ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will resume hearing in a case related to implementation of the court’s verdict on shifting all animals at the Marghazar Zoo to suitable sanctuaries on August 3 (Monday).

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah will conduct hearing of the petition.

On the previous hearing, the IHC Chief Justice had expressed his annoyance over the Ministry of Climate Change for politicking over animals, especially those in the federal capital’s Marghazar Zoo.

He remarked during a hearing over delays in the transfer of bears from Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo that our heads should hang in shame The bench also expressed its anger over lack of protection given to the bears, as well as the issue of their transfer elsewhere.

The IHC bench observed that at least 40 giraffes were brought to the zoo from abroad and all of them are dead. He remarked that the Ministry of Climate Change is responsible for such treatment of animals.

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It added that in this entire case, it only engaged in politicking. The ministry is only interested in making statements and engaging in politics. It is responsible for harming God’s creatures.

The court was also informed that two bears at the Islamabad zoo still have not been shifted to Balkasar Bear Sanctuary due to health concerns. The sanctuary authorities said that the temperature at the sanctuary is not suitable for the two bears. A German vet is currently treating them.

The administrator of the Balkasar Sanctuary, Dr Fakhar, also appeared during the court hearing and said that the bears were safer in Islamabad than the shelter in Punjab’s Chakwal city.

He told the bench that Balkasar has a smaller space for bears than Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo.

Justice Athar remarked that although the Balkasar Sanctuary was a private property yet its administration should help the government’s efforts to transfer the bears. The court also directed the Ministry of Climate Change to make a decision on bears by August 3.

He asked that why it should not be investigated that why the bears were brought to Islamabad and on whose orders. He added that why are you harming animals for the sake of recreation?

He was informed that former wildlife director Raja Jawad issued a tender and purchased them for the zoo. The court summoned more details on the transfer of the bears and deferred the proceedings.

Many activists have expressed rejoice after the court had ordered the transfer of animals from Marghazar Zoo to suitable sanctuaries on May 22. The verdict was announced on three combined petitions seeking relocation of two brown bears, treatment of Kaavan, and stopping the shooting of stray dogs.

Kaavan, the only elephant at the Islamabad Zoo, is being shifted to Cambodia.