Police in Pakistan arrested businessman Saqlain Javed from his home on Wednesday for taking his pet lioness for a drive through the streets of the bustling port city of Karachi at night. The arrest came after a video showing the same went viral on social media, reported Reuters. He was later released on bail.
As per Hindustan Times, the police swung into action when people expressed concern for their safety after the lioness was spotted on a pick-up truck in the Karimabad area of Karachi. Sindh home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal also asked the police to take necessary action.
Javed has reportedly been charged with public harassment. The businessman is a local pet dealer in his 30s, according to The Khaleej Times, and is known as 'Saqlain Sher Wala' in his neighbourhood. The video clip that went viral has been viewed over 1 million times on Facebook.
The video posted on social media shows the carnivore reclining on the rear of a pick-up truck with one of its paws dangling over the edge, looking unperturbed by the crawling traffic on the street.
The video clip as uploaded on Youtube can be seen here:
As per Reuters, keeping wild cats as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan where wealthy businessmen have been known to operate private zoos and sometimes parade the animals for the public. Javed has a license to operate a private zoo and raise lion cubs, but it is prohibited to transport the animal on city streets.
"The man was driving around with his lion near a local market and it was a matter of endangering public life and property," senior police superintendent Muqadas Haider told Reuters.
According to India Today, Javed's lawyers argued he has a license for the pet which he received in 2007 and is a law abiding citizen. He was later given bail for Rs 20,000 under conditions from the court that he would keep his pet at home strictly.
"My only mistake was to keep the lion at the back of my vehicle in the open. In my house, there is a large enclosure for the lion. The social media blew the incident out of proportion, which is why I was arrested," Javed told The Express Tribune. He later admitted that the travelling permit for the lioness had expired earlier.
Updated Date: Jun 17, 2017 19:17:38 IST