Mashal Khan was in the news last week for helping advocate for the Syrian bear cub (Ranoo) with her lawyer, Mohsin Shahwani. After an order issued on Thursday, the 1st of October, the honorable Judge ordered for Karachi Zoo and KMC to provide a detailed report of the bear and her conditions at the zoo, as well as issuing a decision for her to be in an environment closer to her natural environment.
On Saturday, October 3rd, another successful hearing commenced, with President of the Society for Protection of Animal Rights (SPAR), Zain Mustafa being present. Mr. Mustafa attested to the fact that the reports on the animal's condition were 'misleading' and incorrect, not clarifying the age, mental health or physical condition of the animal aptly. Furthermore, the Judge emphasised the importance of the animals being cared for, as the order itself stated that the animals in the zoo were not adequately cared for.
"They have literally arrested the animals available in the Zoo and caged them in isolation for visitors to earn at the risk and cost of these animals' life."
The hearing also stated that a team of impartial vets and officials from the University of Karachi's Zoological Department to assess the condition of these animals, as per suggested by the learned counsel (Mr. Shahwani), such as Dr Zaheer, M.H. Pirzada, Isma Gheewala and M/s Zohare Ali Sharrif to name a few. The honorable Judge prioritised the concern shown towards the helpless animals and Ranoo the bear at the Zoo, requesting a detailed report in a span of 15 days regarding the overall condition of the zoo, pertaining to the general atmosphere and environment in which these animals exist.
Mashal's petition to free Ranoo the bear from the chains of oppression resulted in the entire situation for the animals in Karachi Zoo to be looked at and evaluated, bringing the issue to the attention of authorities who have taken action to resolve the current predicament.
"Physical condition of the animals are as important as other related issues are such as mental illness, emotional and psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. Animals kept in an ill-managed zoo can become excessively sad, anxious and even traumatised on account of situation and ambience."
The order to create a more suitable environment for the animals is a movement of its own, with authorities petitioning for a better world for the animals who are suffering greatly due to entertainment or revenue. With celebrities and organisations such as ACF bringing light to the plight of animals suffering at the zoo, the authorities in place have recognised the urgency of the issue as the honorable Judge and Sindh High Court have acknowledged the cruciality of improving the situation and predicament for the defenseless animals.
Mere Hum Dam actor Mashal Khan has taken to her social media platform to commemorate the ruling, expressing her gratitude for the hearing in favour of innocent animals, and hoping that this will bring attention to the significance of animal welfare in Pakistan.
"I’m so grateful that the esteemed Judge is being so fair toward this animal. We need more people like this in decision makers seats. People who see animals as sentient beings. I am hopeful that we will be able to get Ranoo to the best possible sanctuary for her species. And until then, the esteemed Judge has also ordered for her to be taken as much care of as she possible can, under the given circumstances until the case is resolved and her final home is decided."