that the ministry of climate change and customs, and the Sindh wild life department had failed to perform their duties to ensure compliance with the laws and rules relating to the import of animals, particularly lions and other big cats. He submitted that official respondents had failed to take action against illegal captivity of endangered species, breeding and sale of big cats, especially Panthera Leo, which was not permissible under the law.

The counsel submitted that most of the licences for the import of the lions had been issued without the completion of legal formalities, adding that private individuals indulged in commercial activities of endangered species and freely displayed such animals in public in violation of the laws. The court was requested to declare that all acts leading to the import of lions in violation of the import policy and the act, captivity, and breeding of lions and other big cats were illegal, and order confiscation of all wildlife animals which were imported illegally into the Pakistan.

A division bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, after a preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the ministry of climate change, customs, wild life department and others, and called their comments on August 27.

The court in the meantime directed the respondents to ensure that all laws relating to the import, breeding, sale and purchase of lions were complied with and no permit for the import of lions was issued without fulfilling the mandatory requirements.

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