ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on sought replies from three government departments after it reserved a verdict in a case pertaining to the improper care of animals at the Islamabad zoo.
The IHC sought replies in the case from the Ministry of Climate Change, the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad, and the wildlife department of the federal government, according to sources.
Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah directed the government departments to submit a detailed report on the questions highlighted by the court on April 27. The court will announce the reserved verdict on April 30.
‘Court wants to see animals treated humanely’
In a hearing held into the case on Saturday afternoon, Secretary Climate Change Naheed Bukhari, the mayor of the federal capital, and a wildlife department official from Islamabad appeared in the high court.
“The court wants to see animals treated in a humane manner and has thus exercised caution in this case,” Justice Minallah said in his remarks during the hearing on Saturday afternoon.
“Three government departments were given the responsibility of taking care of the animals at the zoo. The court expresses extreme disappointment in the case with a heavy heart,” he added.
‘Why are animals caged if they cannot be cared for?’
“An elephant at the zoo, obtained as a gift from another country, is being kept at the zoo in painful conditions,” he said. “Why are animals caged if they cannot be cared for?” he asked Bukhari during the hearing.
“Why should the court not transfer the animals at the zoo to a temporary shelter?” he further asked Bukhari. Justice Minallah observed that those who wanted to take care of animals were demoralised.
“The court had high hopes of you, madame secretary, but the ones who wanted to take care of animals have been issued show-cause notices,” Justice Minallah lamented during his conversation with Bukhari.
“People are under a lockdown and still unafraid. Even those who go to zoos are sometimes involved in paining animals because they are unaware of proper guidelines,” he noted.
“Three government departments together cannot get the affairs of a small zoo in order,” he observed. “The court has seen the mayor of Islamabad is completely helpless,” he said.
“Every department is playing politics over the zoo while the animals are in pain,” Justice Minallah said.