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Lahore Safari Zoo to auction a dozen lions

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LAHORE: To free up space for pride that won’t stop growing, a zoo in Pakistan is auctioning off a dozen lions to private collectors next week.

Lahore Safari Zoo now has so many big cats that their lions and tigers have to take in turns accessing the paddocks, said Tanvir Ahmed Janjua, the zoo’s deputy director.

“Not only will we free up more space here, but our expenses for meat to feed them will also decrease,” he told AFP.

The zoo is currently home to 29 lions, and officials plan an auction on August 11 to sell 12 of them, aged between two and five years old.

There are also six resident tigers and two jaguars.

Conservationists are opposed to the sale, with the environmental group WWF saying the creatures should be moved to other established zoos, or breeding females sterilised or given contraceptives.

In this picture taken on August 3, 2022, visitors look at lions at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP
In this picture taken on August 3, 2022, visitors look at lions at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP

“Animal exchanges and donations between zoos are a widely accepted practice,” the organisation’s Uzma Khan told AFP.

“Once an institution such as a zoo places a price tag on a wildlife species it is promoting trade — which is counterproductive to conservation,” she added.

Keeping lions, tigers and other exotic wildlife as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan and is seen as a status symbol.

Wealthy owners post images and video clips of their big cats on social media and rent them out as props for movies and photoshoots.

In this picture taken on August 3, 2022, lions are seen at their enclosure at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP
In this picture taken on August 3, 2022, lions are seen at their enclosure at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP

Zoo officials have set a reserve of 150,000 Pakistan rupees ($700) per cat, but hope each will fetch around two million rupees.

Not just anyone can take part in the auction, however.

Janjua said buyers will have to be registered with provincial authorities and show they have the means to provide proper care and shelter for the creatures.

Zoo veterinary officer Muhammad Rizwan Khan told AFP an initial attempt last year to auction lions fell through as potential buyers lacked the necessary documentation or licences.

Nouman Hassan, who fell foul of authorities in the past when he was filmed walking his pet tiger on a leash in Lahore, plans to take part.

In this picture taken on August 5, 2022, a lion rests in a jungle at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP
In this picture taken on August 5, 2022, a lion rests in a jungle at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP

“I will try to buy two to three lions for sure,” he told AFP, adding the auction was a good way to diversify the gene pool for private collectors who already owned a big cat.

With little legislation to safeguard animal welfare, zoos across Pakistan are notorious for their poor facilities, but the Lahore Safari Zoo is considered one of the best, set over 200 acres.

In April 2020 a court ordered the only zoo in the country’s capital to shut down after poor facilities and mistreatment of the animals there were revealed.

The facility had drawn international condemnation for its treatment of an Asian elephant named Kaavan, who was later airlifted to retirement in Cambodia in a jumbo project spearheaded by US popstar and actress Cher.

In this picture taken on August 3, 2022, lions are seen at their enclosure at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP
In this picture taken on August 3, 2022, lions are seen at their enclosure at the Lahore Safari Zoo in Lahore. — AFP

Veterinarian Khan said the animals at Lahore Safari Zoo were being given the best possible care — something reflected in their fecundity.

“They are experiencing a good life in captivity with us,” he said.

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Yasir Hussain warns artist of action over wife Iqra Aziz inaccurate sketch

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Expressing his annoyance over the inaccurate sketch of his wife, Iqra Aziz, eminent actor Yasir Hussain urged the “artist” not to draw his wife’s sketch again.

Sharing the sketch, drawn by one of her fans, on his Instagram account, Hussain — on a lighter note — warned the “online artist” of legal action if they try to do this again.

— Instagram/ yasir.hussain/screengrab/
— Instagram/ yasir.hussain/screengrab/

A user “C_4__colour” tagged their “masterpiece” to Iqra Aziz and expressed hope that she would like it. The “online artist” wrote on their account: “Sketching after soo long. Not accurate.”

Sharing the “masterpiece” with his fans, Hussain wrote: “Beta thank you. Good effort bus ainda meri bv ki ki tasveer nahi banani aap neBeta baat case pe chali jaye gi warna [Thank you child. It was a good effort but just don’t draw a sketch of my wife in the future, otherwise, you will have to face a case.”.

Colour’s work received a mixed reaction from the netzines.     

A user appreciated his work and remarked: “Good job”.

Another user: “No doubt sketching bht achi hai. iqra aziz nh bolei bs???? [No dbout the sketching is nice., but dont’ call it Iqra Aziz’s [sketch]”

Another user named ‘Laddyygorgeouss’ said: “Iqra aziz nh lg rhi [It doesn’t look like Iqra Aziz].”

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Zayn Malik: Ex-One Direction’s Urdu hit ‘Tu Hai Kahan’ leaves millions longing for more

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British heartthrob Zayn Malik, who is known to the world for his melodious vocals in English, has now tested his singing mettle by crooning an Urdu language love song — and apparently, the fans can’t get enough of it.

Collaborating with the Pakistani band “Aur”, Zayn features in the remake of their popular hit “Tu Hai Kahan” which has more than 95 million views on YouTube.

However, the remake too, has received significant praise from fans as the song has garnered more than 3.5 million views on the video-sharing platform.

Expressing his views on his experience of singing Urdu lyrics, the 31-year-old — a former member of the popular boy band One Direction — told BBC in an interviewthat he loved the song and hoped that fans would love the collaboration after he brought some of himself to the rendition.

This is not the first time Zayn has showcased his vocals in Urdu, as the British singer — who rose to fame after his music career kicked off via One Direction following his appearance on the British TV music competition “The X Factor” in 2010 — previously included Urdu lyrics in his track “Tightrope”, from his 2021 album “Nobody is Listening”.

The collaboration cannot be termed unexpected as the British singer — who was born and raised in Bradford — has Pakistani roots as his father immigrated to the UK from the South Asian nation.

This is how the fans reacted to Zayn’s collaboration with the Pakistani band.

“This is a great gesture by Zayn by collaborating with these youngsters and making their song much more popular than it was […] Zayn collaboration gave it those extra wings and wind to it,” commented a fan.

Zayn Malik: Ex-One Directions Urdu hit Tu Hai Kahan leaves millions longing for more

Meanwhile, another termed the song a “masterpiece” and thanked the British artist for encouraging the talented Pakistani artists.

“This collab is going to be my comfort song for a long time,” wrote an X user.

“Zayn stans will forever cherish this song. We truly appreciate you all for making this happen,” said another.

Whereas some fans were “shocked” to see how eloquently Zayn managed to sing Urdu lyrics.

“One of the best and unexpected collaborations ever […] truly a masterpiece,” a user commented on the song.

“Big love […] thanks for all the support,” Zayn said while reacting to the overwhelming praise from the fans.

The collaboration between Zayn and Aur — comprising Ahad, Usama, and Raffey — reflects the band’s open-minded approach to music as it believes that music has no boundaries, the essence of which is reflected in the song.

Reacting to the global popularity and overwhelming reactions from the fans, the band said they were taking Pakistani music to the world stage and “can’t wait for the world to vibe to their music”.

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Har Pal Geo becomes first entertainment channel to hit 5 million followers on WhatsApp

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Pakistan’s most popular entertainment channel, Geo Television’s Har Pal Geo, has made history by garnering a staggering 5 million followers on its WhatsApp channel — a tour de force that remains a dream for others.

This overwhelming achievement is a testament to the viewers’ immense love for the entertainment channel’s world-class content not only in Pakistan but also around the world.

Har Pal Geo has become the first entertainment channel to pull off that feat worldwide.

Taking to Facebook, Har Pal Geo’s team wrote: “A heartfelt thank you to our followers for making us the world’s first entertainment channel on WhatsApp to reach this milestone.”

 “Your support is truly invaluable,” it added.

Followers seem to have fallen in love with the top-notch content produced by Geo Entertainment, which is why its WhatsApp channel, too, is now becoming popular among the masses with many praising the diversity and variety of entertaining stories being told.

Followers remain glued to their screens watching theIqra Aziz and Talha Chahour starrer Mannat Murad andfollowing the storyline of Maa Nahi Saas Hoon Main, among other shows.

Meanwhile, fans are waiting with bated breath for their favourite on-screen pair Yumna Zaidi and Wahaj Ali to fire up the TV screens in the second season of Geo’s blockbuster drama serial Tere Bin.

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