It has been going on for decades now in Pakistan that thousands of stray dogs are brutally killed or poisoned in the streets. Not only is it done so in the undeveloped regions of the state but this savagery is followed in even the most developed cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad despite the strong public sentiment against these killings. According to a report, a staggering 50,000 dogs are killed each year by the Government of Pakistan. Such is the inhumane status of the issue at hand that there are no animal protection laws in the country and hence no safeguard to these mammals which do not have a voice of their own. This violent practice of open killing of dogs on regular basis faces no backlash as there aren’t any criminal laws against animal abusers. Not providing these poor souls any shelters or rescue structures was one thing, an appreciated killing of them and that also in a brutal manner is just horrendous.
Pakistan – the land of the pure, was founded on the idea that Muslims and Hindus were two separate entities which could not live together in harmony. Muslims considered themselves to be superior to the Hindus, specifically those of India, in the context that Islam was a better religion as it happened to be a religion of peace. How would you feel as a proud citizen of the country if I told you that our less-humane neighbors have ensured for long that killing of street dogs was forbidden. According to the Government of India and their courts, it is illegal to kill any stray dogs in the country.
I have a harsh question to ask having stated all this, have we actually proven to be any better in reality than the Indians and the western world? Is the Islamic republic of Pakistan or the Islam being practiced here any better than the rest of the religions? Do we in simple terms actually deserve to be termed as Muslims? Our society or the institutions running the country are no way near to the Islam which was preached by the Holy Prophet P.B.U.H. Even the teachings of the Holy Quran have been ignored and barbaric trends followed which only highlights the cruelty of this world.
A couple of narrations of Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H are being stated to back my claim that the atrocities being committed against these stray dogs are wrong in every way. If the Holy Prophet P.B.U.H saw any animal being over-burdened or not being fed properly, he would speak mildly to the owner and say, “Fear God in your treatment of animals.” Not only this, he treated all animals with mercy and showed kindness towards them. Through his messages and preaching, he taught his followers and the world that all animals were part of God’s creation and hence they should be treated with dignity and care. The Prophet also said that, ‘Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, God will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment’.
A recent episode of the viciousness against these poor dogs that must be highlighted is from Karachi. Syed Yorguc Tipu Sharif, a famous actor, and a known animal lover has been providing sheltering homes to these poor souls which are degraded to the worst levels in the society. Rather than supporting him in this compassionate initiative, the authorities tried to poison all of the dogs that were under his care. Head of securities in a bid to make their name and to get dishonorable appreciation, target these harmless souls on every other occasion. In Lahore, Bilal Amjad, resident of Askari 11 in Lahore was found quoting that I woke up to the sounds of gunshots at around 5 in the morning. When I went down my apartment, I saw dogs lying there in sheer agony before they died a miserable death after whimpering for several minutes. These incidents are just a couple that are being emphasized and countless others are not even reported at any platform.
The sole purpose of writing down this article is to raise awareness amongst the masses and the authorities that it is wrong in every way to kill these poor souls and hence it needs to stop. It is high time that people of Pakistan stand up united against the killings of stray dogs. Humans through acts like these will remain no different than animals. Educating the masses about this issue is the only way forward that needs to be focused more on and stressed upon. Only after that can more pressure be put on the government and relevant authorities to adopt new policies that do not involve cruelty. Even if for some extreme cases where any mentally ill dog is displaying anti-social behavior and is a threat, a more humane approach needs to be adapted to take out the dog rather than just simply shooting it dead. Every other reason for taking innocent lives, such as any dog becoming a nuisance for residents or of any other dog appearing on road and chasing motorcyclists/vehicles leading to road accidents will never be acceptable to a rational human being, let alone a Muslim. Taking examples from the globe, we need to learn that stray dogs are vaccinated rather than being simply poisoned. Likewise, even if the total count of stray dogs is to be reduced, they are neutered and ensured that they do not reproduce rather than simply taking the ferocious way out and shooting them dead.
The writer is a professional journalist and social activist. He tweets @ismaeelqasim