Pakistan’s election authorities on Wednesday imposed a ban on the display of lions and donkeys at public rallies and political gatherings in a move hailed by animal rights activists.
Quratulain Fatima, a spokesperson for the commission said the Election Commission of Pakistan, ECP, asked political parties to ensure that animals are not exhibited at their rallies and gatherings.
The directive was issued in line with a decision of the Islamabad High Court which ruled in May that “exhibiting animals such as lions, donkeys etc in public rallies/assemblies amounts to subjecting them to unnecessary pain and suffering, which is an offence.”
“It is cruel to use these majestic animals in this way,” said animal rights activist and head of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), Rina Saeed Khan.
“These innocent animals have suffered needlessly as they are usually drugged at these rallies to keep them calm amid all the noise and lights,” she said.
Earlier, the party of former premier Nawaz Sharif held a rally in a north-western province. His son-in-law arrived with the party’s symbol a live tiger. However, he was denied entry.
In 2013, an exotic white tiger died while it was being exhibited at the rallies of Sharif’s party due to extreme conditions.
Tigers and lions are often paraded at political rallies as symbols of strength and authority, while donkeys and dogs are often exhibited to ridicule opponents.