It pays to be an animal

Published: March 2, 2011

Raymond Davis is finally back home in the United States, despite all our efforts to try him in Pakistan.

His case reminds me of trophy hunting in our northern areas, where hunters pay a ridiculously large amount to hunt a restricted number of wild animals such as Markhor and Ibex. The collected money is spent on communities that live around the habitat of these wild animals. This programme has been going on successfully for quite some time. In fact, just recently in Gilgit, a Mexican citizen hunted down a Markhor for which he paid a staggering $51,000 to the government.

Since late 2001, the Pakistani tribal belt has similarly been turned into a hunting ground for game ‘hunters’ from overseas. Since then, a number of ‘trophies’ have been captured either dead or alive – notwithstanding the fact that it has made made a mockery of the concept of sovereignty.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui is one such instance and her case needs no further explanation. Davis, who was involved in the murder of two Pakistanis, paid the blood money (read: hunting fee) to the heirs and escaped a trial, leaving the whole Pakistani nation bewildered.

When I compare wildlife with human life in Pakistan, I am not surprised that wildlife is well-protected and enjoys a relatively honourable life.

Even if it is hunted, the hunter is legally bound to choose the oldest animal. Similarly, if illegal hunting takes place, it becomes imperative for the hunter to face the law. Sadly, none of this happens when humans are hunted.

Though Pakistan does not derive any direct economic benefits from either forms of hunting, it is unable to put a stop to this practice altogether. Therefore, one ‘solution’ that I can think of is that the government should own up to the hunting of human trophies in Pakistan, just as it has been doing in the case of animal hunting.

Shabir.Ahmed

Shabbir Ahmed Mir

A reporter for The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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